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An international weekend in Leuven

Hi everyone! I am Marie from Belgium, and I was recently given the opportunity to participate in an international weekend organized by CIDSE’s initiative Change for the Planet – Care for the People. It was an amazing three days and I would love to tell you a little bit about it! Honestly, I could go on and on about the weekend. Ever since I got home, I am telling everyone who wants to listen about it. But for this blogs’ sake, I will try to keep it short. 😊 

The weekend in Leuven was my first real intercultural experience. I met people from Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, The Netherlands, a girl from Greece, and one from Madagascar! On Saturday, we had an “intercultural evening” where we taught each other all about our different cultures. We had small presentations, we shared food and drinks, had quizzes about different countries, and danced to songs from all over the world. Despite or probably thanks to our different nationalities, we mixed effortlessly and formed an amazing group, learning so much from one another. Everyone brought their unique experiences, ways of thinking, and backgrounds to the group, and that’s what made it so interesting. I feel like we all bonded quickly thanks to our shared love, concerns, and activism for our planet in need. Spending the weekend with people who really get my way of thinking about the climate crisis felt so safe and good for me. It motivated and energized me to continue fighting for our future.

During the weekend, our days were filled with workshops, debates, and documentaries. I soaked up all the new information with great interest. There was always room for a discussion afterward, and I loved being able to learn more about everyone’s way of thinking. These discussions often were so interesting that they continued over dinner*. Even though we talked and talked and talked, I still have so much I would like to ask and discuss with the other participants.    

I went home with my head filled with new fun facts, scenes from amazing documentaries, new insights about the climate crisis, and so on. So much to share with my family and friends back home.  Along with this, I have gained a new and way more positive view of our planets’ future during the CIDSE weekend. And, besides being better informed about the concerning state of our planet, I also realized that there are a lot of people who truly care about it and are willing to fight for our future. All in all, this truly was a weekend I will never forget. I am forever thankful for all the people who participated and for everyone who made this weekend possible. 

*Fun fact: the dinners, along with the other meals, were amaaaazing. I can’t remember another three days where I ate as good as during this weekend! 

Written by Marie (Broederljik Delen)

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