The highlight of the day was that my Danish classmate and I won the Magdalene Summer Quiz. A great result, especially because we won against bigger groups consisting of five to seven opponents.
Besides that, the academic journey was quite uplifting today. The students on my course this week came from a great variety of backgrounds: International relations, trade, economics, tourism, upcoming lawyers and doctors – an impressive mixture of different fields.
The lecturer today was Dr Lorand Bartels. Dr Bartels is a University Senior Lecturer in Law in the Faculty of Law and a fellow of Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge, where he teaches international law, WTO law and EU law.
According to Dr Bartels, the core concept of WTO is trade. Trade is the exchange of goods and services. Dr Bartels challenged our views and asked some difficult questions, such as whether humans could be goods under any condition.
Dr Lorand Bartels used a discussion-based teaching method that he combined with vivid paper-pencil constellations he created in front of the class. This approach helped people to think out of the box. I have never before seen a teacher make a whole market system understandable with only a few examples to illustrate the trade way of products between different nations.
I realised through Dr Bartels multiple perspective approach – which included religious as well as historic perspectives – that trade is a concept that grew from colonisation and theft. Both colonisation and theft of goods were canalised through trade into a legal concept.
Thinking about the big picture is a great deal in Cambridge. The philosophical idea behind a tax system is a typical Cambridge approach. Before tackling the what, the why has to be figured out. I love this way of teaching. It creates a more profound and lasting understanding of a concept.
Every day Cambridge offers us also a non-academic environment to dive into. Today we visited Fitzwilliam Museum. The Museum’s two new exhibitions of rarely exhibited works offer an artistic view on Cambridge – ranging from the earliest clear evidence of occupation at around 3,500 years ago to Cambridge as the new high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen.