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A little bit on Academics

Time April 15th, 2016 in 2016 Spring, College Study Abroad, England, First Generation Scholars | 1 Comment by

So this one will be a bit of a rant but I thought I should mention academics since well we are here to STUDY abroad… Here are my observations: when I have been told that academics are more ‘hands off” and ‘independent’ it is meant to say your grade depends on the number of hours you spend in the library ­­or rather the amount of hours it appears that one spent in the library. I have also noticed that I felt much more uneasy about just how well I was grasping the material because the modules do not give assessments often to make sure people aren’t left behind. Perhaps the saddest realization was noticing that the system is so obsessed with some false comfort of equality that they do not make the effort to accommodate those that may struggle more. By this I mean not everyone knows the nuances of the policies and rules of different colleges so as to properly navigate extensions, due dates, and exam dates­­ especially students used to a different system who arrived mid term. Instead of making some feel like they should know this or that, this info should come naturally and there should be a focus on equity over equality so that special resources are given to the minorities that are disadvantaged like first generation students, minorities, international, and study abroad students. Things should be consolidated and distributed in clear and transparent ways to make the focus of the institution helping people succeed at all costs, ­­inclusive excellence at all levels for all people: no matter their background, shortcomings, or identity.

 

 

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It’s All about the Money, Money, Money :(

Time April 15th, 2016 in 2016 Spring, College Study Abroad, England, First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

Okay so last I left you all with a few of my favorite places to eat. This time I want to talk about how to afford them. So, everyone told me how expensive London would be very expensive. I kinda brushed it off because I took it as a necessary evil. After being here for a while, I must say PLEASE LISTEN WHEN THEY SAY IT’S EXPENSIVE. Now, I wholeheartedly believe that this time abroad has been some of the best time of my life. I have grown in wonderful ways and I’ll blog about this another time. However, these moments of self growth sometimes come at a price. I was fortunate enough to have a scholarship and funding from my home institution. Even then I had to borrow thousands of dollars for this experience. If that is an option for you and/or your family then please consider studying abroad in a place as expensive as London. And if you can here are some tips to manage your money: convert your balance into GBP and think of that as how much you have, never forget that prices are not dollars, and ration everything from food to fun. Another thing: if you want to avoid a 3% fee on everything you spend, put some money in Bank of America because they work with Barklays to keep you from getting charged. Well I think that’s all I have to say for now.

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Let’s talk Food

Time April 15th, 2016 in 2016 Spring, College Study Abroad, England, First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

So my last post was a while ago and kinda serious. This time let’s talk about something more light­hearted and universal: FOOD!!! So idk about you but one of my biggest comforts in life is food. I love to cook and love trying new food from different cultures. So coming abroad I naturally felt so excited to try new things and see what I loved. Well, the particular area that I am in has my favorite things on every corner: chicken wings and pizza :) Now disclaimer, of course these things are not healthy and if not consumed wisely will lead to a lifestyle of poor physical wellness. With that said, omg I cannot say how happy I am with these stores. Back home if I want wings without the fuss of making them I have to go to BWW or Wing Stop which adds up fast. Here, i get 4 wings for 1GPB. Now, if you’re looking for something less fast food and more dine­in, I highly recommend a place called Tayyab’s. It’s a hole in the wall in White Chapel that has amazing Indian food. I was very pleased with the service, quality of food, and actually affordable prices (well for London that is lol). Those are definitely my favorite food choices here. Hope you find these helpful! See you next time :)

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Getting Used to Your New Home

Time April 15th, 2016 in 2016 Spring, College Study Abroad, England, First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

So of course moving to a new environment can be quite jarring yet rewarding. The important part is learning to navigate these emotions, honor them by validating your lived experience, and of course being patient and creating an action plan to succeed in your new environment. Before I get into tips I want to be the first to say that moving away will result in various reactions and emotions that will manifest differently in different people­­basically there is no wrong or right way to react. I personally was super excited when I first arrived and didn’t really miss my home at all the first few months. With that said, adopting a new lifestyle was difficult for me. I struggled to make new friends, delve into academics, and travel around. So here are my tips: talk to everyone! Make sure you find the people that will be your support system both in and out of the classroom. Make sure your professors and administrators know you and that you are studying abroad because it helps a lot. And always make sure you make time for yourself to evaluate why you’re here and what you want from this journey.

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The Journey Begins

Time January 25th, 2016 in 2016 Spring, College Study Abroad, England, First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

As a first generation student, I have always been torn between feeling forced into independence yet feeling like I desperately need guidance. Yet, there I was signing contracts, booking flights, and packing to get ready for six months in London—a place where I would have to fend for myself. At first I was really excited for the journey. I knew it would be challenging but I also knew it would help me grow and give me the time and space to grow as a person. Well, I begin to reevaluate everything as I pack up my belongings from college and can’t help but feel anxious. Everyone else finishes finals and just leaves with a warm, “see you in a month.” Yet, I have to empty out everything and wouldn’t see any of them for close to 8 months. As I drove away I began to accept it. I convinced myself it would be fine. I had a friend from school going with me so I wouldn’t be alone. The excitement continued. A few days before I fly, my mom tells me a story about her childhood. She tells me of her humble upbringing and of the immense poverty she never actually noticed. She confessed to me that she never knew she was poor. That being the youngest of 8 children she was always protected. Only until she heard the stories and saw pictures of herself did she realize just how poor she was. So with tears in her eyes she told me she wishes she could’ve given me a better life. That she wishes she could shield me from all the pain of the world. Well what mother wouldn’t? Yet, I had never stopped to think of all the sacrifices and hardships she had undergone simply to survive and the many more for me to be where I am. Never realized that for so many years my mom has genuinely believed she had let me down. Well, as I got on the plane I realized something. As a first generation student I have felt alone and unequipped for most of my academic career, and at that moment I realized that I had never been alone. For every accomplishment I achieved or every shortcoming I faced my parents have been there to love me and support me. The truth is what my parents could not give me in academic support they gave me in moral support. So much so that I was oblivious all these years. I know I must sound like a privileged, spoiled, and frankly inconsiderate brat. And you’d be right. As the plane took off I realized that for once in my life I felt like I understood my place. I finally accepted who I was, who my family was, and how they shaped the person I am. So, I arrive to London with a mission to further understand the parts of my identity I so naively neglected. As cliché as it is I have to say that this journey has changed my life forever and it’s only just begun. I urge you all to learn more about your heritage, challenge what it means to be alone, and to turn to your mothers and thank them for everything they’ve done for us. So in summary, I was anxious and nervous yet excited about this trip. Like anyone would be. And in all that emotional mess I managed to find parts of myself and of my parents that have shown me how blessed I am. I am excited for the rest of the journey and what it has in store for me. Thank you for your time and stay tuned for my next entry about how I’ve adapted to the city. I promise it’ll be a lighter read

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