Tag Archives: eusa global

Buddies Newsletter – November 2014

7 Dec

Hello Buddies,

November Events

Firstly, as the end of the semester draws near and the library becomes ever more crowded, the Buddies Committee would just like to say a huge thank you for an excellent semester! November was no different; we held a cosy board games night in Teviot underground and a trip to the Christmas Market down in Princes Street Gardens. Although, in true Edinburgh style, it was freezing, the mulled wine was suitably warming!

December Events

Do remember, if you have any interesting stories or beautiful pictures, do send them in to hilaryalison@icloud.com, and we’ll see if we can publish them in the next Buddies newsletter. We will also be holding a Christmassy event before everyone starts heading home, so keep a look out for details on the Facebook group, and get your Christmas jumpers ready! It will also be a great chance to catch up with those of you who are International students only staying for one semester.

January Events

The January Meet & Greet, for new international arrivals, is on Saturday 10th January from 7.30pm. It will be in the debating hall in Teviot, but we’ll also have the Loft bar reserved just for us so that the meeting and greeting can continue for the whole night (yay). Even if you’re not a new arrival, come down and mingle!

See you all soon, and good luck with those pesky exams and essays!


Buddies Newsletter – October 2014

2 Nov

What a month it has been! After a massive welcome into October with the Frankenstein’s pub quiz, the Buddies events team pulled it off again with a trip to Edinburgh’s Camera Obscura. The museum is dedicated to all things visual and photographic, with all kinds of illusions involving lights, dark tunnels, and photo machines. With 6 floors of hands-on activities, it’s a treasure trove. One October Wednesday  afternoon, Buddies stuck their heads into various boxes, got lost in a mirror maze and were almost blown away on the roof. In a place like the Camera Obscura, picture taking is obligatory, and there were tons of excellent photographs on all kinds of social media (#edbuddies).

Buddies battling the wind at Edinburgh's Camera Obscura

Buddies battling the wind at Edinburgh’s Camera Obscura

Secondly, welcome to November – and week 8! Time is going so fast. With the announcement of exam dates and the ensuing revision stress, a quick coffee with your Buddies is always a sure-fire way to slow down and enjoy the rest of the semester.

November events are set to include a board games night on 12th November in Teviot – keep a look out on our Facebook and Instagram pages for information closer to the time.

Remember, remember…the 5th of November! If you’re feeling full of fireworks this Wednesday, 5th November is bonfire night, a historical evening dating back to when Guy Fawkes tried to blow up British parliament. Four hundred years on, we still commemorate this day by wrapping up warmly, eating bonfire toffee and letting off fireworks. Exchange 360, an Edinburgh University society for both international students and returners, are planning to climb up Carlton Hill to watch the fireworks. They are meeting just in front of Teviot on Wednesday at 6pm. Sparklers provided before everything kicks off! (For more info see their Facebook page).

Hope you all enjoyed a very Scottish Halloween. See you very soooooon.

Buddies Newsletter

4 Oct

Hi all!

My name is Hilary, and I’m the secretary/treasurer for this years Edinburgh Buddies! This means I will also be bringing all of the news, events and inside goss in these monthly newsletters. Detailing all the fun we’ve been having and what there is to come, we are also asking for contributions from Edinburgh and International Buddies. A different Buddy group will be asked each month for their pictures and posts. So get reading, get snapping  and get scribbling down your experiences so far. ALSO don’t miss out on our excellent Instagram account; follow @edinburghbuddies and hashtag #edbuddies to keep up to date!

September Events

Autumn is THE best time of the year and this September was no exception. It has been a super busy month, beginning with our hugely successful Meet and Greet, where almost 600 Buddies were due into Teviot Dining Room in search of their Buddy groups. And it worked! Complimentary wine in hand, I got to meet so many lovely people from Edinburgh and abroad, and it only added to the excitement buzzing around the Buddies programme for this year. Some Buddy groups even managed to find their way to a ceilidh in McEwan Hall afterwards!

Our next event was the Scavenger Hunt. With eight rhyming clues leading our Buddy groups from Greyfriars Bobby to Edinburgh Dungeons to the castle (or some kind of similar order) and tasks, such as squishing into phone boxes and proposing marriage, on the way, the pictures looked amazing (#edbuddies – you know it!) and the winning team looked very pleased with themselves and their prize!

photo buddies

Buddies ceilidh-ing away in McEwan Hall

October Events

With the first of a new month came more events! This Wednesday played host to the Buddies pub quiz at Frankenstein, the fabulously themed pub on George IV Bridge. Quiz rounds included topics such as Scottish, Music, General Knowledge and there was even a Buddies round (are there more girls or boys in Buddies?). The winners, pun-tastically named ‘Buddy Brilliant’ received some rather fetching prizes. Later on this month we are planning a Flat Safari – keep your eyes peeled for more details.

Obviously aside from our fantastic events, Buddies are welcomed (positively encouraged!) to meet up, mix with other Buddies groups and explore Edinburgh and further afield together. All details of upcoming Buddies Activity can also be found on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EdBuddies20142015/

EUSA Global Farewell

30 Sep

Four years ago, I started working at EUSA. My remit – supporting student-led internationalisation.  I was new to the UK, the University, and in all honesty – I had to practice saying internationalisation in front of a mirror before my interview for this job.  It’s difficult to say and –as I’ve learned- even more difficult to define. But I’ve tried my best over the past few years and learned a million lessons along the way.

And now I’m moving on.  In a couple weeks, I’ll be working with the Institute for Academic Development on projects around student engagement, curriculum, and innovation.  I’m really excited for the change and the opportunity, but sad to be leaving EUSA.  There have been countless times here when I’ve stepped back and thought ‘man, I love my job’.  I’m so grateful for the bag of lessons and experiences that EUSA and the people I have worked with have given me. Thinking back – there are a few that stand out.


TEDx changed things for me. I was lucky to be part of the group which started TEDx University of Edinburgh back in 2012. When we started, I had no real experience in putting on a production and from scratch. If it wasn’t for the patience of people like Celia (who I think is a bit like a magician), Maggie, Andrew, Sarah, Roger and the rest of the team – it wouldn’t have happened.

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I learned so much from the students involved and came to appreciate that the process is much more meaningful than the end product – it’s not always about the big show.  The night before I remember thinking that if it all goes wrong, it has been one of the most amazing things to be involved with. And it didn’t go all wrong – it was perfect.

And now, we have a legacy and are onto our second student committee. Thanks to the imagination, dedication, and just pure brilliant organisation – Maggie, Theo, Andie, and Alina have owned TEDx and delivered it in a way I never could.  These teams have shown me the potential that lives within our community – we have filmmakers, event managers, inventors, graphic designers, animators, stage managers, speakers, light specialists, community developers, comperes, kick butt volunteer coordinators (I could go on…really). I’m excited not only to continue to support these initiatives, but to also be able to work alongside these talented people.

EUSA Global Assistants

When I started working at EUSA – there was no EUSA Global and no Global Assistants to help run all the great projects we have created.  Two years ago, Sophie and Rob were recruited and the EUSA Global Team was born.  It sounds a bit like a superhero gang and looking back – we kind of were. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazing students on EUSA Global – Melissa, Mari, and now Andre and Blythe.  I’ve learned so much from these teams and I think they really demonstrate an approach the University should be doing more of.  Have faith in students and more times than not, they will deliver in a big way.


Study America

For the past two years, I have had the amazing opportunity to lead a group of students to North America. A group of us identified a need to create more international experience opportunities for students who entered university through the Widening Participation programme. For the pilot, I went with 10 students to Charlottesville to visit the University of Virginia.  We spent two weeks going to classes, learning more about the area and the culture of Virginia, visiting DC, doing American things, and hanging out with local students.  I think the trip had a great deal of impact on the students, but I wasn’t expecting to be so transformed by the experience.  It was a special opportunity to see how young people can flourish and be bold in different cultural contexts.


EUSA staff

There hasn’t been one day when I haven’t wanted to come into work. I’m constantly inspired by the passion, care, and creativity of the EUSA staff.  This is an incredibly dynamic group of people who support one another, see the possibility in every challenge, and know how to play a game of darts (OK, well not really).  It’s been an absolute pleasure working with you. And Phil, sorry for making fun of the way you say book. But you do say it funny.

This is Phil.


Last year, we had an idea.  We wanted to change the way the University celebrates culture. I had the pleasure to work with Lorna and Kirsty from the International Office on this and I think it takes some pretty cool people to work hard on an idea when you don’t know where it will take you.  After countless conversations and a workshop – we realised that the University talks about community, culture, and global citizenship in similar ways.


From these findings, we created the Gather Festival and launched it for the first time in March 2014. The amazing Maria (a very talented postgraduate design student) created a brand and a series of beautiful illustrations. In the end, we had 52 events run by staff, students, and people in the city and we reached nearly 2,500 people.  Global Assistant Mari did amazing work mobilising events.  I’m so proud of what we achieved and thanks to our first year, our team and support from the University is growing. I’m so sad to be leaving the Gather team, but I’m excited to see it grow. It taught me a lot about the power of possibility and creating a team of talented people who really care about what they do.


So thank you EUSA.

Thank you for giving me space to find my feet, make mistakes, order too much wine for events on countless occasions, let me be imaginative and a bit rogue, and teach me how to work with different communities.  Thank you for your patience when I show yet another Baby Berta video (seriously though, look at that face), buy giant maps and cork boards, or make you play rounders in Bristo Square…again.

Baby Berta

Baby Berta

Thank you to the University for supporting my projects, embracing collaboration and new ideas, and acknowledging the good work of the students I have worked closely with. Thank you for the opportunity.

But most all, thanks to the students I have had the pleasure to work with. Thanks for coming to events where you had no idea what you were signing up for, volunteering to help each other, participating in yet another pilot project, asking questions, and coming up with some pretty fantastic ideas.  I’m in constant awe of your enthusiasm and dedication to do good. You have been a real influential force over how I operate over the past four years.  I look forward to working with you in a new way.

My job is up for grabs and if you are keen on working with amazing students, staff, and picking up some great projects – you should apply. Otherwise, you can find me at the Institute for Academic Development and no doubt, I’ll see you around.

It’s been an absolute pleasure, Johanna


Putting the Tools into the Cultural Toolboxes

16 Apr


I am putting together our cultural toolboxes for the Third Space Bon Voyage Retreat this weekend.  Each toolbox contains amazing activities to get students (40 preparing for their third year abroad) out and exploring their new communities.

Check out all the activities here

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Reflections on the Clinton Global Initiative University 2014

10 Apr

“Don’t let schooling interfere with your education”

Reflections on the Clinton Global Initiative University 2014

Paul Iannetta


In March 2014, the partnerships that exist between 30 Scottish and Tanzanian schools (see http://www.twendepamoja.org.uk/education for details) were highlighted at the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) in Phoenix, Arizona.

CGIU was launched by President Bill Clinton in 2007. It is, to use the website’s own words, “a meeting where students, youth organisations, topic experts and celebrities come together to discuss and develop solutions to global challenges”. Students are chosen to attend based on the “commitment to action” they develop. Commitments must be new, specific and measurable means of addressing a global challenge. The University of Edinburgh joined the network of universities whose students attend CGIU in 2014 and my commitment was one of four chosen from Edinburgh.


You may be wondering what my commitment was.

First, let me explain the background to it. I visited Tanzania in 2008, left Holy Rood High School in 2009 and have remained involved with Twende Pamoja (Swahili: Let us Walk Together) since then. It is unusual for so many schools across both the primary and secondary sectors to both link with schools in another country and work together. In the last few years, pupils have connected by letter, live video and exchange visits in both directions. Young people in every partner primary and secondary school and community have together created their global vision of how they would like the world to be. Over 13,000 young people have now been involved in this process, many through a variety of seminars and workshops. All of these activities, meetings and gatherings help raise awareness in very practical and personal ways of what life is like on another continent and within another culture. School partnerships can make an effective contribution to global education and in encouraging young people to see themselves as global citizens.

There are two significant obstacles that can contribute to school partnerships working less effectively: lack of time and ever-changing personnel. Students have increasing amounts of coursework and examinations every few months and consequently find their free time limited. Staff face the demands of teaching, curriculum development and assessment as well as pursuing their own personal commitments and interests. Students who have been involved with school partnerships eventually leave school and may pursue other activities in other cities. Staff may move on or retire. A challenge I have become very aware of is to find ways for staff and students to effectively pass on their knowledge and experience to ensure the ongoing development and sustainability of the partnership. Where this does not happen the benefits of a partnership may not be fully realised and the relationship itself may even be lost.

It is with this in mind that I have committed to the creation of a partnership pack for Scottish and Tanzanian schools. The partnership pack will draw on and bring together the best practice from each school in both countries. Therefore, when a school comes to fundraise for a trip to Tanzania by way of a sponsored bag pack, for example, it will know exactly which supermarkets have participated in the past, how much was raised and who to contact to arrange it. A partnership pack would also contain the contact details of students, in Scotland and in Tanzania, who have participated in a trip in the past and are willing to visit a school and speak or answer questions. A partnership pack for a Tanzanian school might contain an international SIM card and iPad-type device to allow for video calls between students in both countries. In short, a partnership pack is designed to provide resources, ideas and advice to keep school partnerships strong even though the people in them may change.

The pack is very much still in the development phase at present but was well received by others attending CGIU. My priority now is to secure funding for the project and to conduct research into content in both Scotland and Tanzania.

As for the CGIU conference itself, it was hard not to be inspired to act listening to Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, political heavyweights John McCain and Gabrielle Giffords, the Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales and women’s rights activist, Manal al-Sharif, to name but a few. The event was also a unique opportunity to meet some of the 1000 other students from 80 countries, some of whose commitments to action also featured Tanzania. Many business cards were exchanged and e-mails sent afterwards. All the sessions were recorded and can be viewed at http://new.livestream.com/CGI/CGIU2014.

One of the speakers was Bunker Roy of India’s Barefoot College. He quoted Mark Twain in response to a question he was asked that weekend – ‘don’t let schooling interfere with your education’, he said. As can be seen from the picture below, this quotation made an impression on a few of us attending CGIU. Education can often appear to be driven by the requirements of the examination system. The Scottish vision of education identifies the 4 capacities, which all centres of learning must work to nurture. As well as producing successful learners they must also produce confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens. It is my experience as a school pupil and as a student that partnerships between schools and other educational institutions in different countries can make a significant contribution to this process and the quality of the learner’s experience.

If this partnership pack, even in a small sense, helps Scottish and Tanzanian young people become global citizens, contributes to their development of a global vision and supports those leading partnerships to sustain their growth it will have been a success.


Paul Iannetta

April 2014









Day 2 in Malaysia

13 Mar

After the first day of the U21 workshop on global citizenship (despite another 4am jet lagged morning), it’s easy to feel inspired by the possibility of what institutions can do alongside students regarding global citizenship. We seem to face similar barriers and questions regarding the topic, so it was useful to get around the table to discuss solutions at the network level.

I’m excited to see the role that technology can play in this. It was great to talk about what we are doing through EUSA Global as well and despite a few technical problems, we launched a film I’ve been working on alongside the very talented Chris Rubey.

It was great to work with Chris on this as I learned a lot about the filming process, but it also confirmed my belief that we have a massive pool of skills and solutions right on our doors step.


What is Global Citizenship? from Chris Rubey on Vimeo.

EUSA Global goes to Malaysia

10 Mar

Tomorrow I leave for Universitas 21’s Global Citizenship workshop in Malaysia.  The workshop will explore current understandings of global citizenship and best practice around negotiating University strategy and student experience. I’m very excited to be able to facilitate part of the workshop and showcase some of the great work of our students and the role EUSA Global plays in the process. You can read more about the conference here.

Our Edinburgh Award in Global Citizenship is a great example of this. Tonight, we had our last session of the Award (read more about the award here). It’s activities such as this which create spaces for students from across disciplines to come together to reflect upon their development and experiences around global citizenship.



I’ll be blogging about the trip here so be sure to watch this space.


What Global Citizens are Made of

31 Oct

As part of both my secondment and my work with EUSA Global,  a team of us developed a strand of the Edinburgh Award to recognise and support activities around global citizenship on campus.

The Edinburgh Award works across the University to reward students for taking part in activities alongside their studies like volunteering, part-time work, and getting involved in the University community. It also allows them the opportunity to reflect on the skills they are developing through these particular activities.  There are currently 30 different Edinburgh Awards running across campus and this particular version of the award recognises students who play an active role in empowering others to feel a part of and understand their place in a community of global citizens. You can read more about it here.

Earlier this week, we ran our first session and I was blown away by the activity and passion of the participants.  From student societies and peer support for international students to sustainable development initiatives – these students are busy people making a real impact in their communities, both local and global.

One of the main objectives of the session was to identify the skills of an excellent global citizen.  In classic EUSA Global style, we used post it notes and gold stars to generate ideas. Throughout the course of the award (now till March) they will be assessing their development in terms of these skills, identifying three to reflect upon in more depth.

I wanted to share this fantastic list as I think it’s relevant not only to students, but to people I work with and those across the University.  How do your skills match up to those the group identified? Anything we are missing?

  1. I think about the future and am goal-oriented.
  2. I empathise with and am tolerant of others.
  3. I’m creative and value my imagination.
  4. I’m curious and want to learn new things.
  5. I challenge assumptions held by myself and others.
  6. I am open-minded.
  7. I take advantage of opportunities to collaborate.
  8. I am ambitious and proactive.
  9. I have a positive outlook and see possibility in every situation.
  10. I am warm and approachable.
  11. I respond well in new (and sometimes unexpected) situations.
  12. I recognise when changes in one area might impact on what’s happening in another
  13. I’m flexible in my approach to work and life generally.
  14. I’m self-aware – I recognise how my actions and behaviour impact others both locally and globally.
  15. I can adapt my leadership style to suit different situations.
  16. I am resourceful.
  17. I am adventurous and up for a challenge.
  18. I am patient.
  19. I respect people’s different backgrounds, including those from other cultures.
  20. I have an adaptable communication style – I change it for different audiences and settings.
  21. I am good at communicating my ideas in different and engaging ways.
  22. I am a good listener.
  23. I am organised and efficient with time and deadlines.
  24. I help to bring about change.
  25. I’m aware of my own culture.



Welcome Home Party is sold out!

1 Oct

Welcome Home Party is sold out!

We are throwing a party for all students who have been away over the past year – studying, volunteering or working. Over 150 students have registered and we can’t wait to meet them all.

The EUSA Global team has been busy preparing for the evening (i.e. cutting out over 200 conversation bubbles!).

If you can’t make the event, don’t worry! We will be sure to post updates and let you know of the cool activities which we will be launching that night.