N K ASHOKBHARAN

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Archive for December, 2008

Italy – a dreamland….!

Posted by nkashokbharan on December 27, 2008

flag of italiaThough my purpose of travel was to attend the World School Forum, I had a nice visit around Italy which was amazing and truly exciting. I used to wonder why William Shakespeare has used many Italian cities in his plays, I used to wonder what made that brilliant play-write to chose the Italian cities when there were many others, but ultimately this around Italy in 4 days made me understand why.

The conference was in Busto Arsizio – it was near Milano (Milan) or in Milano (I am confused), Milano as we have heard is a city of fashion, I saw thousands and thousands of fashion stores though most of them were above the capacity of my pocket to pay! ;-). It is a very nice city and very modern in comparison to other sites in Italy. Apart from the Milano city we went on a field trip to Stresa lake in Verbania, what a place that was, the beauty of the lake and surroundings were amazing, no words to explain (may be because I am not Shakespeare).
From Milano my first take off (not really by plane but by train!) was to Veniezia (Venice) – I used to wonder how a city can be in middle of water, I mean without roads but water as alternate. Oh! It was very beautiful or think of a word which is more than beautiful. It is a wonderland, a floating city, It was really exciting to travel around venice for 45 minutes. Buses were boats, Police vehicles were boats, ambulances were boats every thing to travel were boats…. boats everywhere in different sizes and styles, especially the traditional Gondola boats – now only used for tourists looks amazing! The buildings and structures we very exciting and mind blowing, especially the traditional masks were wonderful!
From Venice the next destination was Firenze (Florence) – it was night when we reached Florence and Florence at night was so beautiful. The city was like an Angel with stars glooming in night. It was really gorgeous. The amazing structures and buildings were so beautiful and in night they were glooming in light. Especially the Ponte Vecchio – The Bridge over the river was glooming in lights! I was really amazed to see the huge buildings, churches, palace and bridges! Great city, very ancient looking!
Then after the night stay at Firenze the next travel was to Pisa. Pisa – we remember the leaning tower of Pisa when hearing it! Yes! a wonderful city in Tuscany. The main attraction in Pisa is the Piazza Dei Miracoli – it is the cathedral with the leaning bell tower and the baptistery. The leaning tower was beautiful, though it was under renovation at the time I visited. The Cathedral was very beautiful. I was happy that I saw a World Wonder through my eyes – DIRECTLY!
Next was the ultimate destination – ROMA (Rome)! Very ancient, majestic city it is! We travelled around by the sightseeing bus service for tourists. What would be the main attraction – obviously it was one of the World Wonders – THE COLOSSEUM! Since the roads to the Colosseum were under renovation it was a fifteen minutes walk for me to the Colosseum, it was Majestic! What a structure it is! Then visited a few more sites like the Pantheon, Forum Romanum, Vittorio Emanuele Monument had a view of the Roma Castle and traveled through the roads of Rome to see the exciting ancient architecture and last but not least had a look at the Vatican City too, though didn’t have a walk around!
All these just in 4 Days! – including travelling back to Milano from Rome to catch the flight to Sri Lanka – was really hurrying.
I wish I had more time in Italy – but pledged to visit Italy again one day to enjoy the beauty totally – without a hurry!

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World School Forum 2008 – Italy

Posted by nkashokbharan on December 27, 2008

WSF’ 08!

What a wonderful experience it was! Still the feel is not dead… still the passion is not gone, Oh! What an experience was that!

[pic : the wsf’08]
World School Forum 2008 at Busto Arsizio, Italy! I was one of the 4 member delegates from Sri Lanka representating Royal College. There were totally 21 delegation groups from 21 schools in 21 different countries. It wasn’t actually like a conference but a REAL WORLD SCHOOL! – a school of students from all over the world.
The main topics for discussion & debates were
Food Miles
GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) &
Human Water Use.
Under the theme ‘Where We Stand Together’ the Forum started with joyful faces. It was really exciting to meet different people from different parts of the world, speaking different languages & with different traditions & culture, yet ‘We Stand Together’!!!
Though we discussed, analyzed and debated on very serious issues, there was no limit for fun also, all enjoyed for the maximum! We went on small trips, sight seeing, time spending, and even visited malls, enjoyed in pubs (oops! not liqour though….), went bowling, visited factories and even played a number of fun games. Seriously it was serious yet with fun!
[pic : joy filled faces]
In the start we had introduction presentations, those are to introduce our country and school, It was great I got to know a bit deeper & closer about various countries and culture.
[pic : at the intro presentation]
Then the exhibition stalls were also amazing, It was really a great experience, we shared something about our countries and schools in that exhibition.
[pic : at our exhibition stall]
Visiting the Mayor of Busto Arsizio was exciting, He was very friendly and funny, I never expected the mayor to be so friendly with everyone!
[pic : with the mayor]
The highlight of the forum is the 4 day home stay. Each of us stay in one of our host’s house. That was a great experience. Well my Host was the president of the student community of the Italian host school ITC Enrico Tosi. Gianluca – (my friend now!) he was my host, I stayed at his house, wow it was a great experience, because except for Gianluca, his elder brother Franceso and his girlfriend no one else in that house knows English, and my Italian was limited to few words like Ciao, Grazie, Prego, Scouza, Come stai?, bene, & molto bella. Anyways it was interesting, I managed with actions, signals, and at times with a smile! 🙂
Now the main part of the forum – the debates & discussion, It was exciting, I chose the topic ‘Human Water Use’ and for some good luck the Region of Lombardia (It is one of the states of Italy) Council chose our topic to be debated in the council room! Because they were also debating on the same issue in the council and they wanted to know different views. I was debating on Supporting Water Privatization! – and luckily or may be due to my Economical perspective debate the jury pannel which included the Chairman (Chief Minister) of Lombardia Region and some members of the council and a Director from the UN’s FAO appreciated my speech and gave an extra credit to that, for which I am always thankful to them.!
[pic : at the debate at the council room ]
But after the strong debates and discussions, what we understood is massive and hard to explain, because apart from the facts and points, what we have learnt is rather a feeling than theories. Theories are put up everywhere, but how many of us have the feel to implement them or atleast follow them? – this is the question arose in me after the debates, though I won the spell battle with logic and theories, what is the ultimate sollution available unless there is a practical action taken up?
It was exciting, and useful also, I was atleast enlightened about how the world is and where am I…. and also gave me the wisdom to think about the World before thinking about yourself.
It is an unforgetable experience. I would like to be there once again, but I know I will not have the same again. But what ever I have learnt from there is unforgetable for the whole of my life!
Atlast the final farewell dinner – a dinner with tears, because we didn’t move around with each other like delegates or representatives from different countries but we were like best friends and even more like a family! – The farewell was hard… too hard!
I think everyone should have such an experience in life – because ‘life is short – live it’!

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