Why I recommend GOLD5000 as an elective module

By Sorrel Wilson

When I chose GOLD5000 to be my wild module, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting myself into. Unlike other modules, it does not have a typical structure or one-size-fits-all approach. It is truly what you make it; it is abundant with opportunities to get involved with. These include virtual events, on-campus events, social media management, blogging and university-led festivals. The ability to get involved with the stuff that you are passionate about eliminates the tediousness of other modules, whilst also providing opportunities for collaboration and making friends. It allows you to be flexible with the workload you choose to take on, which was extremely useful for me this term (I had four deadlines in one week!).

I chose to do the GOLD programme as my wild module during my second year. As a Wildlife Conservation student, this module may seem like quite a random choice. However, cultural intelligence and internationalism are very important components of the conservation world. No culture or country will be immune from the effects of climate change and global warming, thus adopting a sense of global citizenship is key to achieving the big and often overwhelming goals of the conservation community. I imagine that as globalisation continues, and as many industries adopt ‘virtual working’ methods, knowing how to communicate with people of other cultures will become increasingly important for other sectors too.

My favourite GOLD session thus far has been the one on Cultural Intelligence (CQ), which is one’s capability to function effectively in a variety of cultural contexts. In the session, we explored the various aspects of CQ and broke into discussion groups to chat about our strengths and weaknesses. Having the prompts allowed me to ponder on and verbalise things that I have given great thought to, but only ever on an unconscious level. Interacting with and learning from people of other cultures has always been something that I have enjoyed and viewed as a privilege. Studying in London and doing a couple of volunteer projects abroad has given me opportunities to develop my CQ, but I never realised there was a term for it. After the session, I find myself constantly using the term ‘Cultural Intelligence’ and often reflect on the stuff I learnt that day.

One of the best things about the GOLD sessions are the break-out discussions which allow you to chat with other students who you would otherwise likely never meet. Everyone who attends has one thing in common; they are all interested in multiculturalism in some way. It is nice to be in a space where you know everyone has this shared value, especially in a time where extreme patriotism and individualism seem to be so prevalent. A lot of the students are also international, which allows for a lot of interesting personal experiences and comparisons. The discussions are always light-hearted and fun, yet thought-provoking.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the GOLD programme this term and would strongly recommend it to anyone. The skills that you gain are applicable to almost every industry, and the atmosphere of the sessions exceeded my expectations. It doesn’t feel like another tiresome module that you are trudging through to get your degree, but rather a breath of fresh air that you are relieved to see on your timetable. The module leaders provide countless opportunities to get involved in and are keen to support any ideas that you have. Whether you want to become more employable, or are truly passionate about seeing a more multicultural world, the GOLD programme is an enjoyable and impactful module that you won’t regret choosing!