Welcome Speech to our 3rd Cohort

One year ago, we stood where you stand now. Eager, Excited, and more or less ready to board LAS – this ship sailing into the open sea.

In the beginning, we were overwhelmed by the vast ocean of possibilities that lay ahead of us. We traded the firm ground for the swaying of the deck beneath our feet.

We knew that a ship is safest in the harbour, but that’s not what ships are built for. So we left for somewhere yet unknown. There were no riverbanks to guide us, and no borders we could hold on to, except perhaps for the horizon. And even this silver lining vanished as soon as we approached it. You need only climb the mast to see it change and broaden. It seemed that there was no land in sight.

The only hope we had were the shining stars above. We could believe in them. These ever-fixed marks of unknown origin gave us comfort, but they did not yet help us find our way.

Over the course of time, however, the ship’s officers supplied us with  instruments, and we learned to not only admire the stars, but to navigate with their help. The officers taught us methods so we could trust not only in the stars, but in ourselves.

As you are now, we were warmly welcomed by the first generation of sailors which had already been traveling on board for a year. When we arrived, they had refilled the supplies, prepared our cabins and scrubbed the decks.

Confronted with the duties, difficulties and pleasures of a voyager’s life, all of us soon formed a lively crew and more than one soulmate was found in the middle of the ocean. At least 6 romances were observed on board. We discovered the freedom of lawless territory, and we acknowledged the need to form our own laws.

Assignments and tests were only some of the pirates who tried to steel our free time, but we had cannons on board, and we fired words and arguments at them until they could persist no longer.

From time to time, experienced captains, mighty adventurers and well-travelled cartographers joined us on our journey and gave us advice and direction. They provided recommendations, lectures and speeches on our decks, and set the fire of aspiration in our hearts.

Close trading links were established too with the old seafaring nation of the Netherlands. Well-equipped ships from Maastricht supported us on our voyage, and we visited them in their home port.

Our ship carried many of the older sailors towards foreign harbors. They will stay there for a year to retrieve yet unknown treasures of knowledge. LAS outposts are being established all over the world.

We do not only want to spread across the world, but every courageous sailor from any part of the world is welcome upon our deck!

Now you arrived, and once again, the ship has been polished, expanded and refurbished. We added a third sail to carry all of us along, and you will be the ones to set it.

Together, we will witness stormy days, and drunken nights on our ship. Sometimes the wind will carry you, and sometimes you will need to pick up the row yourself. But be assured: you can always count on the rest of the crew beside you.

One of the hardest challenges to come will be that of orientation. With nothing but water around you, you will often not know where to go. You will have many opportunities to choose new courses and it will not be an easy choice, for each course withholds its own benefits and difficulties. Some intellectual streams will carry you along and others you will observe only in the passing.

While we all make our own choices and experiences, we are all part of this expedition. Every crew member shapes this ship. So take this opportunity; set colourful sails! carve your notes into the railing! Whenever you encounter a leak, fix it with your knowledge. Leave your mark. Take over the steering wheel and be part of our crew!

Welcome on board, LAS students 2014!

©Charlotte Kersting & Max Fischer

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