Reflecting back on my 1st semester at Whitman


It is hard to believe that my first semester here at Whitman has come and gone.  It seems like only yesterday that I was packing up all my stuff and preparing for life outside my country.  Time does fly really fast. These past few months have were extremely intense and I know this sounds cliche, but I am learning new things every day, both academically and culturally.

As I take the time over this winter break to reflect back on my first semester, I wanted to share some of the key aspects of life as an MBA student that I have learned and continuing to grasp as I move forward into the Spring.

The culture shock I experienced upon my arrival here doesn’t exist anymore. – Things that seemed strange when I first got here appear pretty normal to me now.  Not only can I confidently deal with different people and situations, but it has become part of my everyday routine.  No longer do I feel the anxiety of sharing my ideas or discussing my point of view with my fellow classmates, as I know now that my opinion matters and valued when having discussions both in and out of the classroom.

I can be good friends with people from different countries. – One of the things I realized in the last few months is that, even though people from different countries have different ways of life and thought processes, on an emotional level, we are all the same.  This has helped me to connect with different groups of people and truly enjoy the international experience!  The importance of working in a team – Teamwork is the one thing that is highly emphasized at Whitman – has really helped me to continue growing my communication skills in ways that I had not originally thought of.  With being in a team of four people with three different nationalities, although we had our discrepancies initially, over the months we have come to respect our differences and work towards a common goal.  From these experiences, I have come to see that working with a team is not only educational, but insanely fun too!

American football is entertaining. – As an international student, American football was something truly foreign to me.  Initially, all I could see in the game was people knocking each other over brutally and then running with the ball.  However, after I saw a live match between Syracuse and Duke at the Carrier Dome here on-campus, my perception changed.  This game can be so much fun, once you learn the rules.  Also, the support and following that our University personifies enhances the atmosphere within the stadium, which truly makes the game so much interesting!

I miss my country a lot more than I thought. – Although I am blending in well with the new culture and making so many new friends, I miss my country a lot!  It is tough being away from all my loved ones and the places I grew up in.  However, the environment at Whitman has truly been wonderful and I am happy to have met so many nice people who made me welcome here!

Varun Group Shot

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