Reflections on the GOLD Programme

European Legal Studies student Satta Kamara, who was a Global Officer in 2021-22, writes about the experience of the GOLD Programme

Global Officer Satta Kamara

Being a Global Officer has allowed me to not only increase my intercultural capacity and cultural awareness, but also to work on my weaknesses and further develop my strengths. 

When I first came across the Gold programme and saw how being a Gold officer fell in line with my interests, I knew I had to apply.

During the programme, I had the opportunity to network among students with similar interests in increasing their intercultural capacity and to branch out and meet people I would not usually meet.

Global Collaborative Opportunities

I participated in the UCalgary Community Challenge, for example, which enabled me to meet students from various countries, such as Canada and Australia. This challenge consisted of my team and I being tasked with finding a way to reduce hate crimes in Calgary and promote racial and cultural harmony for the Pakistan Canada association.

Working in a cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary team helped me to refine my social adeptness, making it easier for me to take on and understand different perspectives on a single issue, and our ability to work well together on such a challenging task is demonstrated by how we made it to the finals.

Intercultural Engagement

I also became a team leader in the Intercultural Engagement Program project held by Kansai Gadai University during the GOLD Programme.

This online project included various projects and activities such as theme-based projects, language learning lessons, interest group discussions, etc that Kansai Gadai students took part in.

As a team leader, I had to manage some of the events/projects in this program with my team.

The bonus of this programme was that I also had the chance to take Japanese lessons and even put what I had learned into practice.

Training Workshops

Both of these experiences helped me to make connections with the GOLD Programme workshops that I went to, such as Talking Cultures and Introduction to Cultural Intelligence.

Being able to actively reflect on what I had learned in these workshops and to put them into practice in real time helped me to internalise everything had learned.

I can say this with surety as I am currently on a year abroad in the Netherlands and this programme made it easier for me to adapt to another country with ease.

My goals for my year abroad centred on making connections with people different than me and taking up experiences that were outside of my comfort zone, and I was able to do this.

For example, I joined YUFE which is a programme similar to GOLD, but it spans different universities. I have also even joined Latin and Dutch events to widen my cultural knowledge.

Benefits of the GOLD Programme

Being constantly surrounded by international students who are different from me has made this experience so much more worth it as it has shown me there is so much to learn from those with different life experiences from you.

I also hope to refine my Dutch and learn another language with the help of the friends I have met.

Moreover, I even still connect with those I met at the UCalgary Challenge and Kansai Gadai, and the things I have learned from them have even helped me to make connections with some I have met during my studies abroad.

One of the weaknesses I struggled with during university was pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and taking up leadership opportunities. I tended to lean towards experiences and social groups that I was used to.

But with GOLD, I was encouraged to tackle these weaknesses head on and to actively work on them which is why I have been so much more confident during my year abroad.

With graduation drawing closer, I can say that these experiences have helped me to be more sure of my direction for the future.

Global Ambitions

In combining my interest with making international connections and law, I am considering a career in international Arbitration (and anything that is similar). I am sure that I would be able to contribute much if I were to pursue a job in this field because intercultural awareness, social adeptness, and intelligence are useful skills to have.

I say this because these skills would make one stand out when working with different people from various countries in an environment where networking constantly occurs to resolve disputes.

I can say that without a doubt, the GOLD Programme has definitely helped change the course of goals for the better.