I am always excited when I have to start something, no matter if it’s a diet, project, or a new book chapter. It’s like a journey – you never know where, when and how it’s going to end. But most of all, I had been always thrilled before the beginning of a new school year. (I admit – I was a nerd). Somehow I knew that not only I was going to learn a lot of useful things (useless as well), but I would spend a lot of time with my friends, creating some long last memories during the ride called education.
Now, can you imagine my excitement while I was waiting for my first semester at Computer System Institute to start? No?! Well, first of all, that meant that I was about to start studying in the USA, for the very first time, and wasn’t really sure what to expect. Challenge. I liked it. Second, learning foreign language while studying, could be overwhelming, but definitely manageable. Another challenge. And maybe the most interesting thing: the opportunity to meet people from all around the world. Priceless.
The semester started almost 10 months ago, but I still can recall our orientation day like it was yesterday. And let’s be honest, you can’t get rid easily of the impressions you make the first day.
All students gathered in the lobby around 11 am, as instructed, and looked pretty confused to me, while waiting for people in charge of taking pictures for our student’s ID’s to finish the task, so we could move to the classroom. Most of them were alone, just like me, but many had friends from their own countries. How jealous I was at that time, listening their conversation in their native languages! I wished my friends were there. Or, at list one. Not that I am shy, scared or uncommunicative, it’s more about sharing that moment with someone you like, someone who would understand your emotions even if you don’t discuss it. Since I couldn’t do anything about that, I was doing what I like to do the most: observe people.
First impression – all employees were quite young. “Are those guys teachers?” I was wondering. I hoped they were. I find it’s easier to make connection with someone who is close to your age. Sorry, older teachers, I do respect you as well, it’s just not the same feeling!
Second impression, they really wanted us to fell welcomed. It was obvious they put a lot of effort in preparing everything.
Third impression, not only all students were foreigners, you could hear some accents from the staff, too. I liked it, I liked it so much! Real melting pot, in the basement of a huge building on 29 E Madison.
But, when we moved to the classroom, I knew they bought me forever: I saw chocolate and snacks on every single table! Someone mentioned a diet? I don’t think so! 🙂
As we sit, I was looking around, trying to remember as many faces as possible, hoping that I would see some of them in my classroom. Although it didn’t happened, since we all belonged to different programs and levels, I was happy that day knowing that there were so many students just like me: foreign, with desire to learn the language so I could try to achieve my goals. It was also very nice and soothing knowing that I was surrounded with professionals who spent the next two hours explaining in details what programs the school offers, what could we expect from each semester, who we might talk to in case we have any problem or concern, and the most important thing for all foreign students: they led us through complicated US immigration system, our obligations and rights, reminding us of crucial deadlines we had to respect in order to keep our student status. (And they still do.)
I started my journey at CSI. I believe I am on the right track, so far enjoying the ride. Are you ready to join me or you are already on the same track?
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