Wind dominates the campus as a cloudy sky becomes the norm and rumors of snow begin to circulate. Lectures and seminars have been going for two weeks now and I am beginning to catch the rhythm of things. Very different from Linfield, the student-professor divide is strong and discussions are limited to small group seminars. While role is taken in all my modules, the professors stress the importance of self discipline for success in any course. The need for independent learning and self discipline has definitely come up with all the “leisure” time we have in between lectures. Also many of the professors assign books but don’t assign page numbers so it's up to the independent student to find the most relevant information. Personally, I am biased towards our Linfield system having grown up in a more directed U.S. education system, but I’m also enjoying the freedom that independent learning allows. It leaves more room for discovery instead of sticking to a clearly marked path already put in place by a professor. I feel so privileged to have this opportunity to be exposed to a totally different education system because it’s forcing me to reflect back on my own, both the good and the bad.
However, this self-reflection has not been limited to the classroom. Over the last couple of weeks I have learned to notice so much about my own culture (both American and Mexican) that I never would have otherwise. For example how we greet each other casually (we might say “what’s up” not “you all right”) and what side of the foot path we walk on (right not the left). These are all very small differences, but they are differences we have built into our identities here. As an intercultural communication major you can imagine how interesting I am finding all of this. On a completely separate note, I have now gotten involved in a few different things on campus. These have helped me stay busy and social and have led me towards a feeling of integration. I have joined the CU (Christian Union), found a church in a nearby town, and joined the travel society. Another aspect of uni (college/university) that’s really grown over the past weeks is the connections I’ve made in my block (my wing in the hall). It’s all girls and very small, so it feels like Pioneer or Grover would back home. Everyone knows each other and we all hang out together, so living in my block has helped me adjust tremendously. As for our Linfield family, a few of us are off to London for the weekend. I am sure this first trip will prove to be a very memorable experience for all of us!