As Studies Begin Abroad

Read all the exciting things our scholars have been up to!

Each of my posts so far has expressed a sense of beginning; I suppose this will be the third in a row to do the same. Students in our program began attending classes on Monday. It was a significant and busy week thereafter as we figured out enrollment and credit transfers.

Even as my friends and I are in the same overarching program, we come from different universities and backgrounds. With this, everyone has different academic requirements to fulfill and personal goals to accomplish. SIP students may take classes run by SIP and classes directly run by the university departments, though all are on the campus and accredited.

Enrollment in the SIP courses are simple because the courses are more or less designed to work for foreign students. Enrollment in other department courses are slightly more complicated because students here do not typically take classes across departments. Communication within departments is thus quite strong, sometimes at the expense of inter-departmental arrangements. We did not really have complete course listings or accurate time/room information. Course offerings vary by semester, as they do in US universities. This is another point of consideration for most of us because of specific requirements for our majors.

In this aspect, I am lucky. My degree requirements are effectively complete, and I had the option to graduate last spring. Therefore, I am not obligated to choose classes based on how they would transfer, though I had discussed certain preferred courses with my university advisors.

This is the courtyard in the Life Sciences building, the building in which one of the classes I had attended this week is held.
Immunology class is held in the Life Sciences building; this is the courtyard

We attended a number of different classes this week to test out which are at our level, fit our schedules, work with our degrees. I have enjoyed the search actually, even though many of the classes had already had a few sessions before we came. Basic Hindi, Sociocultural Understandings of Food and Nutrition in India, and Development Theory and Community Engagement are ones I will surely take. I had wanted to take a few economics courses but judged that they would not suit me for various reasons. My fourth class, then, will be either immunology or medical anthropology. I liked both and will decide between them officially in the following days.

Outside of academics, it was such a fun and, again, busy week. Last week in the first days at Tagore, our AIFS group met other semester SIP students from Norway, as well as other American students from another provider. There are 18 of us in total. We all met long-term students from classes this week, too, mostly from India.

Everyone I have met is so sweet, and I love being in the company of friends both old (not really, but it often seems so) and new. Throughout the week, we have spent time practicing soccer, basketball, volleyball. I am truly not at all skilled in these, but they have made for mornings and evenings well spent. As summer students’ time at the university ended, SIP hosted a little concert featuring re-interpreted use of the violin. One of our AIFS directors is active in local theatre, and we were able to see her performance last night at a cute outdoor arena.

The group en route to Mushroom Rock
En route to Mushroom Rock

Earlier today, some of us took a long walk to a cool formation known as Mushroom Rock. It was a nice time, of course, and a peaceful afternoon. As far as I can tell, enriching courses and friendships will make up the theme for my last semester as an undergraduate university student.