For the past few weeks the International Reception Committee at Chalmers (known as CIRC), has been hiring and looking for new members, to take over for the year 2014. I personally, admire the effort and work they have put in to make international students feel at home, and therefore was quick to sign-up for it.
Coming into a new system of education, culture and lifestyle is always a challenge and different people cope-up with it in different ways. As a new student my-self, a few months ago, the feeling of having someone to turn to in case of trouble was a great cushion and helped me with my transition abroad. When I reached Gothenburg after a pain staking 20 hour long flight, I felt like blowing my brains out when I learnt that my luggage was still in Stockholm !! It is a tough spot to be in if you do not know Swedish and your mind is not quite in the right place because of the fatigue. But thankfully one of the CIRC members helped me out and I got my luggage the next day! Moreover, through the reception committee’s page on facebook you can connect to the students in your batch even before meeting them. I was already in touch with a couple of my class mates before leaving Pakistan. The reception itself comprises of a series of social events like the sauna party, tram race around Gothenburg, Swedish sittning, International Dinner and many other exciting opportunities to mingle and get to know each other.
Having been a part of all the festivities, I really wanted to know what it takes to put all this together. Initially I was confused, as most of the applicants were, that wether working in CIRC was worth the time and effort and will I jeopardise my studies by doing so? However I decided to give it a shot. The recruitment process itself, was quite informal and fun. We had a couple of get together events before the interview stage, allowing the new probable members to get to know each other well in advance. The ambience during the interviews was that of a discussion, allowing the interviewees to speak out and opt for their roles in CIRC 2014. It felt great that the recruitment was not made to look like a rigorous, cut-throat competition; instead those willing to contribute were accommodated in best possible manner.
To be honest, I am still not sure about my decision; it’s a question of priorities and opportunity-cost. I am sure the gains out of this stint won’t be tangible; CIRC is an opportunity to work with a very diverse team of students with contrasting ideas, having nothing in common, but still trying to create something spectacular for people they have never seen! Where else in the world would you get a chance to do so! And then of course down the road, you are bound to make some good friends and good memories, that are going to last longer in your memory lane than everything that you learnt in school. If not anything else, it is certainly a breather from the grind of trying to get the best grades, beef-up our CV’s and hunting for lucrative deals to ‘sell’ your engineering knowledge. At the end, I guess, the decision depends on individual perception and what you want out of your university life. In my case I hope it will end up being a subtle experience, that I can look back on and smile about in a few years time.
So as a member of CIRC 2014 now I am really looking forward to organising the reception for the spring and autumn in-take and having some fun!