The airplane slowly made the last circle in the sky and landed. The door opened and I walked toward the completely unknown world. I have been to America for the first time in my life.
My journey from the Czech Republic, which is in Central Europe, took me almosta whole day. Getting up around 3 a. m., I traveled with my parents to the neighboring country of Poland from where I flew for almost ten hours to Chicago. I successfully ended up at the Goshen College campus.
During the beginning days at Goshen College, I was surprised in a positive way by American temperament. Everybody is polite and smiles lot. Both teachers and students have been open and helpful. It has not been difficult to make new friends and feel accepted.
I think Czechs are generally more reserved. We do not show many emotions, especially when we meet somebody for the first time. But if we get familiar with the stranger, we are warm -hearted and loyal companions.
The biggest difference between the Czech Republic and the United States that I have noticed so far is the absence of people in the streets. In my home country,people walk a lot to do their shopping or to get to work. They also spend great amount of time in the gardens of the houses.
However, with the distances between schools, shops and services being quite big, even within small towns, it is understandable that Americans use cars more often.
I have been especially passionate about experiencingthe American educational system. As a journalism and English double major back home, one of my personal goals was to study media in the country where it actually developed. Finally, I have realized thatthe system of education in the United States and the Czech Republic is completely different.
Czech students usually have to study a lot of theory. They attend lectures, make notes and read articles in academic journals or university textbooks. Small quizzes are not very common, so students enjoy a lot of free time during the academic year.
Nevertheless, at the end of each semester there is almost a whole month of tests and oral exams. Students have to memorize information, which they gained during the semester all at once.
What I appreciate about studying in America is the emphasis on practical skills. Studentsattend internships in TV and radio stations and run their own projects. They have to know how to use recording devices and microphones. This extends their professional experience.
I was surprised when I found out that I would operatethe camera in one of the lessons.I have never shot before because back in my home country, I focused on written reporting. At first, I was scared but then it turned out to be an exciting challenge.
Sometimes it is difficult for me to put up with all of the cultural differences. When I feel homesick I try to recall my personal goals that I would like to achieve here. These are improving on my English, experiencing a new kind of media education and learning American culture.I am sure that with Goshen College’s supportive background, I will reach all of them successfully.