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A special perk of being a Goldsmiths student: the Go Abroad programme!

Antonia Morena Olivares, a BA Politics & International Relations student, writes about the Go Abroad opportunities she has participated in as a Goldsmiths student – and why you should get involved!


Dear friend,

Now that you are starting a new academic year at Goldsmiths, I want you to know about a special perk that the uni offers.  So you can enjoy Uni as much as possible, especially during these unconventional times. This perk is The Go Abroad Programme.

I am Antonia, a recent graduate from Politics and International Relations. And I participated in this programme this summer. I am a little bit frustrated because I only got to know about the programme during my last year at Goldsmiths, I wish I knew about it earlier. But to be honest, it came at the perfect timing: lockdown. During quarantine, I made more international friends from the comfort of my couch, than I probably did before covid-19. And this is thanks to the virtual global opportunities offered by Goldsmiths.

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‘Countering Hate Speech’ – an Erasmus Virtual Experience

Antonia Morena Olivares, a BA Politics & International Relations student, has completed an Erasmus+ virtual experience over the summer holidays. ‘Countering Hate Speech’ is a 5-week interactive online course where participants engage with online content and meet with others to discuss and exchange ideas.


The course is centred on understanding what hate speech is, the forms it can take, its causes and consequences, how it is regulated, and what place it takes in our societies. Crucially, the course is designed to provide participants with strategies on how to counter hate speech and promote an open society.

Antonia discusses her experience with fellow participant Roxana on her Instagram Live

Studying in Berlin during Covid-19

Sam Sweeting, a BA Anthropology and Visual Practice student, studied abroad through the Erasmus+ programme at Freie Universität Berlin during the lockdown period of the Covid-19 pandemic.


My exchange experience took place in Berlin over the lockdown of Covid-19. I had a very different exchange experience to the one I was imagining, but by the end it felt normal. People are quick to adapt. It was almost the case that I didn’t complete the exchange, as it was cancelled when lockdown began in the UK. By chance, I had travelled to Berlin for work before Goldsmiths ended its face to face teaching. Everything happened quickly and European countries rapidly closed their borders, Germany being ahead of the UK in that decision. I found myself living under the German government’s advice to stay home and self isolate. I decided, given the fact that I was safe and staying with friends in Berlin, and that my family is in Australia and I wasn’t going to be able to go back, that it was right for me to stay in Berlin. Thanks to the Erasmus team at Goldsmiths consideration of personal circumstances, I was able to carry on with the exchange and receive my Erasmus funding as planned.

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Interning at the Rivendell Art and Retreat Center in The Canary Islands

Isabella Jones, a Design student, interned at the Rivendell Art and Retreat Center in La Palma, The Canary Islands for her Erasmus Traineeship.


Obtaining my placement

I was offered an internship at the Rivendell Art and Retreat Center in La Palma, in the Canary Islands. It is an eco-center with a theatrical twist that invites groups to host workshops related to creative and ecological topics, as well as wellbeing. I sourced this placement through networking within the areas of my interest.

My Design brief consisted of two parts. My first task was the designing of a promotional campaign.

I started with Photography to have a base and feel for the campaign.

Here are some examples of graphics created. Signs had been made ready to start the promotion by resident artists. This allowed me to translate an existing aesthetic into graphics.

 

 

The second part of my design brief was to design a water and therapy pool. 

A Tea Bag Project 

Below is an art project I also helped create with dyed recycled teabag material. This is the most fancy tool box I have ever worked on!

Challenges and learning points

The challenges at Rivendell included remaining focused with an array of jobs, visitors and animals all needing attention. However, I am confident that both my skills as a promoter and as a photographer as developed during my internship have armed me for my final year at Goldsmiths.

The whole point of a placement abroad is to submerge oneself into a different routine and culture. Enriching not only ones personal and academic work but also adding textures and memories that can open up new pathways and thoughts. I never know where my feet will take me, but where ever I go, I record my story with a visual diary. Creating visual poetry and capturing not just the views but feelings
of a place, the good and less positive aspects as well.

My visual diary

I always feel like I can thoroughly soak myself in a place through my camera lens and even when I decide to leave my camera at home, that attention to detail allows me to discover stories within the wood of an old peeling door, a barking dog in a remote backyard or a dusty volcanic rock. The following photos are examples of my visual diary. Its not just the photos, but the combination of feelings caused when they are placed together.

The archaeology of the island

I am fascinated by experimental archeology and La Palma is an island with a turbulent political and historic past. From the natives on the island, the ‘Benahoritas’ with their advanced knowledge in astronomy and mysterious rock engravings, to the Spanish conquest in the 14th Century. It’s amazing to study traces of these past cultures within the architecture of the cities and the wild places of the islands, and through the many legends and stories.

 

Experimental Workshops

As well as exploring the volcanic landscape, I also organized a role playing event in the local valley. One moment that delighted me was when I met a lady who had worked as a telescope software programmer (The island has a world famous astronomical observatory) and I led an experimental workshop creating
cardboard shields with runic and Elven inscriptions. I translated “Cat” into runes for my new friend. It goes to show, no matter your job, creating a low-res designed object can bring out the playfulness that we all hold inside of us and that really defines for me, the joy of being at Rivendell. After an epic battle with biodegradable water balloons, the ‘Elven’ queen beat the ‘Ringwraith’ king and we restored peace to the valley once more (The passing tourist’s faces were priceless).

Volunteering as a Teacher in Greece

Giulia, a Media and Communications student, volunteered as an English and German teacher for a non-governmental organisation called Respect for Greece in Athens, Greece for her Erasmus+ Traineeship.


How did you source your placement? 

At the beginning, I applied for the European Solidarity Corps – a website suggested by the Go Abroad Team – but unfortunately I did not receive a response. Nonetheless, the Go Abroad Team gave some helpful tips on how to continue searching for placements. In the end, I found my placement online by googling ‘Volunteer work in Greece’.

What were the highlights of your experience abroad?

One highlight of my experience abroad was the day I said goodbye to my language teaching organisation. Not because I was leaving – on the contrary – but because I was surprised me with a goodbye party by my colleagues. We had a delicious Arabic barbecue and we danced traditional Greek and Arabic dances all night. In addition, meeting wonderful and brave people from all over the world (mostly the Middle East) was a privilege. We shared personal stories with each other and taught each other phrases from our respective languages. This was an important shared experience.

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Interning at a Berlin art gallery

Phoebe Evans-Clarke, BA Fine Art graduate, completed an Erasmus traineeship soon after her graduation. She worked at an art gallery in Berlin for three months, and speaks here about what she learned from the experience.


Finding my internship

I found my placement through an online platform for hiring internships in creative spaces in Berlin called “BERLIN BLUE CREATIVE”.

I was drawn to Berlin having since visited my friend that year, as she was doing her Erasmus out there. She told me about the many opportunities Berlin had held for her in such a short space of time when compared to other cities – which I too, noticed when doing my research. Berlin seemed cheaper, held a slower pace of life than London and offered worthwhile opportunities in the field of art (like studio grants and part time studio assistant jobs) I had not heard of elsewhere.

After looking at various platforms from different European cities, I chose Berlin, the role being Gallery Assistant at BBA Gallery.

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Vienna Q&A

Stephanie Guinn, BA English student, answers questions about her Erasmus semester at the University of Vienna.


How did you find the application process?

I found the application process quite straightforward. It’s similar to writing a personal statement for your UCAS application. I just thought about why I wanted to go to that country, what I was interested in getting out of the experience and how it might help my studies.

 

How did you manage your money?

I would recommend saving some extra money before you go, just so that you can make the most out of all the opportunities that might be on offer. The Erasmus grant does help, and I used that for my semester travel card and food shopping mainly. But if you want to do any extras like travelling to nearby cities, or taking part in the events and trips that your Erasmus university might offer, then the extra money definitely helps. I did weekend trips to Prague and Budapest with some of the Erasmus students that I met in Vienna, we went to a Viennese ball, and I got to go skiing for the first time through a trip that the Students’ Union in Vienna offered too. They were so all much fun and definitely added to the whole experience.

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Copenhagen Q&A

Daniel Deefholts, a BA Politics and International Relations student, reflects on his term studying in Copenhagen.


Q: How did you feel when you found out that you had been awarded a place on the Study Abroad programme?

A: I was thrilled. Managing to secure a place months before the frightening reality of Brexit began to fully kick in was a big deal for me.

 

Q: How did you feel about your host university before you left?

A: It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study at the University of Copenhagen. Growing up, I studied at one of the lowest performing high schools in Croydon so the chance to study at one of Europe’s top-ranking research universities was a rare opportunity.

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London2Copenhagen

Second year Sociology student, Abigail Joseph, shares her experience of studying abroad as part of the Erasmus programme. She spent five months in Copenhagen, her first trip abroad for a while and the longest she had ever been away from home.


My time in Copenhagen was full of ups and downs, though in the end there were definitely more ups.

There were lots of things that took a great deal of getting used to. When I first arrived at my student accommodation – which I had applied for through the University of Copenhagen a few months before arriving – I was taken aback. The room looked smaller than it had in the pictures online, and it was bare. A trip to the shop and unpacking my things definitely helped, as well as the arrival of my roommate. It made the space feel more warm and homely, but it was very different to what I had at home.

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