West Virginia University – Interior Design
Transition Between Home and AIU London
Culture shock affects many students when they enter a new country, but for many ways I had already prepared myself for that, the hardest part for me in fact was going home. The transition from West Virginia University to AIU London was definitely different though, considering that WVU has almost 30,000 student and pretty much makes up the entire town of Morgantown and AIU is quite small and is located in the center of London. The first thing that really surprised me was that the buildings for AIU were spread around the streets of London and unless you were really looking for them they really are not that noticeable.
Other differences were the way the classes were structured at AIU everything was essay based and the classes were almost 3 hours long. At WVU, classes are all multiple choice and are usually only in 45 minute increments. The teaching style was a little more hands on; we traveled to different places for class and went on field trips. That usually does not happen at WVU because the classes are too large. Another thing that was hard to get used to was the 45 minute commute to and from class every day, at first I got lost everyday and hated it, but after I figured out my way around it was exciting to walk down the streets of London every day and see the sights. I just looked at it in a positive way instead of complaining about it and I learned something new every time.
The transition back to WVU was actually quite hard because I went from living in a fast paced city with friends everywhere and three other roommates to being home for a week and having to go back down to school, Morgantown and live in an apartment by myself and start right back to work and summer classes. I was very depressed and felt like I had no one to talk to about my experience and even if they seemed interested they really did not understand what I was going through. I was lucky though that one of my roommates goes to Ohio State University, which is only two hours away from me so we have kept in touch and visited each other. We have also been there for each other to talk about our transition back home and how to get through the tough times in the beginning.
My classes took some time to get used to and get back in the swing of things because I was so used to studying for essay exams and then to have to take Accounting 2 and Macroeconomics was tough. In addition, all of my friends graduated when I was in London in May so I did not have any of their support back at school. However, with the support of my family and friends I got through my transition and being chosen to be a Student Ambassador has really helped because I am able to talk about my experiences with people that are interested in studying abroad and have as many questions as I did. I love being able to help them out, so they will not have to go through the same things that I did when I was getting ready to study abroad. Though it was hard to adjust, I would do it all over again in a second because I would not miss such a life changing experience!
Travel is something, which everyone can gain from and it is the transitions of travel that can open people. There is something honorable about venturing away from one's familiarities and becoming the foreigner. Often colors, which are hidden even to oneself are exposed and, whether good or bad, push for personal growth. Through travel and the transitions resulting, people find themselves because they are finally exposed to themselves. And that's what makes travel so great.
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