When I started a master course as international student in Coventry I was quite excited about the countless opportunities for volunteering, freelancing, participating in different societies, projects inside and outside the university. Often one can hear “think how good this will look in your CV” and often the curiosity and thirst for learning are limitless, but to be honest, involvement goes further than that and has deeper meaning. The Arts Gymnasium had me from the first few words of the project description and I knew almost instantly that I want to be part of it. I could feel it! Now, couple weeks after I joined, this experience already has become the one I share most enthusiastically with my friends and relatives.
Why? The Arts Gymnasium has impact on different spheres of my life and I will try briefly to highlight the most important ones.
- PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
Definitely, the opportunity to become part of significant socially engaged project feels like a milestone in my experience in the university, one I am most proud of so far. People are always saying “Do what you love to do!” and here I am, nervously sharing my printed pictures, talking about the stories captured from my camera. After few meetings with the group and couple workshops with the participants in the theatre, I become aware that ‘professional’ means also commitment, reliability, dedication.
- COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE
I have been listening how important group work is quite a lot since I started to study here and, full disclosure, I do not feel that collectiveness so intensively in my group activities in class. However, the people I met thanks to DMLL completely changed my mind and attitude to team work. For the first time, I feel part of collaboration where we all share our thoughts and ideas and build them up together; I feel part of devoted collective.
- ANXIETY vs. BELONGING
This sense of belonging has been extended in the theatre group as well. I clearly remember how nervous I was before our first meeting, walking and thinking how I am going to engage, what they are going to think about me being there, do we even have something in common to share… ?! What happened next is that I was introduced to a group of friendly people who shared many interesting facts and views and we had great time together, thanks to the lovely atmosphere created by Alice and Nathalie.
It is quite amazing how my anxiety was so easily replaced by the feeling that I was part of this project for a long time. And I cannot help the excitement of the upcoming sessions as it feels like I am meeting some old friends of mine…
- THE BRIDGE
What I truly appreciate about this opportunity is the chance for me as international student to meet and communicate with local people, as well as the bridge between our generations we are creating together. I hope my participation and contribution to be as important and valuable as it is for me to be part of this project. Everyone involved in The Arts Gymnasium – students, participants, DMLL, the workshops leaders – are genuine inspiration for me and my further personal and career development.