We Meet to Part, then We Part to Meet Again

We Meet to Part, then We Part to Meet Again

The last day of my internship, after saying goodbye to colleagues and friends in the institute, I took a breath and sat down at my desk. It was already 6 pm and the library room where interns worked was empty. I carefully drafted my final communication emails to program providers in Timor-Leste and filed all the documents I had been working on for the past two months. When I walked outside of the institute, I took the last look at the historical building and the Chinese garden across from the street. Funny that the same scenery I saw every day would only appear again in my memory.

My internship here was really inspirational and rewarding. I have learned so much about adult education and lifelong learning, various approaches to improving adult literacy and basic skills (library learning, family learning, inter-generational approach, etc.). I have discovered how differently China and the international community perceived literacy. I have met and learned from professionals who are passionate about education and learning. One of the nice surprises was that I met a Chinese trainee whom I encountered three years ago in my college at a training camp for young people to pursue careers in international organizations. We were both thrilled to see each other in the institute and exited to realize how small the world was. My colleague said that it was exactly like the saying “we meet to part, then we part to meet again”.

And I think this also applies to me and my friends of my program. Half of us is going to graduate after the internship and pursue careers in the development field. We met because we had the same passion and we part to achieve our dreams. I feel we will end up meeting again, for the same passion we have.

Facing History

Facing History

When people asked me “why Germany”, I answered, “history”. The history of Otto von Bismarck, the history of classical music, and the history of the Second World War. During my internship, I was able to travel to a few places to feel a history that is never far from us.

Prague and Vltava River. There are so many reasons to visit Prague, the ancient history, the war, the music (birthplace of Smetana and Dvořák), the influence of Soviet Union, the Prague Spring. The river was probably my major motivation to visit Czech Republic.  The music piece Vltava, written by Czech composer Smetana, is so beautiful and played everywhere in the city.

 

The manuscript of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (my favorite piece) in the Prague Castle.

Humboldt-Universität of Berlin. On the wall of the main building, a quote from Karl Marx, “philosophy is not about interpreting the world but changing the world.” There are photos of Nobel Prize winners who are Humboldt graduates or faculties in the hallway.

The Berlin Wall.

The stumbling stone(Stolperstein) of Jewish victims in the Second World War. On the brass stone stated the name and the date of each individual Jewish resident who was caught from their home to the concentration camp. These stones could be seen in many places in Europe including the cities I visited, Hamburg, Berlin, Heidelberg, Prague, Salzburg, and Vienna. This is still an ongoing project to remember the victims.

St. Nikolai Memorial in Hamburg. The 1943 Bombing of Hamburg is a major turning point of the war. My landlady’s grandfather died from the exact bombing.

The Philosopher’s Walk in Heidelberg where Goethe, Max Weber, Hegel were inspired through their walking.

The featured image of this blog entries are four old post cards I bought from a flea market near the place I live in Hamburg. There were collected by an old couple from 19th century (some of the postcards were owned by their parents). There were stories of the First World War, the Second World War, the Cold War, behind each postcard. When I touch these cards, I feel that history is right in front of me.

I Know that I Know Nothing

I Know that I Know Nothing

“I know that I know nothing.” Even though there is no accurate proof that Socrates said this exact sentence, I still would like to use this as the title of this blog entry. I thought I knew how to write case studies. I thought I knew how literacy works. I thought I knew the country I grow up in. But after this week, I realize I know so much less than what I think I know. Continue reading “I Know that I Know Nothing”