After a month of trips around Europe, visiting schools and universities, attending conferences and finding out what are the new introductions to higher education and K12 too, I thought I must write my experience in each place.
We started our trip in Sweden, the time limitations compelled us to just stay in Stockholm and visit the three main universities over there, lovely place, wait for my Vlog on those three universities, my son will publish them once he is done with editing them. One thing for sure, any student going to Sweden will be welcomed, no hostility, a lot of friendly people and a great place for living, learning and exploring. Stockholm is a very cosmopolitan city, so it will be easy to find the same culture, or even to experience new cultures whilst over there, no need to stick to your kind, merge like a zip with the Swedes and also with the other nationalities, everyone speaks English, so you will have no problem at all in conversation. If you are the sporty type you have reached your target, as everyone goes for walks, runs, other sports and Gym; if you are more of a cultural person like me, then lots of shops, cafes, museums, galleries and the famous Gamla Stan will welcome you in utter honesty. The buses and underground is brilliant, you cannot get lost. Just remember to buy the correct ticket, as a month ticket works our cheaper than a weekly or a daily ticket. Students beware, taxis are so expensive, so walk, bus or underground are the preferred methods to go around.
London is of course London, we all know it by heart, us the Arabs think that London is the neighborhood, so no introduction to it this time, except of course it has more of a bistro culture now, with hundreds of new cafes opening on the side streets and lots of ingenious varieties. My favourite is a place my daughter in law, who happen to take a course on makeup artistry in London, took us to. It served all day breakfast, and had lovely juice mixes and smoothies. One thing I remember that a family came in, ordered lots of the pastries and cake on display, each of them had one bite of their lovely dishes and left it and gone. I had tried one of the varieties that they chose, it was so tasty, I guess the thrifty ones of us don’t really care. What I am trying to say here is that, if you as a student go to a place, and pay seven pounds for it, take it home with you, leftovers are great when you wake up middle of the night and feeling pickish.
Whilst in London I also visited some universities and colleges, one of them was my surprise, it was nestled in between Regent Park, very unusual place to have a university, and of course a very expensive place too, apparently though it was a school for girls long ago, and got converted into a university, so if a student goes there he or she will live in a lovely park with a lake for fantastic four years. Wouldn’t that be nice?? It makes me want to go back to school; I hope my family will not read this as they are sick of me already wanting to study anything that anyone offers!! Cursera is surely happy with me, I am one of those that make up the 1% that finish their courses!
Prague (They call it Praha in Czech) is a different kettle of fish, one thing for sure here is that you don’t need to learn the names of the roads, every building has various types of statues, so you could say old town, the building with the four saint Mary, or the one with the four falcons, or the one with the four soldiers. Also Charles Bridge is one of kind with all types of status on a never ending bridge. We saw merchants, painters, artists, jewelry makers, people proposing to each other, people getting married, old men, young men, old women, young women, tourists from 191 countries round the world. I think Prague gets a fair share of the tourists market more than any country around the world, but I must check the statistics to confirm, it safe to say that it certainly had many tourists. Street performers were plenty, today a fat man was holding a stick that has on ts other end a fat woman, we saw them and after an hour of roaming round we returned to see them in the same meditating position, my daughter thinks that there is a metal rod with a little chair for her to set on within their cloths, maybe, whatever it was, it marveled the tourists and all were taking pictures of them.
In Prague I had two conferences, in the first one I met with 40 universities, many new ones, some are just to talk over some issues that we are having with them, or to reconnect so we know what is new; there is nothing better than face to face discussions, we can say so much in an email, but one word face to face makes all the difference.
The other conference was the amazing EAIE, I cannot wait for the next one that will happen in Glasgow next year, as the amount of learning is immense, and if one wants to see differing opinions on higher education, than that is the place to be. Guess how many people attended the conference?? Over 5000 people from around the world. So its as if you have visited every country in just one congress hall. What I like about this conference is the motivational speakers that they bring to entertain and raise the moral of the attendees. This year we had two of them, one was the Europe chairman of Microsoft, and the 100things.com.au guy. Both were great, opening our minds to different possibilities. But I must stop here, my plane is calling and I will write about them in different articles.