“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”
In my last semester of Business Administration at the University of St. Gallen it was time to look back and critically reflect. Certainly those three years have provided me with a good understanding of the economic and political world, taught me how to write academic papers and how to hold a professional presentation. On the other hand many of my co-students (including myself) and friends from other universities were dissatisfied with the teaching style of our Western universities. Often the curriculum did not promote self-initiative and critical thinking and the examination methods encouraged people to learn by heart instead of fostering interest and deep understanding.
Some university courses were different and one of them I remember especially strongly. Alexander Schieffer’s course “International development” stressed that development is more than GDP or population growth and includes self-, organisational- and societal development. During the course we worked together with organisations around the globe. My group worked with Sarvodaya, a community based development initiative in Sri Lanka.
A few months later I had the chance to study at a partner university of the University of St. Gallen in New Zealand and experienced their approach towards education as much more holistic. Natural, cultural and spiritual aspects were taken account of, not only highlighting scientific and economic thoughts. I often thought about Schieffer’s course and the cooperation with Sarvodaya.
When I was searching a project for my bachelor thesis, I knew I did not want to write a research paper, which does not leave any impact. I wanted to take transformative action and I got the chance to do so.
I am currently in Sri Lanka working on a project of Sarvodaya’s Institute of Higher Learning (SIHL). The field of education interests me and I already had to chance to work on two projects in the field:
The first one in my home village Gockhausen: It has a very big French Expat community and is home to the only Lycée Française in the region. French and Swiss people hardly interacted with each other and the communities stayed separated. This led me to the idea of using such an isolation and using it for educational purposes and devoting my matura paper to it . Namely I developed an exchange system between German and French schools, including guest families. Furthermore I had the possibility to work as a Volunteer in an education project in Rio de Janeiro called Educate the Favela.
I am certain that being part of the Trans4m Junior-Fellowship and my work at Sarvodaya will educate my mind, my heart, my soul and I am curious where this development journey leads.