GRL students talk about their favourite courses
|Date:||13 March 2023|
What courses do you take as a GRL student? What has inspired you the most? Marjolein, Sakura and Mette talk about their favourite courses, what they learned from them, and how they apply the knowledge they have learned in everyday life.
Marjolein: Hi! I’m Marjolein Alberts, currently a second-year GRL student and I’m doing the Responsible Planet major. My favourite course so far was Climate Change: Land, Earth, and Water. I’m currently following the class so I don’t know if I will be as excited about it after completing the course as well ;).
The course focuses on the accelerating and diversifying effects of climate change, as well as the available adaptation strategies. Maarten Loonen, my professor, specializes in the Arctic, where climate change is most visible. While temperatures are rising worldwide, a phenomenon known as Arctic amplification means that the effects of climate change are felt most strongly in the Arctic. Therefore, the focus of this course is on the Arctic, where numerous tipping points have been identified and extensive changes, adaptations, and uncertainties have been studied and documented.
This is my favourite class because it covers and builds on information I already know from highschool Geography. I also like that we are focusing on climate change, which I am very interested in. This is extremely beneficial for my future career and the future in general. Lastly, I like how we always bring it back to the Arctic, which adds to the visual appeal. All of the Sustainable Development Goals are relevant to the course because if we don't act, climate change will impact all of them. However, the course focuses specifically on SDGs 13: Climate Action and 15: Life on Land, and it also makes connections to SDG 6: Clean Water. In my daily life, I try to improve myself a little bit every day. By educating myself on these topics, I become more knowledgeable and, more importantly, more motivated to take immediate action.
Sakura: My favourite course so far has been Key Political Thinkers from my major Responsible Governance. In a nutshell, the course touches upon key philosophers and thinkers who have made a great impact in history but also in today's society. In each class we got to know a new thinker; their lives, their philosophy, and their contributions to society. These include ancient philosophers from Plato and Kautiliya but also early modern figures such as Rousseau, Hobbes, and Locke. On the topic Freedom & Equality, anti-colonial thinkers and activists such as Fanon and Gandhi were also studied. The reason why it is my favourite course is that I have learned a variety of thinkers from different geographical areas and times in only one term and find it extremely interesting how their mentality shaped politics and their societies and how we think about the world in which we live in today. Further, my term paper was about whether Confucius’ philosophy can align with feminism. This was probably for me the most interesting paper I have written because I was able to analyze both philosophies and underline their similarities but also their contradictions. Now, as a student, I have the ability to think critically about these thinkers and also decolonize some aspects of their philosophy when taking today's context into account.
Mette: My favourite course so far has been Local Cultures and Global Commodities. I took this course last year as my first elective, and I am very glad I did. This course is part of the Culture track and builds upon language and culture. In this course, we took more of an anthropological perspective on several topics. The course was divided into three topics; mining, cocaine and trash. In each of these, we looked at the global commodity chain, and how these impact local cultures and inhabitants of the area. I found this course very interesting because we got a very different perspective than you would normally take and learn about how these big chains impact for example indigenous communities. In this course, we really learned how to question things that seem normal in the first place, and how to get yourself into another perspective to understand different sides of certain topics. We ended this course with an essay on one of the topics, this allowed us to dive even deeper into the topics we discussed. I was very interested in the cocaine chain, and how this impacts indigenous people, so writing my essay about this topic was very interesting. I find it very important to put myself into different perspectives in my day-to-day life, and this course helped me find ways how to do so. I think that being aware of what is happening in the world and being able to analyse it from different perspectives is very important, so I am very glad that this course could offer me that.