Help a stubborn student travel to SA?

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Earlier this month I was invited to attend an International Relations and Diplomacy Delegation in South Africa as part of the Scholar Laureate program. The delegation takes place in May 2016, and participants fund their own way there.

Unfortunately my current financial situation makes this impossible for me to do unassisted at the present time.

Through stubbornness and sheer determination I’ve not given up on this dream just yet…

I’ve started a crowdfunding page through OzCrowd to help raise funds for my deposit ($549 USD/$775 AUD). I plan for the rest of my tuition for this will come from future employment, loans or additional crowdfunding once I get approval.

If you would like information on how to help by donating, please click here.

If you would like information on the delegation I’ve been invited to be part of, please click here.

Donations close on March 1st, 2016. If the target of $900 AUD is not met, the money will be returned to those who donated. Thank you in advance to anyone who has chosen to help me.

22 things I plan to do at 22

 

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I turned 22 on Sunday, so I came up with some goals to accomplish before 23 rears its ugly head…

 

  1. Learn Spanish – Last year while studying in Japan I decided that I wasn’t content just speaking English and Japanese, and decided that Spanish would be a good language to start off with.
  2. Learn how to roll my r’s – Because currently I sound like a dying cat while trying to do so.
  3. Lose weight – It’s a goal that’s been on my list for an embarrassingly long amount of time without any action being taken. Last month my mum and I joined the Impromy weight loss program and so far I’ve lost 4.6kgs.
  4. Get fit – Anyone who knows me will tell you that exercise has always been the bane of my existence. I’ve been avoiding it for long enough – I’ll be joining the gym that my dad goes to and aim to accompany him three times a week.
  5. Get a job and work so hard I’m an indispensable team member
  6. Start regularly contributing to a savings fund (once I get a job) – I have a long list of places I want to travel to, activities I want to try, and of course the more grown up responsibilities like eventually moving out of my parent’s home and paying off my student loans.
  7. Minimise my possessions to items that I need or bring me joy – I’ve been researching the concept of minimalism a lot over the past couple of months, and while I can’t commit to being a proper minimalist I can at least try to downsize my clutter and prioritise quality over quantity.
  8. Complete my Diploma in Languages (Japanese specialisation) –¬†this is 100% a cheat one I’ve thrown in as I’ve already completed all the requirements for this one ūüėČ
  9. Complete the International Relations component of my double degree –¬†which will just leave journalism.
  10. Participate in the UNITE leadership program –¬†I’ve already been accepted, I just need to complete all the requirements throughout the year…
  11. Be a great email mentor for my university
  12. Write blog posts regularly (every 1-2 weeks)… unlike now. That could prove to be difficult.
  13. Keep my work area (*cough* bedroom) tidy and organised –¬†this could also prove challenging
  14. Actively make an effort to see my friends more and support them
  15. Spend more time with my dog – he’s my friend too! Plus both of us could benefit from a few extra walks each week.
  16. Try very hard to drink water instead of Coke Zero and beat my addiction
  17. Learn to cook some healthy, great tasting food (without a recipe!)
  18. Undertake a first aid course and potentially learn how to save a life
  19. Stay up to date with global and local news – particularly focusing on international relations
  20. Find work experience related to international relations or journalism to complete over the 2016-17 summer holidays
  21. Learn to draw on winged eyeliner without ending up looking like a panda
  22. STOP PROCRASTINATING – find a good balance of work, university and social life (which does not involve spending hours daily on social media or youtube!)

What it means to be an atheist

As an atheist I do not believe there is a god or higher existence that created the earth and all that lives here. I stopped using that word to describe myself for a while as some people started to act a little standoffish¬†towards me. When asked what religion I was I would mutter “oh I’m not really that religious” – that was fine, but if I mentioned the word ‘atheist’ people would act differently in case I tried to push my non-religious agenda.

Recently I started to openly identify as an atheist again, and encountered a few misconceptions that I’d like to clear up…

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I determine what is morally right and morally wrong for myself.

I don’t have a list of commandments to tell me what to strive for and what not to do, but that doesn’t make me an immoral person. I know not to kill or steal or go after people in relationships – it’s common sense.

I don’t believe in God, but here’s a list of five things I do believe in:

  • Equality regardless of race, class, gender, sex or sexual orientation
  • Vaccinations
  • Access to education
  • Gun control
  • Adopting children and pets

The moral of this? Just try and be nice to other people.

I am free of religious biases, but not of personal, social and cultural ones.

Everyone has biases whether they acknowledge them or not. I do not identify as religious, therefore my views related to the world are based on my personal experiences and upbringing rather than on what is ingrained through religious beliefs. Because of this¬†I suppose an argument can be made for me having a non-religious bias…

I do not see myself as better than anyone who freely practices religion.

I have religious friends who have taught me about their religious beliefs and customs. I think that the architecture of places of worship is intricate and beautiful. If asked I will participate in rituals or ceremonies because they are important to the people I care about.

I will not argue about the existence/non-existence of a god or gods because life is too short for that. I will not intentionally stir up someone religious and point flaws in their beliefs as I know some atheists tend to do. Accepting others regardless of religious beliefs is different to agreeing with everything they are saying – no reasonable person is asking you to do that.