Lecce Diary Series 7 - How Large is the World
How large is the world? When you check on the map, it is small. When you set off to explore, it spreads upon the floor. Just a bit of courage, two plane tickets, three people in groups, then the adventure starts.
The flight landed at the Airport in Rome. Italy greeted us with its extraordinary warmth of bright sunshine. Here we would have an expectant exchange experience for 6 months and the records for memory thereafter.
Record for Volunteer Activities
—Working with the WWF for Beach Cleaning. Let's see what we can do for our environment!
In October we met a group of friends and took part in a beach cleaning together. When we arrived, there was already a large group of volunteers working hard over there. They searched the rocky, the dunes and inch by inch for all kinds of glass bottles, plastic bags and other kinds of hard-to-degrade rubbish, sorting them and place. Men and women, young and old, they came from different social backgrounds, but all with a similar serious attitude. I suddenly had the feeling that this was not only cleaning the beach under our feet, but also cleaning our hearts. Littering is a minor evil and people may just throw it down for the sake of convenience, not realising the non-degradable pollution it can cause to nature and the disaster it can bring if animals eat it by mistake. Volunteering on the beach is also an experience of reflection, self-purification and self-awareness. I was fortunate to meet this lovely group of people who give so much to the community and nature and warm the hearts of the people.
Record for Courses
—Friendly and supportive environment. We had the East-West Cultural Communication in philosophy class!
University of Salento fully respected individual interest that we could apply for courses according to our personal preferences. I applied for teaching philosophy course outside of my learning agreement and was allowed to participate as an AUDITOR.
The course is in Italian. Although neither the teachers nor the students were very fluent in English and cannot manage daily communication in English. Professor Daniela prepared two versions of the course materials, one in Italian and one in English for me. We talked about Plato and Kant in class, but also introduced Buddhism and Taoism, comparing the origins and development of cultural thinking in the East and the West. Professor Daniela took the students' presentations seriously and she made careful annotation when received the PPTs. My presentations in each class were in English and she translated them live into Italian for the class and gave me feedback at the end. This learning experience, where the teacher guided us to re-interrogate and reflect on phenomena we had taken for granted, gave me a different perspective on perceiving the world.
Record for Gratitude
—Fully supportive teachers and schools. It was because of you that our study journey could be so smooth!
Miss Chou played an important role in our procedure assistance, from application to going abroad. Professors of Salento University were pretty supportive too. Francesca Giannotta was responsible for helping us deal with daily affairs, such as various formalities and applications. She even helped us make daily purchases during her busy schedule to facilitate our life in isolation at home (Of course, this is not her job, she was out of special kindness). Claudio Petti helped us a lot in the course guide and other affairs with his generosity and responsive actions. Thanks to his support that I managed to get in touch with Western philosophy-- my dream course here. We were not alone in this foreign land, with professors from JNU and Salento being our backups.
What do I get from this experience? East-West cultural dialogue and exchange in the classes, feeling the different rhythms and patterns of life, beautiful scenery in Nordic Tour, pizza, pasta and wine...? Surely they are what we see, what we feel, what we taste here, but the answers is more than this. It is a journey outside the world; it is a journey inside the heart.Joy and meditation scatter in the fractions of life, in a fall of leaves, in the Encyclopedias neatly arranged in the library, in the shuttles through art exhibitions and museums...Here I am alive.
Gratitude to all! The valuable opportunity given by the schools, the teachers' generous help and the companion of my classmates. This must be an unforgettable experience in my life!