Exchange Programme at CSB/SJU
It started with a Personal Interview taken by Fr. Dominic Savio, S.J. and Prof. Amitavo Roy where we were judged on the basis of our Personality, Semester Results and Attendance; It was 18th July 2013 when the Student exchange selection list was declared. I was shortlisted and I decided to not miss the once in lifetime opportunity.
On 3rd October 2013, together with a group of 4 students and accompanied by the Member Secretary, Academic Council, SXC. I went for the exchange programme to College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, Minnesota which is one of the top liberal arts college in the United States.
We reached the university on 8th October after spending 4 days in Chicago for a short excursion. We were welcomed by the co-ordinator of our exchange programme along with the peer mentors.
Being in United states for the first time made me miss home at first, but at the same time it gave me a strong sense of national pride, especially during the occasional mention of ‘India’ in the Global business classes. I realised the importance of India in the Global Business Scenario.
I will never forget my exchange programme to USA. People will keep asking me the highlight of my trip and I honestly have so many great memories to choose from, like going canoeing for the first time, observing the changing colors of maple leaves from green to red during the fall, experiencing the snow fall for the first time, celebrating Halloween- The US way, millions of funny and cherishable conversations , going out with friends to the beach and visiting the cemetery late at nights! All the wonderful places we visited like The Sky Deck, Michigan Lake, Millennium Park, Twin Cities and the ‘Giant’ Mall of America.
Completing this exchange programme has impacted on my future in the following ways:
- New life long friendships
These have been formed with people from the university, fellow exchange students and my co-ordinator. I now feel comfortable approaching strangers and find it easy to form new friendships. I had the opportunity to interact with students from London, Singapore, Korea, Japan, China, Sri-lanka, Ethiopia, and the United States. I am no longer as anxious or shy about meeting new people. The building of my interpersonal skills will help me greatly in the future as I feel like I can now communicate easily with anyone.
- Discussion Based Classes
In the university, Students were given readings and a schedule of class discussions. The classes comprised of one professor who was more like a friend, and around 20 students. We used to discuss about the views of different students on the topics and I was glad to realise that there is no one perfect answer to anything in this world. Students came up with new ideas to approach any topic, tackled questions and worked as a team. Discussion based classes are very healthy if utilised with utmost patience and care.
- Career goals
Spending a month at the university has given me ample time to decide what exactly is my core-competency and has helped me in knowing my real interests in career. We were allowed to attend as many classes as we wanted apart from the selected 4 classes. I used to spend time in the pottery studio, the theatre apart from the compulsory classes.
- Personal growth
Having the opportunity to travel overseas has given me greater awareness of my own national identity. It has also allowed me to widen my perspective and become self-sufficient. I am now always thinking about things from a broader point of view. My world has expanded significantly and with it I have expanded as a person. I am much more self aware and already feel more confident and independent than when I left India.
To the students looking forward to the international experience, I truly feel that “ it’s not the place that matters but what one makes of it ”.
So, Grab the once in a lifetime opportunity and you will get the priceless experience of living abroad as a student and making friends from all over the world. Most importantly, you will understand how fortunate we are to have such a diverse heritage and culture that other countries dream about.
In the words of Mark Twain, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails”
Explore. Dream. Discover
* This article has been published in The X-ecutive, Annual Management Journal of St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata (Ed. 2014-15)
Published by Pravesh Mull