Have you ever been in a place or time in your life where you have been truly hopeful and happy? It may not be a permanent thing, which makes it all the more precious, and it shouldn’t be about money or any material thing. It’s an experience of being with people or being in a place where everything is right, just right. Has there been any time in your life where you have said that, “At this point in time, in my life, I am sure that I am where I am supposed to be”?
Being young gives us the opportunity to make decisions on where our lives are supposed to go. On one side, it is crucial to determine what we stand for and on the other, if you have already decided on your values, it is a time to enjoy and make the most out of life. One pastor in our church once said, “Who we listen to determines our success or failure.” And I just feel so humbled that I have been led by God to join the International Student Festival in Trondheim. For 11 days, February 7-17, 2013, the student city of Trondheim, Norway became a melting pot of cultures as represented by over 400 students from around the world. In my workshop alone, we have 27 students from across continents and 5 workshop leaders from Norway. And yes, I could say that those were one of the most memorable 11 days of my life. Meeting students from around the world gave me perspectives on how people think, live and even eat around the world. I have met intelligent people from well-developed and developing countries that inspired me to take part in global issues.
Moreover, the festival taught me how to listen to others and that wherever we are in the world, we are the same. We all want peace, a comfortable life, education, freedom and equality. We all want to be respected, whoever we are. In a span of 11 days, I have gained friends that I will never have met in my lifetime, if not for the festival. And these friends, these young people I have met, have shared with everyone their ideas on how we should change the ways of Global Trade. We are pretty idealistic but what’s wrong with that if being idealistic means being right, just and fair. We are trusting ourselves to fix the screw ups of the generation before us.
And yes, on one decisive moment in the festival, I smiled to myself and told myself that, “despite everything happening in my life right now, in spite of my doubts, fears and apprehensions, this is what I am sure of, at this point in time in my life, I am where I am supposed to be.I am with the right people, from all walks of life, that inspires me to stand up for what I believe in, to enjoy life and to take responsibility.”
If all these sounded too serious for you, then let me tell you about some of the awesome and crazy stuff we also did in my workshop:
We went snow diving after we all quit trying to ski! (for those of us who don’t know how to ski.)
The parties were AWESOME but the pre-parties were LEGEN..wait for it..DARY!
We spent Valentine’s day goofing around, eating chocolates and goofing around!
We even made up our own word: MABYE! We had a Hee-Ha-Hoo Championship. We flash mobbed the bars with the Pony Song. We had a pretty intense Market Game that mirrors the current global trade situation and a LOT more!
There were also more activities for all participants that are too many to mention that I feel 11 days were not enough. We were all overcome by emotions when it was time to say goodbye.
As one of us said (and that’s Amy from Germany) before we parted ways, we now have 32 people from around the world to push us on when everybody around us just tells us to quit trying to do the impossible.
To everybody in my workshop, it was a pleasure to meet all of you and I hope to meet you again.
(I can go on and on about everything and still not have enough time and words to express my feelings about the 11 days we spent in Trondheim. So let me just say this, it’s something you have to experience for yourself!)