Last week was the beginning of school and orientation at UPeace. It was quite the process with loads of people working to get to know one another and all about the school. UPeace was founded in 1980 - so like me, it is celebrating it's 30th year. What a great year! :)
This year the student body will be close to 180 people, representing 51 countries! It has been really interesting finding out where people are coming from, what they are studying and their background. The bulk of the students coming from Africa haven't yet arrived. There were changes in the visa process this year and many of them are stuck, waiting for their paperwork to be approved. I hope that it gets solved quickly. It will be great to have them here as well.
Monday morning begins the first day of actual classes. Each of the classes this year will run for three weeks with a couple day break between each of them. Thankfully it is one course at a time, if the reading package for the first course is any indication of what will be the norm. The first course all of the UPeace students will be taking, Foundations in Peace and Conflict Studies. After that we will break into our different streams. On Friday I met with our department head and my classmates in Peace Education - what a great group! I am really excited to start the program with them.
Today, I went with a couple of other students to Jaco - a beach, relatively near by. We stopped on the way at a bridge where you can stop and see the crocodiles that live in the river below. As it is rainy season and raining a LOT the river is really quite high and full of silt. This means that the crocodiles hang out on the shore, sunning themselves. Massive creatures - and pretty magical. The weather was lovely for us today - and it didn't start raining until it was time to come home anyway, which was nice. The surf was rough though - so this prairie girl stuck pretty close to shore. It was a great day - which I am sure is going to be the start of a great week!
Thanks to those who have been sending such nice emails and comments - it is so nice to hear from you.