Volunteering at London Pride 2013

London Pride was an amazing and colorful experience. Pride's theme of this year was dedicated to ‘Love (and Marriage)' to celebrate the positive steps towards equal marriage in the UK, as well as in various countries around the world. More than fifty events have been taking place throughout June and July as part of the Pride in London festival.

My role as volunteer involved insuring the parade ran smoothly, to enchant the audience and give information out to those who asked. Volunteers were given a t-shirt & a badge, and we were divided into groups of 5 or 6 people with a senior steward leading each one.

The parade started at 1.00pm and went along Oxford Street to Oxford Circus, moved down Regent Street and along Pall Mall, then to Trafalgar Square and finally ended in Whitehall at around 4.00pm. Over 150 groups had registered to take part in the parade, and many organizations joined the event as well.

After the parade, people than moved to Trafalgar Square where there was a big stage and different artists were performing. Soho soon became full of people having food and drinks. The after party took place in many venues around London and it was a great time to meet new people and celebrate Pride together.

Greenpeace for a Better World

Coming to London for the first time, chances are you'll have bumped into one of the numerous volunteers found on the major streets in Greater London. They are generally trying to raise money, probably to support a non-profit organisation such as Greenpeace.

Greenpeace is an independent institution aimed at promoting a better understanding of current threats to nature and a more responsible maintenance of the world. Founded in 1971 by a small group of activists, it has now spread around more than forty countries around the globe.

In this century where profit leads most people's actions, it is crucial to raise awareness about environmental issues such as global warming, the importance of recycling and the need for a greener economy.

Greenpeace's campaigns have always had a huge impact on social and political changes by fostering a more responsible way of thinking. The actions have many forms- from investigating and exposing environmental abuse, to lobbying governments and decision makers, to championing environmental responsibility.

The Under-Valuation of International Students in the UK

In a recent article on the Guardian's website titled: "UK universities failing to bridge culture gap for foreign students", Diane Schmitt criticises the admissions process at most British universities. She argues that universities in the UK often find their international students not "good enough" to start their careers in the academic institution they have chosen.

Schmitt argues that many foreign students are unable to adapt to the new academic system and to understand how things should be done in the UK. This sense of loss of comprehension among scholars is well represented in the image used on the Guardian's website to support the article. A group of international students are photographed attending a lecture, presumably at a university in the UK, and denote a sense of discomfort and being lost. However, who should be blamed for this uncomfortable situation of "being below the standards"?

According to the author of the article it is the centralised admission system which should pay more attention to the backgrounds of international students, rather then "just" considering their English exams, CVs, personal statements and letters of recommendations.

Learning from London and its Multiculturalism

Giacomo Tirelli is an Italian student in his first year at Goldsmiths University in London. Here he explains  why he chose to study in London and why he's learning from the city all the time:

Differences are what make the world a unique place, and it is within these disparities that citizens are likely to learn more about themselves and the people around them. Some cities offer the opportunity to live in this stimulating environment more than others. London is well known for its multiculturalism and its uniqueness.

Here, people willing to broaden their minds are able to share their experiences and backgrounds. In this setting, the ‘others', as the media often relate to them, become ‘us', and the idea of a unity and community develops among people, even if dissimilar from one another. Therefore, religion, skin-colour, ideology, cultural background, sexuality become secondary priorities in choosing your friends.

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