Monday, October 21, 2013

A Personal Challenge

Since my last post, I've finally begun my classes. Studies here are definitely different than back in the US, but I already knew that. Self motivation and discipline are what drives them forward. There are no spelled out homework assignments to hand in every day. I have 3 core modules and 2 optional ones while most of my friends in other courses only have 4 total. I am taking People and World Organizations, International Business, Accounting for Non-Financial Managers, Strategic Management, and Economic Environment of Business. Yes, lectures and tutorials take up a lot of time, but when all is said and done, it's up to me to push myself as hard as I can to be diligent about the reading. I'm pleased to say that the library has welcomed me with open arms. I almost always do all of my work there because I derive motivation from all of the people working around me. The reading takes hours to get through, but I find something very satisfying when I am able to say 'challenge accepted' and come out on top. Even when I am in the library facing a seemingly unending amount of journal articles and book chapters, my friends, who have also become part of the library inventory, manage to make it fun for me. Between making faces, drawing on fruit and laughing about awkward sentence structures, we are self-proclaimed nerds. And I am totally okay with that. 

"Growing up is a trap, don't do it." Michael Porter said it, so it must be true.

On a lighter note, it's important to find a balance. I work hard all week without allowing for distractions, but I am also a morning/day person, so I finish all my work by early evening, and then I relax and recover. On weekends, I still have a life. Study abroad is more than just books and libraries. I am still meeting more new and fascinating people, my friends and I still find time to go out, hang out, and explore. Just this past weekend our group spent a day running around London. I still marvel at the fact that all ten of us, being completely different people from mostly different places, can find so much in common and can organize ourselves into a productive and cohesive team. By spending time together we're definitely learning outside of the classroom. As all self-proclaimed nerds should do. 

International Love

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Other Side of the Pond

It's been almost a month since I arrived in Birmingham. While the first two weeks were busy running errands and getting everything set up, the time that followed could not be any more different. I was (an am) fortunate to meet and befriend a group of over 10 people from completely different countries, and we have stuck together through the orientation and social events of the past week and a half. I don't remember the last time I had this much fun. Being surrounded by so much diversity makes me forget sometimes that I am in England. It just feels like I am in a place of coexistence. Can you blame me when I interact with people from Germany, Slovenia, UAE, Norway, Greece, India, Nigeria, France, China, Russia, and USA on a daily basis? 

Like I said I've been busy with orientation events and seminars. I am still worried about what the start of  classes will bring, but my friends bring me so much support and happiness that I think we can handle it together. Freshers events are great as well, although I am sad to say that I have caught a cold. I think my immune system went on vacation. 

Last Saturday some of my new friends and I went on the trip to Stonehenge. I am so glad Aston organized this trip because I didn't get to go the last time I was in England. Other than the schedule trips and events, my friends and I are enjoying Birmingham. We often joke that we have our own orientation events because in addition to the ones on the induction timetable, we have been going out, exploring the city and visiting the museum and the Bull Ring. 

Like one of my favorite street art murals near the museum says: "Todo es posible!"