Sharing the Global Shapers Experience!

YvonneConijnAfter the amazing experience of Global Shapers, the virtual phase and the Face-to-Face meeting in Chicago many of us stayed a couple of days in Chicago to explore the city and some even expanded their trip to a real holiday. It was so much fun to explore the city with about 70 of us and get to know all the Global Shapers. The whole experience had made a deep impact on me. It is amazing to see how so many people from different countries and cultures and with different languages can work together and you just forget about all the differences and barriers.

When I was back at home, the experience of GS2014 kicked in and I became to realize what we had done in these days and what a great output we created. So back home and at work all my friends, family and colleagues were curious about my trip to the US and I was eager to tell them all about Global Shapers and the great outcomes. Because we did so much in such a short time, my story came out a bit chaotic but the energy we felt during the program was easy to share.

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Urban October workshop: Transforming our cities

Workshop(3)On October 30, 2014, David Railsback (out of the Clifton Park, NY office) and I, Alison Schaffer (GS2013), hosted our very first Urban October Workshop in Syracuse as part of the SHELTER Program.  We were joined by a special guest, fellow Global Shaper (generation 2013) and SHELTER participant, Magdalena Rychtecka from the Melville, NY office. This workshop was part of a series of workshops that fellow Arcadians hosted across the globe – in China, the UK, the UAE, Holland, Brazil, France, and Belgium.

What is SHELTER and what is Urban October?

SHELTER is a partnership between ARCADIS and UN-Habitat that was formed in 2010. The idea behind SHELTER is to “improve the urban quality of life in rapidly growing cities around the world”. UN-Habitat approaches ARCADIS with various projects related to urban planning, water resource management, waste management, etc., and we send teams of 2-4 ARCADIS experts to provide on-the-ground field studies, recommendations, and discussions with the local communities and governments in the host countries. David, Magdalena, and I were fortunate to participate in different SHELTER missions. David traveled to the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro in the Philippines in 2013 to provide expertise related to urban floodplain planning, water management and resettlement locations in response to Tropical Storm Sendong. Magdalena traveled to Les Cayes, Haiti in September 2014 to perform a field assessment of existing conditions and identify potential solutions to address problems of frequent flooding and coastal erosion. In June 2014, I traveled to Muhanga, Rwanda, to provide recommendations about environmental protection as it relates to developing in complex environments, such as on steep slopes and around wetlands.

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Language a Barrier? No Way!

LingZi‘You are selected for Global Shapers : Generation 2014!’. The moment the invitation email popped up, it surprised me and colleagues were pouring into my workspace to congratulate me. They also worried a bit that there might be communication difficulties due to my command of the English language. I had some visions of the embarrassing moments that I might encounter at Chicago.

In Singapore and Malaysia, we are used to speaking in ‘Singlish’ which essentially refers to English with Singapore slang, adding the words ‘lah’ and ‘lor’ behind every sentence. Speaking proper English has personally made me felt like robot talking, especially when I have my speech recorded. We grew up in a society with a mixture of Malay, Chinese and India and we have our daily dialogue with English, our mother tongue and dialects cluttered up. The organizing team was very thoughtful to organise English lesson for the non-native participants. Besides the English lessons, there also was the English Buddy system. I grabbed this opportunity and signed up immediately in order to improve my English.

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The Global Shapers ripple effect: sharing experiences

15522756991_92cce737c5_kDuring Global Shapers 2014, I, Rashi Goel, had a great experience in Chicago and during the Virtual Phase. Meeting and working with fellow Arcadians from around the world, working on projects to support the company, and all the activities we participated in were fantastic and an experience I will never forget.

I worked in the Global Collaboration project (one of the workflows we could work on during the face-to-face meeting) on a stop motion drawing video. Working with the diverse team and seeing all the effort that went into this video in such a short time was inspiring. Everyone, including me, was so excited for the outcome and sharing that with the AGLF (ARCADIS Global Leadership Forum) participants. (more…)