Look Today was a great learning day! The students and faculty from each country represented; Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the United States gave small presentations about homelessness and the marginalized populations in our respective countries and capitol cities.
The six of us divided into two small groups to give presentations on marginalized folks in Columbus and global human trafficking. Our first group knocked it out of the park. There was not a dry eye in the audience. They were really moved by the personal stories our students shared about the LGBTQ population, Black women, maternal mortality rates and Asian-American hate crimes. Our second group presented on Global Human Trafficking. We played a True/False game with the audience to present the information. I was really surprised to learn that the information we shared was new to many of the students. Some came up to us after to lecture and commented on how much they didn’t know about human trafficking.
What I really loved was how everyone was able to talk about their own countries’ circumstances and many times was often relatable to our own country. Our international peers are passionate about the goals they have to end homelessness just as much as we are passionate about helping our communities. It was interesting to see that even though some countries were working toward a solution for homelessness, they were still experiencing similar bumps along the way.
At the end of the day, we had a panel discussion to give the students the opportunity to ask the presenters follow up questions on topics presented. She had a discussion about what the correct term should be when talking about someone who uses drugs and substances: “drug user” versus “drug abuser” versus “someone who uses drugs”. The Finnish use the term “drug dependent” because they understand drug use in the context that the person is using drugs to survive rather than actively choosing to use drugs. The students feel like using a positive context is better rather giving the term a negative connotation. Someone mentioned the word rootlessness which I really liked because when someone doesn’t have a play to call their own, it is easy to see how one may feel disconnected to anyone or anything.
The SDGs I experienced today were goals 4 and 17 (quality education and partnerships for the goals, respectively). Our education was beyond the classroom which took us to other countries, whilst being in another country. The lecturers and students were well prepared with data and questions. It was a day of lectures unlike no other. For our partnership for the goals, the Finnish students actually mentioned SDGs 10 and 17 (reduce inequalities and partnerships for the goals) in their presentation. I thought it was neat that not only were they using the SDGs to reach their community at home, but the larger global community during the presentation today.
I really enjoyed experiencing a day of lectures today and I am looking forward to more days like today. How many students can truthfully say that?
xoxo Norway 22