Forging connections across the Commonwealth

Aadesh Shinde, an undergraduate student studying at the Institute of Law, Nirma University, India, took part in the ACU Summer School 2021.

Ujjain River In India
Headshot Of Aadesh Shinde

Aadesh Shinde

I am writing to you from Ujjain, one of the most ancient cities in India. Located on the banks of the holy Kshipra river, Ujjain is the venue for the largest spiritual and cultural congregation in the world - ‘Sinhastha - the Kumbh Mela’ - held every 12 years. My city has taught me that not only are different cultures to be accepted but rather they are to be embraced with open arms.

I am grateful that I received the opportunity to experience the rich cultural diversity across the Commonwealth, through the ACU Summer School 2021. For two weeks, 50 selected participants from 12 member nations came together online to engage and reflect upon the theme, ‘Urban disasters: Vulnerability and resilience in a pandemic’.

Our group activities included making city profiles based on their vulnerabilities to risk, bringing stories of courage and community resilience to light, and preparing analytical case studies for various cities through the lens of localisation and accountability in a democracy. Participants in each group were from different countries and diverse educational backgrounds, and were expected to work as a team and submit assignments on time, irrespective of working in different time zones. These activities were an amazing blend of experiential learning, detailed research, and most importantly, collaborative teamwork.

The most memorable moment was witnessing the beautiful confluence of various cultures during the inter-cultural session, in which participants presented songs, poems, dance forms, traditional dresses, artefacts and videos that allowed us to explore their cultures. These two weeks of intellectually stimulating discourse helped me develop an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the lives of various communities and the challenges they face.

I am glad that I met some wonderful individuals in the process, and I am still in touch with them today. I sincerely feel that the ACU Summer School is a unique and rewarding experience. I invite and welcome all students, to apply for the ACU Summer School 2022 at the earliest and experience it first-hand!

Applications now open

The ACU Summer School 2022 will take place in Leeds, UK and explore the theme 'Sport and regeneration: Driving sustainability, community and wellbeing'.

Deadline: 1 March 

Find out more


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