Maira Iwato, a Brazilian studying business at Edmonds Community College, is a student in the Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI). Here she shares her experience during the first few weeks of academic classes.
On my first day of classes, I was very, VERY nervous. My biggest concern was not getting to the right classroom on time. Although we had one month of orientation and the NWCCI program had prepared us for almost everything, I was all by myself for the first time.
When I got to the hallway of my classroom I sat on the floor, checked my schedule ten times, and waited patiently until I saw Marie. She is the instructor of my Human Relations classes. I had met her previously on a NWCCI event.
With a big smile, Marie introduced herself to the class and started explaining the syllabus and doing some housekeeping. The syllabus is kind of a contract between professor and students. Housekeeping is a term used to describe other factors about the class that are not related to the subject itself.
On the first day of every class, the instructor usually asks the students to introduce themselves and talk a little about their lives, their past experiences and plans for the future. I don’t think I made a good first impression because I was very shy I didn’t say a word while everyone else was participating. Instructors tend to speak faster than people who are used to talking only with international students so I missed a lot.
As an international student I feel like I have more homework to do than the other students. I rewrite my notes and make sure I don’t misspell anything. Then I “google” a lot! For my business class and my marketing class, I always do some research about local stores, brands and local businesses, trying keep up with my classmates who are already familiar with all that.
At the end of my first week I got a severe headache, didn’t sleep very well, and missed my friends from the NWCCI program a lot.
Now that the first month of classes is almost over I am still having trouble managing my time and sometimes I submit my homework just two hours before the deadline. Plus, writing is still a challenge and homework never ends, but so far, my grades are better than they were when I was in Brazil! Eventually, I realized that it gets easier (and harder) day by day.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S.Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.