So, you have a general grasp of what Global Grad entails. At the same time as getting your degree or another qualification, you are getting to see and experience another amazing part of the world. You know you will be gone for weeks and weeks so you can immerse yourself in diverse cultures. But what about the day to day activities? While no two days are the same with Global Grad, here’s what you could be doing:
If you’re going to travel, be it nearby countries or around the world, you have to go and see what there is! Whether it is a destination you’ve always dreamed to see, somewhere that looked cool on a blog you read before the semester or you’ve stumbled across a hidden gem, you’ll be able to find some awe-inspiring spaces to inspire you…or to be your newest photo on your Instagram.
At some point during your travels, you will have to put the ‘Grad’ into ‘Global Grad’, and you won’t be able to finish your course if you don’t start it! Don’t worry; you can easily access study hubs with high-speed WiFi, access to printers and they are conveniently located. You don’t need to study here however; with so many cute cafés or sightseeing spaces to sit and study in, why not explore and get your assignments done together?
Global Grad is all for giving back to the communities that students are staying in, and one way of doing this doing some volunteering work while in each of the locations. Some connections have been made beforehand by Global Grad, but you are totally free to find your own work to do. Whatever your interest is in- education, environment, animals- you should be able to find something that you will enjoy while also benefitting others.
INTERACTING WITH LOCALS
One experience during my South East Asia January 2019 experience where I got to hang around with locals was actually during a volunteering events. In Kuala Lumpur, we did a walk for Malaysia Food Bank. Nobody expected for there to be tourists there so many people came to ask us questions and get selfies. We even featured in a local newspaper! We got to interact with Malaysians from many walks of life, including a group of Martial Artists, the volunteering team and walkers ranging from toddlers to men in their eighties.
EXPERIENCING THE CULTURE
One of our stops during the second road trip was a home stay with a local couple. While there, they introduced us to many parts of the local culture, from the dress, games and food. The couple were very welcoming and gave abundances of answers to our questions. They introduced us to the long game of congkak which we continued to play in Kuala Lumpur since the hostel provided a board. After an early morning canoe, we were taken on a walk where we learnt about the local plants and their healing abilities, so came out of the homestay much more knowledgeable than we entered.
PARTAKING IN FESTIVALS
Festivals are a huge part of culture! These can range from traditional to much more adrenaline-fuelled. Take Songkran, for instance. Have you ever spent your New Years’ engulfed in a water fight, battling against children, the elderly and fellow tourists? In Thailand, you can do just that during Songkran!
One of our Fresher’s activities was taking part in a Muay Thai class. This Thai Martial Art was used to defend elephant’s legs during war and uses an array of elbows and knees. If you want to stick to your traditional sports, then there are plenty of opportunities. During our January 2019 semester, there was a running group who did their own runs as well as parkrun and many of us signed up to a gym in Vietnam as it was conveniently located above our study hub.
Fussy eaters shouldn’t have too many worries as nowhere is extremely remote. Western food is easy to get so you can always eat some homely delicacies if you’re feeling homesick. But you’re abroad, why not delve into the local foods? It’ll be easy to find some local dishes; just go for a walk around or check online! You never know- you may find your new favourite food while out there!
In summary, with Global Grad, you have the flexibility to make the day how you want it to. The road trips have more set itineraries but in each of the study locations you have plenty of freedom to try a bit of everything when you wish to. So, while it is impossible to say what a typical day of Global Grad is like, there are plenty of options on how you can curate your own time during the semester.
About the author
Jasmin Dawling is one of Global Grad’s January 2019 students and is completing a full-time Bachelor’s degree with the Open University in International Studies. While this is her first time formally blogging, she has had plenty of writing experience in the past, from novel writing since the age of six to working on the school newspaper. Apart from seeing the sights of South East Asia and working on her degree, Jasmin spends most of her time either procrastinating or writing down her novel ideas, be it on her travelling-inspired new ideas or the 7-part series she’s been toying with for almost ten years.