maria international student bloggers

Hi everyone! While I am not new to the world of blogging, I am new to this space. So I wanted to take one step back to introduce myself to you 🙂

Name: Maria Vandenburg
From: Seattle, WA (although I have lived all over)
What brought me to London: the University of Westminster MBA Program

I actually arrived in London in early August and since that time have managed to sort out a full time job (I am a Project Manager at a Publishing Company) and start this brand new Directors MBA Program.  My updates here will capture my life as I work through both of these things.

So there’s a 5 second background, now let’s get back to the present moment. I have just wrapped up a three day session with my MBA program that was focused on our first graded assignment: Coming up with an innovative way to tackle youth knife crime and violence in Croydon (a troubled area in London).

But to start with the Basics – I always start off my blog entries with ITEMS I HAVE LEARNED TODAY 

  • Bobbie on the Beat: Police officers on their shifts (I think?)
  • Plonker: Idiot
  • Just Shout: Let me know if you need anything, although randomly just shouting out would be pretty amusing
  • Chocca: The abbreviated version of “Chock a Block” You totally get it now right? Haha. Apparently it’s a chocolate bar over here and it means full/very busy.
  • This is it: that’s it! I get it! It’s a statement made in agreement.

international student bloggers

There’s a lot going on at the moment. And if I’m going to be completely and totally honest, right now I feel a bit exhausted. I was supposed to go to a family friends today to celebrate Thanksgiving. I was also supposed to go and watch one a friends husband dj last night. I ended up not doing either.
Today I plan on sleeping, legit.

Maybe writing and working on my paper at some point, but getting my energy back up there.

I have a TON of work that I need to do. Our first assignment is a group project to create a 1500 word online portfolio for the Metropolitan Police. My group consists of Rob and Rachel. We’ve named ourselves two Northerners and a Yank (they are both from Northern England). I love them. We all get along and work together really well. The nice part about the last three days is that pretty much everything we were exposed to: a Question and Answer session with the Met Police, an event on Friday night called Youth Matters, lively discussions with my fellow participants, has just served to reinforce our original concept and vision.

Now, we just need to get that vision on paper. And we only have 1500 words to do it. You would think that would be easy, but the more I wrap my head around it, the more I realize that it is going to be a lot of work! I’ll get there eventually though, maybe after a few naps haha 🙂

Anyway, I’ve loved the last couple of days. The highlights have been being able to spend more time with my MBA people, and this Youth Matters event.
international student bloggers

Music Relief, a local organization that believes in empowering the creative potential/spirit of the youth (something that resonates very deeply with me) gathered people in Westminster to discuss the reality of youth violence and knife crime. They revealed their new program “more than able” – the belief that these youth are more than able to do anything they set their mind to. The Ambassadors of that particular program performed two songs that they wrote themselves. I still get chills thinking about it. It was that good.

I loved the idea and the principles of this particular organization. I loved the fact that the MP and the Borough Commander of Croydon were sitting on that panel trying to figure out how to be a part of the solution. I loved that Sarah Jones (the MP) is calling for a long-term 10 year plan. I loved that so many people from the Croydon community gathered together to share their passion for for it all, their willingness to work together, to make the future better for the youth.

So it’s been an intense couple of days. But it’s been good.
Are we going to be able to solve knife crime and youth violence tomorrow? No.
Am I currently a bit stressed about how exactly I am going to get my thoughts on how to tackle knife crime concisely into 1500 words? Yes.
But do I know we will get there in the end? Yes.

Now I just need to breathe.. and well.. maybe sleep 🙂

Anyway, it’s nice to meet you all, I look forward on keeping you posted on this particular journey!

Read this post and other stories on Maria’s personal blog

Maria Vandenburg
Maria Vandenburg

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