The 2011 Upside Down Student Enterprise conference, supported by the Welsh Assembly Government, was held at Glan-Llyn, Bala, on 22nd March. 115 students from Glyndwr University, Yale College and other colleges in Wales attended the event.
I was one of the Glyndwr team. We set off from the Sport Centre by coach in the early morning and arrived at the Glan-Llyn lakeside park after one and half hours’ driving. The two-days event started with a Networking session, during which more than the students were tasked to make their own masks for the Masquerade Ball in the evening. Some of the design of the masks were quite creative and nice while mine was not, unfortunately.
After a decent lunch, students were separated into two groups A & B to attend the Learn Through Music Workshop and the Crystal Maze Challenge and then swap. In the Cystal Maze Challenge students were divided into ten teams and were tasked to use their wisdoms and good teamwork skills to pass ten ‘Mazes’, e.g. To build a Marsh mellow Tower which can stand longer than 5 seconds with Spaghetti, marsh mellows and other things. Learn Through Music workshop was managed by company Learnthrumusic and the idea was to write and record new lyrics according to the tune of ‘Three Little Birds’ from Bob Marley and to think about how to publicise the new song as the students were teamed up as music companies. My ‘company’ – Determination Station, was awarded the winner of the challenge. Our brand new song was called “GO TO COLLEGE“. Here is the extracts of the lyrics: Go to college, every day, cause at the end of the day, we’ll get good pay…
We were paid a £10 voucher and a certificate for it, not bad, anyway.
The Masquerade Ball themed evening were highlighted by the cocktail and karaoke, while I was enjoying my own flaring lights.
The second day began with a nice breakfast and the main event was the six workshops, of which students chose two of them to attend. I attended the first one – Publishing & Journalism, given by Simon Thirsk, the Executive Chairman from Bloodaxe Books. Even though Simon had a 20-year’s background of being a journalist, it was not really too much related with Journalism but more publishing as Bloodaxe Books is a poetry publisher in Britain. I learned about the story of Irina, a Russian poet, who wrote her poems when she was in prison. The story itself was not something new to me but the persistence of promoting and publishing poets by Simon and his colleagues impressed me a lot and Simon’s explanation of being famous and making others famous attracted me particularly. I think I would be the latter one. I’d like to be a TV production producer, working behind the scene but making programmes with the purpose to promote something or somebody by utilising the power of MEDIA. However, inside the TV industry I could be a famous person. I missed the other workshop because of the long but valuable talk with Simon during the break time.
We finished the whole event after a feedback session and lunch. I didn’t learn too many business things but I believed that the harvest of this event for me was the talk with Simon and the later contact with him as I have somebody who understand me and have a lot of life experience to ‘push’ me move forward and ‘fight’ against my laziness.
The typical Welsh slopes and hills with lots of sheep enjoying the lovely sunny day were something always interesting for me. This time I was more interested in the tiny size of the new-born lambs, cute enough. I hadn’t seen real sheep and lambs before in China as I was living in the southern China and generally sheep are in the Northwest and the Inner Mongolia. We saw the fog trigged by the lake in the early morning before we arrived at the park. It was like fairy tale scene and also Chinese ancient myth scene called ”Xian Jing”.
The Glan-llyn lakeside was even more attractive especially the reflection of the hills and trees on the surface of the lake with the lovely sunshine that day. I would say that’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen in Wales, but a friend suggested that Llangollen would be more beautiful. I loved it, anyway, and we just could help keeping making pictures around the lake.