In the motion and spring break

Caitlin Harper
Exchange to St John’s University, Semester 1  2018

As I sit here in Cancun, Mexico at a restaurant having just ordered nachos! I reflect on the past five weeks of my first half of the semester abroad in NYC. Classes are in full swing, and I’ve made some great new friends. I’ve joined a basketball team, and we play every Monday nights. I have been to talks on the 2nd amendment and participated in STEM workshops which will assist in my educational career path.

The classes are different to back home. Instead of a lecture, you have two type tutorial based classes, in which open discussions are facilitated to draw on further learning and connections you may have to the course content from previous experience or gaining the perspectives of others in the class.

Being just a train ride out of New York, I’m in holiday mode while studying at the same time, and it’s a great frame of mind to be in. Through one of my classmates, I was given the opportunity to help out at a soccer program for children from a lower socioeconomic background. This experience took place on Friday afternoon where I helped collect the children from school and partook in an excursion interstate to New Jersey. To engage with these children was an experience and I’ve had the opportunity to sign my name up to further field days they have planned. The ability to connect with people and network studying abroad has shown me so many possible opportunities to gain experience and advance my educational knowledge and development.

On my day off last week, I visited the World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial. I learned that one leaf that survived from the terrible happenings was used to replant a tree to signify growth as a nation after, I got to see this tree in full blossom. I also learned the running water in the stream in the financial district in reach of civilians, works as a psychological theory that people won’t litter if they are in the direct contact of natures beauty. I’m yet to explore more of the city, and as there is so much to see I have decided to write a list to tick off what I have seen and what is yet to see.

This experience is shaping me, and the opportunity I am gaining is enriching. Learning a cultural perspective on many different areas whether it be the area of study I am partaking in, The socializing with American peers or the American way of living I genuinely believe will be an experience that shapes the person I am. If I could suggest study abroad to be an experience everyone partakes in I honestly would. Not only am I learning a lot from my peers and professors but I’m providing my insight that isn’t being taken for granted. Everyone loves an outside perspective and to be able to offer that is seen in the appreciation shown among others. I have classmates applying for exchange now after chatting during class, I have classmates planning Australia trips and asking me 101 questions I’m more than happy to answer, and I have built connections and friendships I know will remain.

I am signing off now, as my food have arrived and I am about to open my notes to start studying for my midterms. Until next time!