Unwinding in front of the TV on Tuesday night, I found myself watching The Busiest Cities on ABC.TV – a revelatory picture of the life of Muscovites today.
45 minutes into the program I was gobsmacked to see before my eyes, images of the conception I had for Oasis at Flinders University some ten years ago – the same kind of images I see for an Oasis in the heart of Adelaide, with its 34,000 international students and culture of festivals that bring visitors to the city.
Please have a look! (4 minutes)
What these young people are offering is a true expression of the tradition of hospitality – making space for strangers to become friends. It’s what the world needs. And it is learnt through experience.
Some of the dialogue that I resonated with included:
- embracing the future yet drawing on the past
- it looks like a cafe, but it feels like someone’s apartment
- there’s no prices on food or drink*
- it’s difficult to explain…the whole idea of the place is big and deep
- longing for community and wanting strangers to become friends
- you can do whatever you want…but together
- I feel like I could live here
- you learn different things from different people
- it’s like being in someone’s living room
- I feel like I’ve been allowed in
- I feel like I’ve experienced something touching
- what an amazing place!
- and why not be able to sit with strangers?
- she has a global outlook
- it will spread to the rest of the country
*At Flinders, everything, including (limited) food/drink and salaries for two staff, was provided free to students, funded from student fees via the university administration.
I think an Oasis in the city could be funded by the city and the universities, with an initial aim of bringing together those living away from home – international students and visitors, and supported by volunteers and complementary organisations.
I could write a book expanding that dialogue!
One thought on “Moscow!”
Not “WAS provided free to students” Geoff, still IS. Your list of comments aptly describes Oasis Flinders University as it is now, still flourishing, still what one student described as “the spiritual heart of the University.