International Leiden Law alumni started socially responsible startup
Global notebook (GN) is an educational and socially responsible startup, created by two LU alumni. They built an exciting program, combining Brussels and The Hague, in the form of a week long international student conference - global notebook conference (GNC). Young curious minds from all over the world join together to visit different international institutions and challenge themselves in leadership and legal workshops. To make GNC program even more interesting they are thrilled to welcome LU Alumni with any ideas for unique workshops. Read how and why this startup. They interviewed each other.
Bharat: Why did you create GN?
Ligita: I think it is safe to say that GN is a result of me struggling to find a job, that I would feel passionate about, and you wanting to provide students with an opportunity to travel and learn as you did yourself. Sometimes to move abroad for half a year or more is too difficult for young people, therefore a short but very intensive program as GNC is the best solution, when students want to have an educational trip abroad.
And because we were crazy and brave enough to think that with all we know and have here in the Hague, we can go and make it work :)
Ligita: Why did we decide to combine Brussels and The Hague?
Bharat: The program is designed to give a vast exposure to international relations and diplomacy. Since Brussels and the Hague are centres of European politics and international law respectively, we chose these cities. Moreover, we considered this to be a unique idea to combine them in one week, because they have so much to offer in terms of academic as well as cultural visits.
Bharat: What are the 5 important benefits of GNC?
Ligita: I myself admire students who join our program, because they really have to step out of their so called comfort zone and take upon tasks that usually wouldn’t be in their daily schedules. We have students coming from all kinds of different backgrounds and many of them have never done any legal studies.
So I would say :
- Improving academic skills through workshops and visits to International Organizations (IO).
- Building up social network - meeting young professionals working in IOs, who are usually very keen to connect on LinkedIn and advise on any question related to professional career.
- Getting to know different cultures and making new friends.
- I think the biggest difference between attending GNC and getting a degree abroad is that delegates not only study, but also live and travel together for a whole week.
- Exploring Brussels, The Hague and Leiden - 3 very cool and cosy European cities.
- Adding extra value to their CVs, by having an international exposure of this kind.
Ligita: What is the selection process? Can anyone join GNC?
Bharat: We have an online application process in which the applicant has to answer three interesting questions apart from uploading their basic details and CV. Once we receive the application, we scan them individually and if need be, conduct an online interview before sending the application package.
Bharat: Is there anything else you do apart from GNC at GN?
Ligita: Besides organizing GNC, GN also has an important social cause - a part of every fee paid is used to support schools from developing countries with donations of notebooks. That is where the name global notebook comes from. Also, we provide personalized projects to educational institutions, when they want to have a specific Eurotrip for their students, including planning specific visits to organizations of their individual choices.
And lastly, we are now in the process of launching our alumni program. This will be the platform for students around the world to stay in close contact, get advice on different countries and places to visit, study or maybe even live. There, they will be able to share info of exchange programs, internships, etc. Also, our alumni will always have a place to join GNC as facilitators or suggest ideas for new workshops they would like to manage.
Ligita: Who pays for students to attend GNC?
Bharat: We generally receive payments from students and sometimes universities also fund their students. The conference fee covers everything from the time they arrive in Brussels to the time they leave The Hague. We work very hard in securing scholarships for our applicants. We have so far been able to secure scholarships from companies and private individuals. Going forward, we would like to be in a position to support as many applicants as we can on these scholarships.
Ligita: What are the ways for Leiden Alumni to get involved in GN?
Bharat: There could be multiple ways for our fellow Leiden Alumni to join us in this journey. We have a very interesting referral program in which our coordinators get a fee for helping us recruit students. Additionally, we solicit scholarships for students who otherwise cannot make it to the conference. If you want to help deserving underprivileged students to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity, please get in touch with us ASAP!
Bharat: Where do you see yourself in 5 years with regards to GN?
Ligita:. Hopefully by that time we will have scholarships to cover at least half of the seats in GNC for exceptionally talented students. Also, I really hope that in 5 years GN will be strong and widely recognized educational company with broad alumni network and maybe with conferences in other places outside Europe. Maybe South Africa or India?
Ligita: If we wouldn’t have created GN, where would rather be doing?
Bharat: Working for a law firm and putting my Leiden degree to use :-).