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Forging Global Citizens: Part 1

The Aernout van Lynden Global Citizenship Award award is a recognition given by the LUC community. Each year a student who has demonstrated the qualities of active engagement, responsive and responsible participation in civic and/or community building, within and/or beyond LUC is presented with the award. Among the many nominated students in the class of 2021 who had engaged in volunteer service to the community, an unprecedented decision was taken to honour not one but two students, namely Diva Estanto and Jennifer Pfister. In part 1 we sit down with Diva Estanto to reflect on her time at LUC, the meaning of Global Citizenship and to talk about her future.

What does global citizenship mean to you?

Diva Estanto: To me, being a global citizen means to be an active participant in society. There’s not really any guidance or checklist on what it exactly is, only that it’s different for everyone. Whether it be organising events in the university to increase solidarity or organising protests to raise awareness for social issues, everyone has different methods on how they can engage with society and how they can “change the world”. Changing the world or leaving an impact does not have to be anything big, it can be something as small as helping new students settle in their new environment or donating to a cause that is meaningful to you. 

Reflecting on your time at LUC, how has your perception of global citizenship changed?

I used to think that being a global citizen means that I have to make a big impact globally, but I realised it’s more than that. I realised that every small action counts towards being a global citizen. You don’t have to break your backs trying to achieve something big, as long as you enjoy doing what you’re doing, anyone can be a global citizen. On this, I did not expect that I would win this award, as most of the things that I did are within LUC. However, I guess this shows that there isn’t a strict definition of global citizenship. 

As a new cohort of students arrive at LUC, what advice do you have for them?

Sounds very cheesy, but the one advice from me is to live in the moment and to know your limits. Three years is quite a short time for a bachelor’s degree, so LUC is quite intense that sometimes you forget to live in the moment and enjoy the things happening around you (your friends, common room parties, having a beer at coasters). Yes academics are important, but make sure to have a good balance of studying, socialising, and relaxing. Apart from this, LUC provides so many opportunities to be active in the community that you can’t help but compare yourself to others who are doing a lot. You have to remember to stay true to yourself and know when you have enough on your plate. During my time at LUC, I remembered a certain time when I had too much on my plate and I only realised that when it was too late. So know your limits and boundaries!

Having now graduated from LUC, what comes next for you?

To be honest, I don’t really know, especially since I only graduated several weeks ago. I am still looking for internships as I want to take a break from academics, but even then it’s pretty hard to find opportunities (especially as a non-EU). So right now, I am just focusing on myself and taking a little break after three years of hard work and constantly stressing over assignments and other projects. I feel like there is a lot of pressure around knowing what to do after graduation that you tend to forget to give yourself a break and a pat in the back after successfully finishing a bachelor’s degree.

Next week Part 2 of ''Forging Global Citizens' with Jennifer Pfister. Article written by Jayne Fitzgerald.

Leiden University College The Hague offers a broad, flexible and interdisciplinary residential Liberal Arts and Sciences programme with a focus on Global Challenges. In this bachelor programme students specialise in relevant fields like world politics, economics, governance, international justice, human & cultural interaction, global public health and environmental sciences.

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