Month: January 2020

The UF Debate Club: more than a debate club

One of the things that I have never imagined when I came to Uppsala was to be involved again in a debate club. I do love debate. In fact, I was doing it for four years in Córdoba, my hometown, with CDU (for Germans, is not related to Angela Merkel´s party) , and there I learnt how to speak and persuade in public, had a critical point of view and, the most important point, I made astonishing friends and I spent my craziest years in CDU, living experiences hardly ever to repeat. So, when I saw a post in “Uppsala International Students | Exchange&Erasmus Uppsala Univeristy” I didn´t doubt to join.

Maybe if you read “Debate club” the first picture that comes to your mind is a posh guy or girl, maybe with a suit sewn by hand and really polite. Well, there are people with this stereotype, but you usually find normal students like you and me who want to improve their language skills. Why? I think the magic thing of the debate is that EVERYBODY can be the best speaker or debater in the world and the “job” carried out prove that. So, in UF Uppsala Debate Club (its official name) you will find cheerful students really looking forward to learning that skills, most of them from scratch so you aren´t an exception.

For the last two semesters, the club was lead by Hugh Bartley, a brilliant and charming debater from Australia that taught and encouraged people to improve their debate skills throughout the semesters. Most of the members were novices, so they started from scratch and they learnt a lot. A proof was the impressive progression shown by them and the novices learnt how to create an argument, defend it and refute other ideas in English.

These formations were focused on these three main points but also there was time for debaters to teach about some topics such as economy, science, or more informal talks like pop culture or sports. This is an overwhelming experience in which you are able to enhance your abilities.

The highlight of the season was the Debate of Champion, in which all of the members showed their gift of the gab and the knowledge

Why I think that the UF Uppsala Debate Club is one the things that you must try during your period in Uppsala? First of all, because you will meet people with a critical perspective and attitude to change the things and break with the establishment is not as usual as somebody can think. From my point of view, this helps to see the things from other perfective and have a wider view of some ideas.

The second point is related to the last because after each meeting the debate usually continues in a nation but with a beer and a burger (sometimes we went to Pizzeria Palermo) in your hands and enjoying the time with your debate friends, which is without any doubt it´s the best way to meet new people. Finally, and from an academic point of view, it helps to persuade your friends to do the plan that you think is best and explain much better your ideas to an audience or your classmates.

So I just can encourage you to join to the debate club and open the door to an amazing world in which you will enjoy and learn at the same time.

If you want to know more about its madness and formation, follow them in UF Uppsala Facebook page or the UF Debate Club Facebook group.

Vi ses i nästa inlägg!


(Photos by: Hugh Bartley)

Masters in Sustainable Development: What to Expect: Very Personal Review – By Müge Kayra

First, I have to warn you about this; this is a super personal review about the SD Masters Programme and if you are reading this before you come here I just want you to know that this is only one person’s point of view and we are almost 60-70 people in the course.

As an engineer from Turkey, my intentions before I got here were to learn more about the policy side of sustainability and get involved in ‘social sciences’ part of the academics.  I am highlighting the fact that I am from Turkey, a Mediterranean country with population of 80 million, because one has to understand my background to have a better understanding of my thoughts about this programme. As for my educational background, it was full of memorizing, accepting the learning outcomes and facts without discussing it that much (because usually no one is considered ‘that important’ to share their thoughts, like who are you and why should someone listen to your thoughts type of a mentality) and of course, lots of numbers and equations, experiments and linear thinking. So I was not used to brainstorming ideas, getting involved multinational group projects and of course, nothing about critical thinking. Well.. Now I have to do all of these things, everyday. This is super challenging. I love it. I just feel stupid sometimes but that’s okay. I guess?

First weeks in MSD, I was struggling to adjust myself to ‘the new life’. I was trying to attend all interesting events I could find to make friends so let’s be real, I didn’t pay any attention to the classes in the first month. The best part is, we really didn’t have that much of thing to do in the first month. Everything was easy breezy. We had bunch of MSD social events and fikas, organized by CEMUS which I have never seen any other departments doing that type of things. We had a whole week scheduled, so that we can meet each other and have fun before the classes really really start. It was really nice to get to know each other.

Then, we started to have assignments, projects and lots of readings. I was being super bored at the classes, because usually my classmates were asking questions or talk about their opinions in general while I was rolling my eyes and thinking “ugh ok, who cares let the teacher talk WHY ARE YOU WAISTING MY TIME”. Now I can see that I was just a rude person who has been educated with a strict and not-suitable-for-this-century type of style. Because I am learning lots of stuff from these discussions with my classmates with very diverse backgrounds.

So, as a summary, what to expect from Master’s in Sustainable Development:

-If you are an engineer, if you are a person who is used to memorize things and think according to what has been taught to you before; you will have hard time studying this course. If you have strong ambitions to earn too much money, if you don’t like the idea of having the responsibility on your shoulders to learn everything by yourself instead of a very hard and busy course that you have to learn, than it might not be the right choice for you. You will feel this a waste of time, you probably will find this course very philosophical and useless and easy. Especially if you are a fee paying student, if you don’t do the readings, you might feel that you are spending your money for no reason.

-If you are open for new possibilities, if you are in to discussions, exchanging ideas, thinking in different ways, trying to look at problems in a broader perspective instead of trying to solve it directly and if you can let go yourself with the flow, enjoy Uppsala, nations, enjoy your classmates and their experiences with their lives and explore their unique ideas, this is the right choice for you. If you can take what you can get the most out of this programme, you will most probably graduate as a systems thinker with full of exciting experience.

As for me, I have chosen to study MSD only for 1 year. I think it will be sufficient for me and I don’t think I can learn more than this. I choose to look for opportunities  to work in Sweden and concentrate on my work in energy sector with the help of my energy engineering combined with knowledge about sustainable development goals of UN, systems thinking and other various things I have learned from this programme.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask for me!

Müge Kayra