So, after handing in my stock assessment assignment this past Monday, it was nice to get back into the routine of regular class hours. Tuesday’s lecture was devoted to an overview of the stock assessment. Our professor prepared a PowerPoint filled with all the graphs we should have been able to create and add to the report, as well as what conclusions we should have drawn from their interpretation. Sadly, about half way through the presentation, I realized my graphs began to deviate from what was being shown. I was slightly alarmed…until I looked around the class and recognized that same alarm chiseled into the expressions of all my fellow classmates.
However, the climax of the week came on Friday. Weeks ago, our professor had sent out an email explaining that we would be having a round table debate about issues presented in the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy. At the bottom of his email he listed seven stakeholder groups; industry, large scale fisheries, small scale fisheries, green peace, aquaculture, and scientists. Beside each stakeholder group was a list of three to four student names, indicating which group everyone belonged to. Thus, everyone’s argument depended on which stakeholder group they were representing. I was grateful to see my name listed beside the scientist stakeholder group…since I pretty much have opinions regarding all aspects of the fishing industry, AND scientific evidence is always my weapon of choice. Overall, the debate was surprisingly good. All groups had valid points to argue, and everyone was given appropriate opportunities to speak.
Once again, this represents one of the many practical reasons of why I decided to come to Sweden to study for a year. I think it is advantageous for me to grow my debate skills while completing my undergrad, instead of sometime later in my academic career. I think doing science is only half of the battle. Being able to persuade others because of what your science shows is equally important.
Moving away from the academic world, I filled several of my evenings this past week attending Lucia events. Lucia, from what I gather, is a strong tradition amongst all Swedes. I first experienced it in Lund’s central cathedral downtown, a grand old building dating back to 1085. Lucia was performed by a large choir comprised of a mixture of young children to young adults likely no older than 16. The girls were all dressed in white gowns with red ribbons wrapped around their waists, while the boys wore black slacks with white shirts. All the choir singers held candles as they sang for us at the front of the church. Many of the songs were in Swedish, but were beautiful and enjoyable nonetheless. The event in its entirety is about darkness and light, cold and warmth, which I suppose makes sense since the Swedish winters can be long, dark, and cold, making it important to celebrate light and warmth.
Sadly, with the holidays coming, it means I am having to say my goodbyes to some of the other international students who I have met here in Lund who will not be returning for the upcoming semester. This past Saturday night was a farewell party to my good German friend Stefan. The party was great, and although it was sad to say my farewell, it was amazing to say “see you in Berlin”.
As for my holidays plans, I’ve been trying to listen to those quiet murmurings coming from the depths of my right and left atria…umm, I mean, my heart. I’m happy to say that I went ahead and booked a flight to Italy, Milan to be exact, and will be taking the train South to Faenza, which is where I will be meeting a past roommate who also happens to be a U of T alumni. Hopefully I’ll have some good stories to share come January.
Until then, lots of love and holiday cheer being sent your way,