LIYSF Day 14: Celebrations & Farewells

Today was a day of celebration, farewells, many hugs, looking back, and looking forward. It was an immensely packed day from start to finish (as I write this it is currently past 3 am. There isn’t much time to sleep at LIYSF!) There were many wonderful things that happened today. Breakfast is always a great start to the day, not just because the Imperial serves delicious buttery croissants every morning, but because we get to sit together in large groups and share our previous days’ experiences with our breakfast table.  

I am very thankful for this wonderful group of people, and for kind strangers at Hyde Park who know how to take great group photos! Here are the diverse and inspiring individuals that I shared lunch with today, including students from China, Wales, Cyprus, Sweden, Norway, Japan, Guernsey, Canada and Poland. 
A typical scene of LIYSFers chatting after finishing lunch. Starting from the left we have Max from Poland, Alexandra from Poland, Georgia from Cyprus, Joseph from Guernsey, and Vincent from China. I’ll miss these times of sitting in parks eating lunch together. 
The first item on the agenda following breakfast (or brekkie as the New Zealanders call it) was the Closing Ceremony. Richard Myhill, the Director of LIYSF, gave a great speech where he thanked the hard working LIYSF staff, the participants, and the many universities, laboratories, hospitals, and more that opened their doors to us these past two weeks.

Here I am with Alofa and Grace from New Zealand! Our different coloured lanyards represent our different halls of residence. I stayed in Beit hall, while Alofa stayed in M&M and Grace in Southgate! Also, take a moment to appreciate the overflowing flowers in the window box behind us. Many houses and shops in London have flowers like these. 
Group selfies are a very regular occurrence at LIYSF! Here we are heading to a local super market to buy snacks (dark chocolate for me!) in between events. 

Ada Yonath, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009 for her work on the ribosome, gave our closing lecture today. She is an amazing woman. Not only is she intelligent, but she is also down to earth. She showed us a picture of her Nobel Prize Medal and a picture her granddaughter had drawn for her that said, “Best grandma in the world” and Yonath said that they were of equal importance to her. She emphasized that you can be a great scientist and have a family. 
We were all very excited to pick up our certificate of attendance and t-shirt from the British Council. If you want to get students excited, either feed them free food or give them free t-shirts! I also received a certificate for presenting my poster at the bazaar. Here we have Shahar and Hadas from Israel, Joseph from Guernsey, Michael from the USA, and Luiz from Brazil. 
After collecting our certificates and lovely shirts, we stopped for group photos and reminisced on the happy, hilarious, and inspiring moments of LIYSF 2016. I am really going to miss these three wonderful people. Alexandra and Maciej (to my right and far left) have taught me about Polish politics, government, and education throughout the forum, and Sophie was my loyal jogging buddy and source for translations of New Zealand slang! 
This is the wonderful Grace from New Zealand! When she found out that I was born in South Africa, she gave me her best South African accent by saying, “Irene Van Dyck is my favourite net ball player.” So fun!
This is Arlene from China. There were about fifty people from China that came to LIYSF this year, and I’m so glad to have met many of them. 
In the evening we had our final Closing Farewell party at the Old Chelsea Town Hall, with lots of dancing and many teary farewells. Those going on the CERN trip this coming week have a very early start, so there were many farewells in the evening. We were there until around midnight, until I realized that I still had to pack… Thankfully, when I finally managed to get much of my packing done before my eye lids closed and sleep took over. 

There have been countless memorable moments throughout these two weeks of LIYSF 2016, many of which I haven’t had the time to mention in these short posts. Very soon, I will work through my notes and thoughts and write a final conclusion post. As for now, let me leave you with one of the biggest lessons I learned this forum: we have more in common with others than we think. We may be separated by oceans and mountains and borders, but we share so much more than we could ever imagine.  

– Vivienne 

2 thoughts on “LIYSF Day 14: Celebrations & Farewells”

  1. thank you Vivienne for such wonderful blogs. i enjoyed reading them and wish you some probably much needed relaxed visiting with your relatives before your return to Canada.

  2. Thank you, Dr. Lee! I’m so glad you have enjoyed the posts. I’m looking forward to sharing more at UFV in the coming semesters.

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