Aptly included in the name of this programme, my first week in the University of Edinburgh as an IMFSE freshmen was truly an international one. My first impression of this course would definitely be meeting the fellow students who I will be spending the next 2 years with. With classmates from Kazakhstan, Belarus, Romania, India, Bangladesh, China and Columbia, it is great getting to know them as well as their countries to greater detail. I had to even Google some of the countries to know where they are. Every time we get together, we are exchanging little titbits on our countries and culture which leads us to a section called…
DID YOU KNOW….
• The most famous sportsman in Kazakhstan is the boxer Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin or “GGG”. He shares the same home town as my classmate, Yekaterina!
• Belarus is well-known for biathlon. For those who are only familiar with summer Olympics, like me, nope… this is not swimming/cycling/running (pick 2). Biathlon is a Winter Olympic sport involving running and shooting.
• On the 18th September 2017, a powerful storm hit Romania. We heard about it while playing cards together and our Romanian friend, Bogdan was trying to contact home and get updates especially being a firefighter before joining programme. Our thoughts and prayers are with Romania.
• India sent a strong contingent for IMFSE this year with 3 students starting their masters in Edinburgh. India may be a diverse country but one thing’s for certain, they sure love their spices. We got a taste of their home-cooked dishes during the potluck dinner and it felt like the spices are having a party in our mouth. So next time you are offered food from India, get ready to spice up your life!
• Other than Facebook and Youtube, Whatsapp is also blocked in China. If you are starting a Whatsapp group with your classmates, please do not forget your Chinese classmates and get them to download the app while they are overseas. Or we can all just go on WeChat!
• Rohingya people from Myanmar have been fleeing to Bangladesh following conflicts with the Myanmar governments. I won’t delve into politics but having open discussions with my classmate, Tanveer, who is actively involved in this issue back home was really an eye-opener. Learn more about the world (and not only on fire) through your classmates!
• On a lighter note, in Colombia, soup is a must before every meal. Kids, you don’t get your meal unless you finish your soup! (TIP: You have to try Plátanos Asados con Bocadillo y Queso (Baked Plantains with Guava and Cheese) once in your life. It’s awesome!!! I’m so happy we get to taste it thanks to our classmate, Silvia!!)
Probably these are not new or “WOW” facts but I am learning everyday, not only in the classroom but outside just through casual interactions with classmates, seniors (like Darko! Check out his posts on Edinburgh too!), professors, other students or just random strangers. People in Edinburgh are really friendly and would not be shy away from talking about anything under the sun (if you are lucky enough to catch a pocketful of sunshine instead of a sky of clouds/rain)!. I’m truly looking forward to learning more, not only about fire but about international relations, world cultures and global issues (and surprisingly, these are probably the things we remember throughout our lives). So to my dear classmates, lets enjoy our time together learning more about each other too!
That’s us meeting for the first time more than a month ago. A month has passed and we have gone through much together. Thank you IMFSE for allowing me to meet these wonderful people and more! The IMFSE is truly an INTERNATIONAL experience so immerse in it with an open mind and heart to all around you.