It was early, or maybe it was late. I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. I’d already packed, I’d been packed for a few days. Just the last essentials sitting on my desk. My laptop out, my notebook and kindle on the charger, my travel adapter and wall to USB adapter plugged in. My orange Escape Osprey pack, a 2001 original, made in Dolores Colorado sat ready to go. My passport tucked in the front pocket, filled with the essentials.
I’d made the decision to take the bus from Wroclaw to Berlin, transfer and then hop up to Copenhagen. It was a whopping 32 euro, with unlimited baggage, wifi, power outlets on the bus, and most importantly, a working toilet. Of course there was the minor issues of 14 hours of travel, compared with the 5 (including airport and transfers) of a flight, but I didn’t have much more of an option. My other Osprey pack, passed down from father to son, sat wrapped in its straps, and a bit of cellophane tape, wispy, almost transparent hugged to the thick fabric, keeping the straps tucked in so they didn’t get damaged by the handlers on the bus. At it’s base sat another great, sturdy piece of luggage, a large suitcase, purpose built with pockets, and extra’s for the kind of travel our family loves.
I didn’t pick up too many extra physical belongings during my year in Wroclaw, mostly memories, but it was still more than I’d come with, and I’d had to add an extra little carry-on bag, with my laptop outside of it’s normal spot in the suitcase. That put me at 5 pieces of luggage total, which would have made my flight cost a fortune. So, bus it was.
I stood up, stretched, and grabbed my gear, headed down to the lobby for the last time, turned in my residence card (for the dormitories) and headed out to the waiting taxi. My friend came with me to the bus station, and we waited until the midnight express rolled in.
As I boarded the bus, and prepared for the long ride to Berlin, and then the leg up to the port, across the narrow sea, and into Copenhagen, I started to reflect on my time at the University of Wroclaw.
The Erasmus Mundus Global Studies (EMGS) program, is interesting, and has it’s quirks. It’s a joint degree program, and our study time is split between two different universities, possibly three.
You can read a little bit more about the EMGS program at: http://www.davidberger.net/about-me/emgs/
I’d been offered a position and scholarship at the University of Wroclaw, and at Roskilde University, and had taken the opportunity. As part of my studies we blended faculties, and were exposed to a variety of topics and disciplines.
In my first semester, I studied nine courses and scored well, they were interesting, and broadened my horizons, fulfilling my interest in a more interdisciplinary skillset.
Those courses included:
National Identity and European Identity
Methodology of Social Sciences
Human Rights in the Contemporary World
Globalization and Regionalization
International Protection of Environment
Theory and Politics of Foreign Aid
Resource Curse: Oil, Minerals, and the Development of Nations
Democracy and the Global Condition: Perspectives and Challenges
EMGS Winter School: Located in Payerbach, Austria
The second semester moved away from a development focus, and felt like it had a deeper economic and political focus. My courses included:
Global Processes and the New Security Challenges in the South Caucasus
Introduction to International Migration and Immigrant Integration
Methodology of social sciences
Solutionism to Singularity: Expansion of the Digital Economy
Transition of power: concepts, approaches and empirical findings
International Economic Transactions
War crimes and genocides in 20th century and beyond
EMGS Summer School: Located in Puck, Poland
But, more than what we were studying, the real benefit of the first year lay in my fellow students. Academics, professionals, and activists who were interested in bettering themselves, sharing their knowledge, and studying to improve their understanding of the deep complexities that plague globalization.
As the sun came up outside of Berlin’s airport, I was thinking about them… then, my thoughts started shifting to my new home, and the second leg of the trip – a return to Copenhagen.