dinsdag 7 september 2010

Learning from UCLA

By Zahra Astitou
On Wednesday June 9, 2010, a VU University delegation consisting of 13 people headed by VU president René Smit went to the high ranking University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the United States. Three VU students were chosen to enforce the delegation by representing the VU University students during the visit. As a student-reporter for the university weekly Ad Valvas, I was one of the lucky students who was chosen to go to Los Angeles. This visit revolved around the important event that took place on Monday June 14, which was a historic day for our university and for UCLA: both universities signed a Memorandum of Understanding that implies close collaboration on four different fields. The universities have committed themselves to collaborate with each other on the following fields: 1). A general student exchange program; 2). A summer course; 3). Conducting a research together on diversity along with a South African university; and 4). Exchanging experiences and good practices of different departments, e.g. Human Resource Management, Marketing and Communication, etc.
Our experience in LA was unforgettable in many respects thanks to our considerate hosts. The student part of our delegation met up with many different students and student organizations, and we learned a lot from them. We established contacts with the different student organizations so that the VU University can benefit from these contacts when developing the exchange programs and the summer programs. On my own initiative, I decided to try as much as possible to keep up a blog on the Ad Valvas website so that the people working and studying at the VU will become more familiar with the activities of our university concerning the collaboration with UCLA. Many students can hopefully benefit from these contacts with UCLA in the near future.

For this piece, I was asked to write about my plans for the future, and I was asked whether I see journalism as something I want to practice professionally after graduating from college. It is hard to give an answer to a question like this, because I am still very young and there are so many things that I want to do in life: between the colors black and white there are so many shades of grey that I want to explore. And most of the time wonderful opportunities come unexpected. When I was asked to join the VU delegation to UCLA, I was really surprised but at the same time very honored. I have learned a lot from my visit to UCLA and have certainly grown as a human being. What is next? I do not know yet, but the future will show.

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