By Megh Shah
Widener University, a small university located in Delaware County of Pennsylvania, just a few miles south of Philadelphia is a beautiful private university with friendly staff and great mentors who are always ready to help. Widener is a well-known and reputable school all around the United States and ranks at 183rd amongst best national colleges in the entire nation. Widener University, or WU as the Widener peeps call it, was a military college in its earlier days and in the year of 1821, it was established as a private university and made open to the general public. My journey to the United States begin last year in the month of April, when I got admitted in Widener and that is when it all started.
I came to Widener University, United States on 8th of August 2016. At the airport, upon request, my university had sent two of its campus safety officers to pick me up. They dropped me off at the house of an American family with whom I was going to stay for fall semester, along with my sister who came here in United States in January 2016 to pursue her MBA program at the same university. A few days later the orientation kicked off. For international students, the orientation started two to three days earlier than the orientation for local students. In the orientation, all of us, the international students, were made to understand the cultural and differences between the United States and other nations, how it’s different from the rest of the world and the reasons behind it.
My first semester started in the month of September, finally the moment had arrived when I had to start the beginning of a new chapter in my life, the chapter called –Bachelor’s Degree-. Initially everything seemed very different from what I was used to. The education system was different, the food habits were different, the style of communication, as well as the living style, were all different. Luckily though, I did not experience cultural shock, as my university was quite supportive and I had the support from my sister who had been here two semesters before me.
Though the education system is very strict in United States and most professors do not entertain any form of excuses, most professors are willing to help if a student needs assistance. One just needs to communicate if he or she is struggling and/or needs help. Communication plays a key role everywhere in United States. If one communicates their problems and situations, people are willingly help, but if one does not communicate his/her problems, no one is going to come forward. Such was the case with me. In my first semester of freshmen year, I was struggling in math and in the first two tests I didn’t do very well. I didn’t know that upon request, I could get a tutor. Upon telling my professor about my problem, I was not just given a tutor but also my professor personally took interest in my situation and helped a lot during his office hours. My grades went from a 47 in first test to a 95 in third exam.
One great thing about my university is that along with Academic success, they make sure that students do well in all the aspects of life and truly enjoy their stay at Widener. Almost every weekend, th eInternational Club and International Students Services (ISS) organizes trips to various places and other fun activities. Trips includes going to places like Washington DC, New York City, restaurant week, and other on-campus activities.
International Students at Longwood Garden, PA
(Megh Shah is pictured kneeling in the front, 2nd person, from left to right)
Throughout the two semesters, there have been numerous achievements and set-backs but that is not what matters. What ultimately matters to one when one is away from home is learning and experiencing. The main reason why I came to United States is for the unique experience and fresh new opportunities that universities in the United States provide. In the US, one does not just study, but participate in activities that truly contribute to one’s life skills. Albert Einstein said “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school”.
Megh Shah is a rising sophomore at Widener University, majoring in Business Administration. Megh is an international student, originally from Mumbai, India.