On 23rd May 2014, my blank passport got stamped with a visa for United States of America, and from the day, I was left with counting days to leave my country. So many paper works were still left to be done after Visa. On 2nd June I flew to new world.
Flying in airplane for the first time was an awesome experience, I felt like flying in the sky. Flying continuous for more than 10 hours over the large ocean make me realize inside that I was really making my way very far from my country.
In my mind, US was like what I used to watch in Hollywood movies, gigantic skyscrapers, large sea, beach crowed with people, fantasy long bridge over the sea etc etc.
Unlike that when I came to SIUC, I found US was something different from my imagination. Though I was happier because I already stepped there. I found the school in a very nice environment, peace, no crowd, open green spaces, greeneries and trees all around, a perfect place for university. This gave me a feel of my hometown too. The university is several times bigger than my university in Nepal.
On 9th June was the first class and that was Regional Architecture Studio. I had a class at 8 am, I reached there by time but I lost first 10 minutes to find my class. When I entered, I was quiet nervous when everybody looked at me. I felt as if, I was not an international student but I was standing among so many international students. So many other students knew each other since they were friends form undergraduate and they already had their group. I find everything is very different from ours. All the works are to be done by due date, everything goes as per schedule and form the very first day loaded with assignments. The first class was used to be introduction class where you are introduced with your subject, chapters, syllabus and then time to go home. I felt the same thing would happen here that the first day would be the introduction class and then from there I would get time to visit University Lake. But no, it’s not like that what I was planning for the first day. On the very first day we were given some chapters to study and then to discuss and again other stuffs to study and finally assigned the first assignment that is to be completed by next day. Class took all the hours as per scheduled, no chances of being off before time…
I laughed at me that I was cooking something else in my mind and told myself “Oh my God, if this is the first day, how is going to be the rest of semester”
It takes a pretty time to adjust in new environment and especially when you are an international. The first week was very messed up. It took me time to understand what others are talking about. And honestly I say first week was very painful. But slowly I made new friends, Kyle, Stephen, Huy, Evan and made a circle of friends. They were very helpful and kind to me which made me easier to interact and to know what was happening here. For the summer classes my professor was Stewart Wessel whom I found to be very understanding, loving and helpful.
Once I was asked what surprises you here the most, and my reply was “everything here, at first surprises me”. But the two of the things in the entire semesters that were very fascinating to me was the Digital Fabrication Lab where architectural model are cut by machine where you don’t have to spend a lot of time cutting by hands and the 3d printers, the advanced technology. And second was the site at Rend Lake where we have to visit the site by car. On the beginning of the semester we were given a very big site for our design studio which I ever had worked so far, neither professionally nor academically.
However, the summer semester ended in a while, learning and exploring regional architecture and the credit goes to friends here and the most to my professor Wessel who understood my situation how an international face in the beginning.