09 Sep Sunny Summer School programmes
Now that rain is pouring down again, I hope you had a great summer to look back on! I started my summer abroad, following lectures by interesting lecturers, becoming best friends with people from all over the world and working together on interdisciplinary projects: I went on a Summer School programme! In this blog you can read all about my Summer School experience and how you can go on a Summer School yourself next year.
Universitas 21 Summer School programmes
There is a variety of Summer School programmes available, varying year by year. I went on a Summer School programme organised by Universitas 21 (U21), a global network of research universities such as the University of Amsterdam and the University of Glasgow – which hosted the Summer School programme this year. Each year a different university hosts the Summer School programme. Next year the programme will be held in Shanghai.
Summer School programme ‘cities and citizens engagement in the digital age’
This year the Summer School programme was on ‘cities and citizens engagement in the digital age‘. Because of the available coal and iron-ore around Glasgow, the city became a blooming industrial city from the 18th century onwards. After WWI however, the city suffered during the Great Depression. The marks of these eras are still visible in the city, though great projects are being set up to regain the glamour the city once had, and that the district certainly still has.
The University of Glasgow is highly involved in improving the city and other parts of Scotland. We had lectures on many of these different projects and about cities and citizens engagement in this digital age on improving the city in general. One of the projects that interested me most is in the City of Dundee, in the east of Scotland, and focuses on connecting the Waterfront to the city centre.
As part of the project, the University of Dundee supports the prestigious plan of opening a department of the famous Victoria & Albert Museum. To engage citizens and school pupils with this project, they used Minecraft. Minecraft is a well known computer game about building and surviving in a virtual world. The University of Dundee let the school pupils re-imagine, design and build the waterfront. By involving these pupils they gained insight on what citizens would like to do with the waterfront. The pupils themselves learned a great deal too, being involved in a project like this.
At the end of the lecture we got a chance to walk around the yet to be built waterfront by using virtual glasses. It was very interesting to see the plans the developers made for the City of Dundee. I think it will help a lot to engage citizens in landscape changing plans like these.
Every weekday of the two-week Summer School we had a full day of lectures. Food was sublimely taken care of. We all had our own rooms on campus and were transported between the campus and the university daily. During the day there was always someone present who could help you with whatever you needed. On the two Saturdays there were organised trips to the Highlands and to Edinburgh. Sundays were free, on which everyone did whatever he/she wanted, such as visiting London (!), walking around town or hiking in the beautiful Highlands. And the greatest thing of all: the University of Amsterdam supports you by paying for the whole programme! I only had to pay for the flight.
How you can follow a Summer School programme
Would you like to follow a Summer School programme next year? Keep an eye on the UvA site on global exchange programmes! Don’t want to leave your beloved Amsterdam? Don’t worry! The UvA offers Summer School programmes in Amsterdam too, some even in Dutch. Can’t wait till next summer? The UvA also offers a variety of Winter courses! The Winter courses typically take place in January and have a duration of a week to ten days.