In conclusion, I would like to express my utmost enjoyment and most relieved expression that the trip was a total success and everything went off without a hitch. The final day of presentations were splendid, it was most intriguing to see that each of the nine groups pulled off a presentation within the two week time-frame that was worthy of more praise than they all received, especially considering the amount of time and pressure constraints we endured daily as the bulk of work was undertaken late at night during weekdays. While an unfortunate technical error held back one or two groups from presenting their full presentation, we succeeded in completing all set work by 4.30 Monday afternoon.
Looking back over the study tour I now have a different perspective in my arsenal when addressing planning in both urban and rural aspects. Contrasting amongst Australia, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, different growth patterns are clearly visible in relation to history, heritage, space, economy and culture amongst the many views that constitute how a city is to function and ultimately develop. This comparative thinking will further be tested, in my case and those who will continue to travel to other parts of Europe as comparisons, when it comes down to analytical thinking and observation beyond the face of the cities themselves.
Arriving at the conclusion and perspectives collaborated for the final presentation on Sheffield; it would have been incredibly difficult to reach a verdict without access to Sheffield’s personal archives (through the library and council portals) or site visits and interaction with local residents who all have an incredibly interesting and detrimental story to share in relation to Sheffield’s distinctive past. Any overseas trip is a radical experience in itself, while anticipating an enjoyable trouble free transition, it is sometimes through the hardship and challenges that one truly understands the emotions and hurdles that residents of a country are under in their own lives. Being lost in any country is a scary prospect, but most would want to be lost in a country with a strong English presence if one is English speaking, compared to being lost in a foreign country where English is not within the ranks of languages spoken natively. However, it is an experience to be lost in the latter situation, when in a foreign country; you’re the tourist, you understand and see things differently to those who witness locations and spaces every day.
For future students: these study trips are highly recommended and worthwhile. Always be aware of all your belongings, there were cases of forgotten luggage, baggage mix up and a stolen wallet. It’s rare but can undoubtedly happen to anyone, always double check you’ve got everything… twice. Don’t flash your wallet too much, or you’ll get plenty of attention from over friendly locals who all of a sudden desperately need change for a coffee… happened three times during the last day of the trip when I was in most of a rush to ensure I’m at the train on time. While these are all self-explanatory tips, it is one of the worst things that could happen abroad, losing personal identification articles, money or personal health. Always recuperate after a heavy meal from the night before, or different spices that might not sit well with your digestive system.
All the aforementioned things are overlooked though; it’s the experience that counts. If you were to travel alone, it comes down to personal preparation and awareness at all times to get you by, but when you’re on a trip with 40 or so colleagues, it’s much easier to be on time to places when everyone looks out for one another and they all get along. Not to forget; an incredibly good trip thanks to all those who joined me in this experience, looking forward to the next one!
Thanks to everyone for making this trip with me, thanks to the staff for making it possible and to those welcoming us in the UK and of course all my friends, it was well past my expectation and one of the most enjoyable and memorable moments ever. Until next time…
- Phineas Istratoaie (Bachelor of Urban, Rural and Environmental Planning)