Hello and welcome back to posts from the land of Wales! After 5 weeks, 4 countries, 6 flights, a trip to China and a weekend in London, I’ve managed to get myself back here to Cardiff to start the run up to exams, and enjoy the last month of my university experience!
Last time I posted to you I had completed my horrendous 36 hour journey back from China, and was staying at home for a week to recover and recharge. I also took the opportunity of being at home to catch up with a few school mates and some family, to hear about what they’ve been up to recently, and give them a short recount of my adventures over in China. The stories which seemed to go down the best from my trip to China were the comment my teacher made to me as having ‘giant eyes’, my experience of having to buy a XXXL coat (as China does not really cater for anyone over the height of 5’1), and the teacher having to leave the class howling with laughter after the ‘Qing Wen’ incident! I also put a scrap book together of all the tickets, receipts and tokens I collected out in China to help me keep the wonderful memories alive as long as possible. Unfortunately I also had to get my head back into ‘work mode’ when I was back at home as deadlines for my dissertation and essays are looming. This week I’ve spent most of my time and energy restructuring and redrafting my dissertation. Whist my dissertation tutor enjoyed reading my first draft of my dissertation, he thought it could do with restructuring in order to ensure that as much argumentation of ideas was included as possible. This hasn’t been an easy task as I poured hours of time and effort into writing the first draft, but I know in the end it will all be worth it as I now know I’ve produced a much better quality piece of work.
To refresh your memory, I’m writing my dissertation on the ethics of payday loans, whilst also putting their advertising campaigns under scrutiny. I believe that payday loan companies such as ‘Quick Quid’ and ‘Wonga.com’ exploit people not only with the extortionate rate of interest they charge for their loans, but the strategies they employ to get people to borrow money from them. I’m working to present a case to show these companies operate an unethical and morally wrong service in a philosophical and humanitarian light. Thankfully I’ve come to the end of the restructuring process, so now I’m just making small corrections and proof reading it, before I book it in to be bound, and then giving it in! (Eeek, how scary is that?!)
So after a few days of intense work on my dissertation I headed down to London for my training weekend to prepare me for my next adventure to Tanzania. As I’ve told you before, I’m heading out to Tanzania for 3 months to work as part as a voluntary project in order to reduce poverty and improve the lives of people out there. This is all part of a big umbrella scheme run by the ICS (International Citizen Service) and a various charities working on behalf of the ICS to try and reduce worldwide poverty, and try to reach the Millennium Development Goals set up 2000. The particular charity I’m working with is called ‘Raleigh International’ and they’ve already taught me so much before I’ve even got to Tanzania! Raleigh don’t just want their projects to consist of a bunch of young British people to walk into a country and think they know what is best for a community and what the best plan of action is. Raleigh want young enthusiastic, hard working and most importantly open minded young people to respectfully approach another culture, and ask what they think is best for their culture in terms of implemented change. After meetings, reviews and consultations the British volunteers will then work with an equal number of Tanzanian volunteers to achieve the goal. During the project, the volunteers are expected to learn some of the language, engage with the cultural traditions and practices, and live among the community they are staying in, even if this does mean having no proper bed, running water or electricity. After the building work is done, many review processes are necessary, and then an ‘action at home’ project, whereby each volunteer comes back and shares what they have experienced and learned. So at this weekend in London I was bombarded with lots of information all about Tanzania, it’s people, it’s culture, and an idea of some of the work we’ll most likely be doing out there. I haven’t got the time or space to go into more detail now, but I’ll post another blog explaining a little more soon.
After that tiring weekend, I went home, grabbed my stuff, and headed back to Cardiff where I’m set to finish off my degree in the next 4 weeks. My course mates and I have got a lot of work and revision to do and not much time to do it in, but we’re all very much looking forward to finishing off our studies, and heading on to new paths in our lives. The next few weeks are going to be pretty stressful and at times a bit emotional, but if you work hard and try your best, then that’s all anyone can ever ask of you.
I’ll post to you next Sunday and tell you about the grueling work days that everyone is putting in, a little more about my volunteering with Raleigh, and my feelings towards being so close to finishing a three year degree! I’ll also tell you about ‘Varsity’ which is the biggest sporting event in Cardiff University’s calendar (which is going on this Wednesday), so tune in on Sunday!