This fourth year student from Agricultural Engineering has participated in the International Student Conference on Global Citizenship in Indonesia
In January, Alice Dien, an Agricultural Engineering student at the URV’s School of Chemical Engineering, joined nine other URV students to participate in the International Student Conference on Global Citizenship, organised by the Universitas Katolik Parahyangan (UNPAR) of Bandung (Indonesia). The conference theme this year was “Water, food and energy nexus: Striving for a better future” and it was held on the island of Bali.
- Tell us why you and your friends went to Bali…
The conference was attended by 86 students, mostly from Indonesia but also from other countries, including Japan, China, America, Denmark, Sweden, Korea… There were 24 different nationalities in total. The aim was to increase the participants’ understanding of the importance of promoting sustainable development in the face of the growth in the world’s population in recent years. The focus was on agriculture, which is the principal and most important nexus between water, food and energy. All the themes were discussed in seminars led by professors from various universities, such as Malmö (Sweden), James Madison (USA), UNPAR (Indonesia) and Flinders (Australia), and in debates between the conference participants and in group activities. We also visited different sites of interest such as the Subak Museum, where the irrigation system that waters Bali’s rice fields was explained to us. There is no other system like it in the world and it functions entirely naturally. We also visited the temples of Uluwatu and Ulun Danu Beratan, the Garuda Wisnu Kencana cultural park, and the village of BIRU (Biogas Rumah), which is known for using biogas to supply all of its energy needs.
- How did you find out that you had the chance of attending?
At the beginning of the academic year I received an email from the URV’s International Center which encouraged students to put themselves forward as candidates to attend the conference. Also, we were also able to apply for an I-networks grant to cover the costs of travel, accommodation and conference registration. When I saw this year’s conference theme and the assistance being offered, I put myself forward as a candidate straight away without a second thought and I was one of the ten people chosen to go.
- What have you most liked about this experience?
I wouldn’t be able to point to any one thing in particular because in all honesty it has all been perfect. My companions from the URV made the journey even more special because we all got on so well with each other. The organisers and the Indonesian participants were very kind to us, they helped us wherever they could and they made every effort to make it a well organised and unique experience. We have gained a global perspective of the nexus between water, food and energy that we have all been able to integrate into our studies. And it’s not just been about learning, we have had fun too, and all that in one of the most beautiful places in the world!
- What personal and academic benefits have you gained by participating in a meeting such as this?
On a personal level it has been a highly enriching experience. On the Agricultural Engineering degree we deal with all areas relating to waste management and evaluation, energy efficiency and water saving but we don’t get to see the impact that these things can have. The conference has given me a more global perspective of all these concepts and has helped me to understand the repercussions that the environmental decisions taken by one country can have on the rest of the world. I greatly admire people who dedicate their careers to finding ways of protecting the environment and slowing down climate change, even though there are still many people who don’t attach any importance to these issues because they are not aware of all the changes and problems they bring with them. I still don’t know in which particular direction I want to take my career, but I do know that whatever I do the environment and sustainability will always be at the forefront of my mind.