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Ceilidh: Get ready for a night to remember!

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Image taken from Da Hooley ceilidh band official website.

There are only fourteen days left until The XIV Symposium of Mexican Students and Studies starts. The Society of Mexicans Students in the United Kingdom has organised this event across England in thirteen occasions keeping the same objective: Bringing together the Mexican student community and those interested in Mexican issues. The Symposium has also been a great opportunity to visit different places and meet new friends: this year it takes place for the first time in Scotland!

We have been working hard to create an event that breathes quality. During the symposium, we not only want you to have a bit of Mexico but also experience the beautiful Scottish culture. That is why, after listening all the speakers and eating some delicious tamales for lunch, a ceilidh night will mark the end of the second day of this event with one of the most popular ceilidh bands ‘Da Hooley’ (Click here)

A Ceilidh (pronounced “Kay-lay”, emphasis on the first syllable) is a Gaelic word meaning gathering or party, which involves Gaelic folk music and dancing. If you’ve never been to a ceilidh before, you only need to remember the following:

  • Whether you like or want dancing or not, fun will be guaranteed. But just to let you know – the cheerful melodies of Scottish music will make you want to dance!
  • Ceilidhs are for E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E. Whether you’re an expert or a novice or if you have two left feet, or even three (like me). It’s all about fun, not footwork. To clarify, culture, experience, age, nationality, or ability aren’t requirements for dancing in a ceilidh.If you are having fun then you’re doing it right
  • We know that ceilidh can be intimidating and confusing when it’s your first time, but you do not have to worry about it. There will be a special caller that will tell all the participants how to dance. They will even shout out instructions as the music is playing. Also, the choreographies at the beginning are usually easier but, as the night goes by, they become a bit more complicated (albeit more fun!).
  • There is also no need to worry about not having a partner because many ceilidh dances tend to be a group dance and in other cases you will finish dancing with a different person at the end of the dance. Therefore, it is an excellent opportunity to meet and network while dancing with a lot of people, friends old and new.  Ceilidh is a socially inclusive activity that breaks barriers and builds bridges between participants
  • Ceilidh dances are so energetic that it is quite usual to have small breaks for a chat and drink between dances. During these pauses, you can choose to keep dancing or just sit and watch others dancers while enjoying the atmosphere.

The most important advice is that if you haven’t been to a ceilidh before, just try it, and I promise you’ll be astonished how hard it is to refuse dancing and how easy it is to learn all the steps and have fun. So, if your presentation or poster is ready, make sure to pack a pair of comfortable shoes and be ready for a night to remember!

Post by Rosinda Fuentes Pineda

Da Hooley Ceilidh band

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Keep calm only 4 week to go

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Edinburgh Castle, May 2016. Photo by Rosinda Fuentes

The XIV Symposium of Mexican Students and Studies is coming. In less than one month, Mexican students from all across the United Kingdom will meet in Edinburgh to present their work, network and enjoy a wee bit of Scotland.

 

It has been almost ten months of work for the organising committee. We have gone through experiences ranging from the frustrating to the most rewarding. The work for us started last July in the excellent Symposium organised by the great people of UCL. It has been hard work since.

We started preparing our bid for the symposium one week before the elections. Luckily, we won. We were really proud even though we were the only bid. So it was decided, the symposium was coming to Scotland for the first time.

I think we didn’t realized how much work it meant. It starts with the bid. Then moves to getting a team together. Then you meet, and really don’t know where to start. You talk to the University, but really don’t know what to ask them. Then you apply for funding. You receive a resounding NO regarding the funding, so you apply again. You repeat this until you get the money.

Also, we had to meet with people from the Embassy. The first meeting didn’t start very well, as only men were present. Fortunately, one of our female teammates arrived before the gender equality topic came up. By the way, it was just unfortunate that women arrived late that day. However we still had to get more people.

We had to work with CONACYT. They have been fantastic, but also as you can expect, it means a lot of bureaucracy. There was even a point in which two biologist were trying to translate a contract. We didn’t understand what it said in Spanish, much less were we able to translate it. Quick simple question, do lawyers hate to use periods in their sentences? Or are they just scared of short sentences? If someone asks you, how many biologists it takes to translate a contract? The answer is definitely more than two.

The next thing was to look for speakers, turning every stone available to find the best line-up possible within budget. This basically means turning down anyone that cannot pay for the trip, unless they come from St. Andrews. The £12 bus ticket was affordable enough for our budget. However we have managed to gather more than 10 speakers coming from different parts of Mexico and the UK.

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        Some members of the Organizing Committee of the Symposium, March 2016.              Photo by Rosinda Fuentes

Since it is a symposium, it is based on the participation of the assistants. So a “Call for abstracts” was written. I think we have received over 100 abstracts from over 5 countries. However, I cannot comment much in the process as I wasn’t really involved in this part. Probably one of the members of the committee can write how the experience was.

We are now in the final stages of preparation. We have the speakers, participants, money and the venues; the four most challenging parts. Now, we have to make sure that the details are as perfect as possible. We are hoping to be able to have a world-class symposium, so that it is a rewarding experience for the participants, and smooth sailing from here on out to the committee.

See you in exactly four week in the XIV Symposium of Mexican Students and Studies. And start preparing your Ceilidh moves.

Post by Alvaro de Obeso