How time flies! What a wonderful moment I have, spending time with excellent course friends and excellent lecturers in IHS (Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies). It’s been two weeks, but it feels like yesterday that we all met. I should write about this to be a remembrance, even though words cannot tell every detail.
The course is named International Course on Housing and Urban Development, so you can expect that the participants of this course come from diverse developing countries; Bangladesh, Bhutan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Zambia. There are 18 of us and I am the only one from Indonesia. Meeting and learning together with professionals from all around the world is such a privilege! They all have a lot of experience in their field, mostly related to urban management, and this course is the room for exchanging and enriching knowledge.
Last week we had a professional briefing in which each of us informed each other about our profession and responsibilities at work in relation to urban management in our own countries. I was utterly astonished to know what great professionals all of my coursemates are in their field. Some of them are directors of their institutions; some are professional lecturers; some are managers; and one of them a professor! It is great to be part of excellent people like them.
In the professional briefing, I was in a group work with a lecturer from Ethiopia and a professor from India. We discussed so many things about urban issues in our countries and we ended up with conclusion that our countries face similar urban issues; high level of urbanization leading to lack of infrastructure and services, driving to many economic, social, environmental, and political problems. Urban planners basically have to deal with all those problems and that’s not an easy task!
As we come from different countries and different profession, it is very interesting to see the differences in terms of point of view, ideas, and style. Knowledge and experiences that all participants have and share does create color and fragrance to the course. Moreover, this course is conducted and guided by excellent lecturers who have a lot of experience and knowledge in their field, and have been engaging in many researches on urban management in developing countries. Therefore, both the participants and the lecturers have the same language and understanding on the topics we’ve been discussing in the class.
For almost two weeks, what a wonderful time we had; discussing, laughing, having lunch, taking pictures, catching trams, touring the city center, and many more. I am really hoping that this friendship will last forever, even when we are going back to our own countries. The course schedule was strict, but we still could enjoy life anyway. We normally start the course at 9 am (in this winter time, 9 am is still dark!) and finish at 5 pm. Tomorrow will be the last day we are all in the same class, as in the following weeks we’ll mix with master degree students doing specialization.
Having enjoyed these two weeks, I come to the conclusion that friend is the wealth forever! It really is!