GLOBAL CONNECT

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Manojna Lanka

Undergraduate Student

FLAME University

Semester abroad @Wellesley College, USA

 
There are some experiences that come your way that you never expect will have such an impact on your life. When I came to FLAME, I never anticipated the prospect of doing a semester abroad, but words can’t explain how glad I am that I ended up applying for it.

Wellesley College is one of the best in the United States, and even now, I can’t believe that I was given the opportunity to experience an entire semester as a student there.

Though it’s not the first time I’ve been to the US, there was a certain thrill in being able to live there independently and experience the college life it has to offer. It was amazing to see how different yet similar it was to my life at FLAME.

I went for this exchange semester with another student, Shreya Agarwal, who happens to be one of my close friends, which made the experience even better. Initially, we were wary of a lot of things. Firstly, Wellesley is an all-girls college, and we had never experienced that before. We were also nervous about the kind of reception we’d get and how intense the courses would be. The minute we reached the campus though, we genuinely felt all of our worries slowly evaporating just because of the sheer amount of warmth we were welcomed with. Everyone we interacted with was so excited to have us and that made me even more enthusiastic for the semester. Similar to FLAME, we had peer mentors, or mentors from the student body who showed us around and told us everything we needed to know. What also helped was the fact that all the exchange students as well as transfer students were in this group together, so we had a great starting point to make friends. The campus itself was beautiful, especially since we went while it was snowing. They had exceptional resources for the students in terms of any possible thing they may need ranging from their dining halls to the 24-hour availability of therapists for the students.

With the reputation Wellesley College has for its demanding courses, I was admittedly nervous when classes were starting, especially since I was taking intensive Economics courses together that students normally spread across their semesters. What I realized very early on though, is how dedicated each professor is both to their subject as well as their students. I felt like they genuinely cared about the performance of each of their students, and they never faltered in providing any time and resources that a student may need. Each of my courses had extremely challenging course work, and a problem set or paper due every week. However, we also had teaching assistants as well as regular office hours with the professors who helped us immensely. I felt challenged in the best way possible, and I felt the passion from the professors as well as the students, which kept me motivated. Though the work did get overwhelming towards the end, there was never lack of support or resources to get the students through whatever they were facing.

Another wonderful thing about Wellesley was their almost endless list of activities and events that kept happening throughout the semester. Other than the productions and performances put on by their clubs and organizations, we also experienced events that only happen at Wellesley, like the Spring carnival, where there were rides, food, photo booths and even baby animals to pet, or like LDOC, the last day of classes, that featured a whole concert. We got to watch the Boston Marathon, or Marathon Monday in action, since Wellesley is located at the half way point, which was one of my best experiences there. We also took the time to explore the city itself, and Boston definitely didn’t disappoint. Since we were so close to Cambridge, we often went to the MIT and Harvard campuses, and even made friends with several students from MIT, Harvard, Boston University and Babson. But what I will truly remember are the days we’d sit after classes with our friends in one of the student run cafes, or by the lake just taking it all in.

My exchange semester at Wellesley College was by far one of the best experiences of my life, and has made for some of my best memories. I made friends I never expected to make, that I think will last a life time, and learnt things I never thought I would. I never expected the impact this semester would have on my life, and I will forever be thankful for the opportunity.