Sitting on my bed at midnight, I am reflecting on my time here at Drexel, and in the US generally. This year has been an interesting one for me, in many respects. I have had several opportunities that have helped me experience growth, learning and helped me become – my study abroad at Drexel being one of them.
Having the US education and living experience has always been on my list; I wanted to have a first-hand experience here different from what I read on the news or videos that I watched online. This was one of the primary reasons I applied for a study abroad program in the US rather than continuing my study at my home university.
Drexel University introduced me to an entirely new pedagogical system. I mentioned this in my earlier blog posts where I wrote that the mode of teaching here is relatively more involved than what I was used to. This involvement also meant more class works, group works, assignments, discussions, papers etc., which was also more work than I was used to. Nonetheless, I would say that this new system has helped me improve my time-management skills and organization. The courses I took this quarter were all exciting in many ways. My courses in CCI built on my existing technical knowledge and introduced me to new ideas. I also took two courses outside my fields: an African history and an STS course. These classes seemed quite personal; I always felt like my contributions were needed and that they counted. I especially experienced this in the history class where I felt like I was involved in meaningful conversations and learning, instead of just having lecture notes being read to me. The assessment style was also a different system for me. It was great knowing that all work done during the semester counted to my final grade and that it was not dependent on just one day of exam.
Philadelphia has grown on me over the past months. Although I have certain reservations about the city, I also think there are several things to like about Philly. As someone coming from Germany, it was easier to find products that catered to my needs, from simple things such as easily finding curly hair products at a store to finding several shades of foundation for darker skin. I presume this may not be specific to Philly and such products could be easily purchased in other US cities, but it stands out for me because it was not as simple to find these specific products in most places in Germany. Additionally, Philly’s proximity to cities such as New York and Washington DC has afforded me the opportunity to easily visit them and add to my US experience.
I had my last exams earlier this week, which has slowly brought my program at Drexel to an end. I am thankful for the experience that allowed me to meet wonderful people and make acquaintances of them, to have interesting classes that have made me more knowledgeable in the respective field, and that has given me the opportunity to explore other US cities.
Leaving one’s home to travel to an entirely new continent, adjust to a new environment, and learn the culture of the people there certainly takes courage and I am glad that I got the opportunity to experience this growth.