“I plunged into a pool full of different cultures, and this is the greatest part of my exchange experience.”

“I plunged into a pool full of different cultures, and this is the greatest part of my exchange experience.”

September 12, 2018

To overcome challenges of learning to express herself, these are the experiences of AUCA senior student Aian Kadyrova during her exchange semester in Bard College, Annandale, New York. Read Aian’s story here:

            I am so thankful to everybody who made this semester of education in Bard College possible. I plunged into a pool full of different cultures, and this is the greatest part of my exchange experience. These four months of being abroad surrounded by different people cannot be replaced by any substitute in educational system, because the way my mind was actually challenged by adapting to an absolutely new social environment led to the outcomes of substantial meaning.

            Even though AUCA is very similar to Bard College, there are differences that made me learn something not related to classroom topics and extremely useful in real life. I found myself able to express my opinion and not to be afraid of it. Before coming to Bard I used to believe I am not the type of person to share my point of view out loud with a group of people. I would call it emotional violence against a person, who is made to speak without the willing to do so. However, here, in Bard, no one ever asked me, I did talk to people, because atmosphere and all the people convince you that you are desired to be heard in the friendliest way, and whatever you have to say has its own special meaning.

            Unbelievable variety of views held by my newly acquired friends pushed me toward a sharp realization of cultural relativism in its whole nature. I saw from experience: nothing must be universal. Moreover, I was looking at some of my beliefs repeatedly, testing them, because of indirect learning from my peers. This “life research” means a lot to me, not even for a paradigm shift I made for myself, but for one single thing I accept and admit that nothing wrong with people being different from you and even you are changing, thus getting different from younger self.

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