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A valuable experience

Author: Time:2020-08-30

The school motto of Cuiying Honors College is "I have the world, the world has me". As a member of Cuiying Honors College, I naturally hope to get an opportunity to go abroad and see the world. After a period of preparation, I was qualified to go to the University of California San Diego(UCSD) for a three-month exchange during my winter vacation. Although the three-month period is short, it is also an official semester of the school, which means that during this time we will study 2-3 complete professional courses. What's more, the course arrangement is still relatively compact. During this time, the local student and I listened to the class together, answered questions during office hour of the professor, and talked with the teaching assistant in the discussion class. I genuinely experienced American college campus life and learned about the lifestyle of many Americans. Although the experience is not so perfect due to the epidemic, there is no doubt that this experience is unforgettable.

When I first arrived in San Diego, I was impressed by the blue velvet sky. However, it was accompanied by the excessively bright sunshine all year round. I had only seen one or two rainy days during these three months, and the temperature there had always been around 20 degrees. UCSD is in a small town called La Jolla in the north of San Diego. The school is relatively new, so there are not many Gothic ancient buildings. Instead, there are buildings full of modern art. The campus is so large that it is easy to get lost. Fortunately, the teaching buildings are concentrated. The necessary distance between any two buildings is less than ten minutes of walking distance, so we don’t have to worry about missing the next class in another building.

After a few days of freshman education and activities, we entered the teaching weeks. For exchange students, we were asked to select courses after the students of the UCSD school selected their courses. And in order to choose the class, we must obtain the consent of the instructor in person. So, the first two or three weeks would be busy. I needed to listen to many courses and asked the instructor whether I could register. The professors were very kind, and some were even very enthusiastic, such as Professor Rhoades, who taught us Algebraic Topology. He was excited when he saw me holding a registration card because he had been worried that too few people would take this course, which would affect the classroom atmosphere. And the basic classes would be more difficult to choose because many students needed to take those courses. For example, Discrete Math & Graph Theory had no free capacity for the first two weeks, and I did not register until the last week of registration. Finally, I registered for two math majors on the main campus and an Extension course. I also listened to a mathematics class called Algebraic Combination with the permission of the professor.

Studying in a foreign country is a challenging thing. However, for mathematics students, it is easier to understand what the teacher is saying. Because mathematics has a universal language of mathematics. Even if you do not understand English, you can also understand it by looking at the blackboard and courseware. The most painful thing for me was that I cannot understand the little jokes that the professor interspersed in the lecture. When students around me laughed out loudly, I always cannot get the point because I did’n understand it. After a few weeks of adapting, I slowly got used to the teachers'speaking speed, and I was able to read English materials. I could also complete the proof question in English. After this period of practice, my ability to use English had subtly improved, and at the same time, I had gained theoretical knowledge that I had not been exposed to before.

During this period of study, I have learnt the difference between domestic and foreign education. First of all, in America, teachers pay more attention to students' after-school learning. The formal class time per week is not so much, and each class takes three times a week. But the question-answering time after class adds up to twice the class time. We could go to professors'office in the office hour to ask as many questions as we want, or discussing problems with the teaching assistant in the discussion class. I mastered most of the knowledge by asking questions and discussing it with others. Secondly, the curriculum planning abroad is very meticulous. The semester there is shorter than a domestic semester. In the end, I also understood the going "Work hard, play hard." In addition to the busy study, UCSD classmates took advantage of the school's abundant resources to organize colorful activities, almost every day on the road in front of the library, and there will be different clubs holding events.

In addition to gaining professional knowledge, I also learned how to live alone during this period. At the beginning, I only went to the cafeteria to buy food, but later I could buy raw materials to cook for myself. This experience has made me grow. I am very grateful that I can experience such a life of studying in a foreign country. This three months’exchange is a valuable experience for me.

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