This post was written by Anna Hug.
A Journey with UGoveRN: An Extended Academic Experience and Meaningful Connection
(UvA RMUS Urban Lab Apprenticeship 2023)
Embarking on an academic apprenticeship last semester has been an enriching experience that will leave a sustainable mark on my personal and professional journey. Through engaging activities such as attending the University of Amsterdam’s Urban Planning Dialogue seminars and other (social) events, savouring the curated UGoveRN seminars created by members, cultivating a book club in the prospect of the international scholar invited as a guest to the International UGoveRN Networking Event, and co-organizing the excursion taking place at said event, I was granted insights into the intersection between academic and the practical world, embrace diversity within experience, and develop valuable connections within the UGoveRN community. In this blog post, I aim to share my reflections on these experiences and highlight the perceived transformative power of UGoveRN in fostering collaborative learning and interdisciplinary dialogue.
The Three Founders and the Power of Inspiration
UGoveRN owes its vibrancy on one hand to the engaged members and on the other, to the remarkable founders – Tuna, Sara, and Andre. In my opinion, their unwavering dedication and inspirational leadership shape UGoveRN into a thriving platform for knowledge production and dissemination. Their commitment to fostering an inclusive environment and meaningful connections has attracted a diverse range of members, resulting in a dynamic community that transcends disciplinary boundaries. The diversity of backgrounds is instrumental in shaping an open-minded and creative atmosphere, where mutual respect and solidarity are cherished.
Exploring the Nexus of Academia and the ‘Real’ World
One of the most captivating aspects of UGoveRN I found to be its ability and aspiration to connect academia with the ‘real’, i.e., applied, world. Through insightful and thought-provoking seminars and events, I was provided with the opportunity to delve into topics that explored the practical implications of academia and academic research, including its challenges. The inter- and multidisciplinary nature of the members fostered captivating discussions, bringing together various perspectives, and expanding my horizon.
An Excursion to Remember
The culmination of my apprenticeship journey with UGoveRN was an unforgettable excursion as part of the International UGoveRN Networking Event. From the careful preparation and organization to the thrilling anticipation, every step of the process was an opportunity for growth. This hands-on experience not only solidified knowledge gained throughout the semester – pertinent to my further master’s thesis trajectory – but also instilled in me a sense of pride in our shared accomplishments.
The Value of Networking and Discussions
My experience also underscored the significance of networking and active participation in academic circles. The platform provides numerous opportunities to interact with scholars and experts, resulting in a network of valuable connections. The energy and enthusiasm that filled the air during meetings and discussions were contagious, igniting a spirit of creativity and co-creation. It was invigorating to witness the exchange of ideas and made me realize the power and innovative potential that lies within collaboration.
Looking back on my academic apprenticeship with UGoveRN, I am filled with gratitude for the exceptional experiences and valuable insights it has granted me. Each moment has contributed to an extensive learning journey that transcends the boundaries of academia and it profoundly shaped my perspective, fostering personal and intellectual growth. UGoveRN is more than just an academic platform; it is a community that energizes, inspires, and empowers. I am truly fortunate to be part of this transformative experience.