Last week didn’t quite go as planned. You know that week I took off work to catch up on university work? To be fair, I think some sleep was needed as I’ve felt soooo much better this week. It was also nice to have a day where I commuted to Glasgow where the trains weren’t cancelled last minute making for a much more pleasant and chilled out journey where I got some work done! Woo hoo!
What has been tough this week is fitting everything in. I missed smallgroup again, due to staying back to do work on my essay in the postgraduate study centre. An orange place that made me wish I lived near to the university to be able to utilise it more. I didn’t get home from work til well after 10 p.m. last night due to them interviewing a potential new employee and then having a team social at one of our trustee’s homes.
Juggling full-time study, part-time work, volunteering and soul surfers is a challenge that I’m not always succeeding at.
So just in case you didn’t already think I was totally off my trolley already, why don’t we add doing a 2-week intensive programme at another university in February?
In 2003, myself and my friend Gill decided to ditch our tutorial and head to the office of one of the Professors offices to investigate a potential trip to Andalucía, Spain we’d heard about. Gill was getting married that summer so we thought trying to get a tan at the same time as having something to add to our CVs after graduation sounded like a great idea. We were lucky to get picked with two other Geography students from our university to do an Intensive Programme funded by ERASMUS with students picked from universities in Lisbon, Seville, Innsbruck, Ljubljana and Vilnius. The tanning didn’t happen as it wasn’t quite so sunny – in fact we went to a desert part of Andalucia where it rained on us the whole day (lucky us for being there during two of the twelve days of the year where they’ll get rain!). But we made some great friendships and it’s where I got my label of ‘City Blossom’ because of my apparently obvious inner city upbringing!
A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that the University of Glasgow is taking part in a similar scheme to do a ‘Winter School’ at the University of Würzburg, Germany. The idea behind it to gather students and academics from 6 different countries to compare international and various strategies to lifelong learning in Europe.
I thought perhaps it was annual thing like the Geography one I did as an undergraduate, but on the discovery that it was the first ever one, and that it may not ever happen again, I thought I should throw my hat into the ring as it were. It sounded like too exciting an opportunity to miss.
And so at 10 p.m. on Tuesday night I was on the phone to a Professor in Glasgow and being told ‘Book your flights now’!
**insert a freak out here** (I don’t usually do ‘spontaneous’ decisions).
And so that is how I came yesterday to be booking flights (have I mentioned that I’ve not had the courage to go on a plane since that awful flight back from London in 2010 when I thought that everyone was going to puke as we fell out of the sky and onto the A90 rather than landing at Edinburgh Airport?), working out dates for the Girlguiding meetings for mimimal absence on my part and so on.
Oh yeah. And I’m not even close to finishing my assignment that is due in on Monday.
**insert another freak out here**
I’ll confess, I know nothing of Würzburg. I may have passed by on some of my many train rides across Germany back in the summer of 2002 when I was doing an InterRail trip around Western Europe with some university friends, but I’ve certainly never been there before. I know very few words of German as I learned French and Spanish in high school (and I use the term ‘learned’ very loosely). I literally know the following words from that trip:
one, two, three, scoop, ice cream, chocolate, please, thank you, train, apple juice, apple strudel, butterfly.
I think I may to extend that vocabulary slightly.
I am however, quite chuffed to discover that the University of Würzburg gave an honourary degree to Alexander Graham Bell who is a native of Edinburgh. That would suggest they like Edinburgers. And the flights to the nearest airport fly from Edinburgh rather than Glasgow (woo hoo!)
And so that is why I’ll be spending this December trying to learn as much about lifelong learning in the UK as I can so I can write a 5 page paper that I have to submit in January as part of the programme.
It will be my first time outside of the UK since I went to South Africa in 2009. I know 5 others from my postgraduate class also going and they are all a lovely bunch so I’m looking forward to experiencing this with them – though I’m nervous too.