Unite! Student Festival in Lisbon was packed with learning, community-building, and fun
From Aalto University, 20 students were chosen to participate based on their application. The bachelor, master and doctoral students came from all schools of Aalto.
While in Lisbon, students got to know each other via the Meet my Culture activity. They shared and enjoyed delicacies from all over Europe. Each partner university brought food from their country, and the room was abuzz with discussion and taste-testing.
Next, the friendly student mentors from the University of Lisboa led the students around six of Lisbon’s best vantage points. Each stop included stunning vistas, local information, and Portuguese treats.
After seeing the sights, all of the participants got down to business and engaged in intense and inspiring groupwork. They broke up into 13 teams and tackled challenges to help shape Unite! into an even stronger alliance. Topics included student engagement, inclusion, diversity and well-being, sustainability, and the university of the future.
"I gained hope from the collaboration among students from diverse European universities, who worked together to create impactful solutions for complex issues. This shows that addressing our greatest challenges, such as climate change and poverty, becomes more achievable when we leverage our differences, rather than allowing them to drive us towards an unsustainable future”, says Darman Bacha, an Economics student at Aalto.
The following day, all the students reconvened at the ULisboa Great Hall and pitched their innovative ideas to their fellow Uniters. Unite! administrative and academic staff also watched the presentations with great interest and awarded the top three teams with prizes and a promise to take their ideas into consideration.
After all the hard work, it was time to party. ULisboa arranged a lively arraial (a typical Portuguese party) for the ever-expanding Unite! community.
"I think the festival was a great opportunity to get to know fellow students from all over Europe. Discussions on how their student cultures vary from ours gave good perspective on the student life we live here in Finland. In general, it was also nice to meet new people and see Lisbon!", says Inka Viita, a bachelor student of Information Technology.