We are so happy to welcome Abhishek Dalal to our JPIA blog team! Here’s his first post on the unique experience of studying at NYU.
A lot of the times, professors, friends and peers ask me why I chose to study in the United States. While it would suffice to say that the education system here is liberal and intellectually stimulating, not to mention diverse and inclusive, I firmly believe that such a view is partial and incomplete. The higher education system back home, in India, is as competent, perhaps even as rigorous as the one here. Of more significance, however, are the people that you have the opportunity to interact with, the friendships you make, the plethora of opinions and perspectives you encounter constituting a cumulative and summative experience that helps define your personality.
At NYU, I have discovered a wonderful network of human beings that celebrates being different and takes pride in following their passions in an uninhibited manner. The network encompasses countries from all over the world. A close friend of mine hails from the lovely island nation of Aruba (a country, I admit shamefully, didn’t know existed until very recently). Another friend of mine has chosen to study intensive Mandarin, simply because he is passionate about learning different languages and adding to his repertoire that already includes French, Russian and yes, computer programming code. It is this connect, between a computer programming major and his desire to study foreign languages, that most definitely illustrates his willingness to go beyond the traditional requirements of a computer science major, and instead focus on an inclusive education that both satisfies his intellectual curiosity and prepares him for an increasingly interdependent world, allowing him to communicate effectively in several different languages.
Over the past six months, I have learnt more from this network of human beings than I did cumulatively from a semester of Writing the Essay or those 8:00 a.m. calculus struggles. Similarly, studying International Relations and Politics in America often involves lessons of grasping and assimilating various opinions, and realizing that no one opinion or theory can possibly hope to represent the whole truth. Indeed, arguing with my fellow bloggers and international relations enthusiasts, Kathy and Konstantine, has only enhanced and fine-tuned my opinions on matters of pressing concern. For this learning to occur, however, it is important that you raise your voice, thump your fist and state your points with conviction. This is the only way to ensure that any one interest or party does not dominate a debate. To all my fellow NYU students, you have the opportunity to be a part of an amazing network of human beings that is willing to listen to you sans judgment or predisposition. Let us each strive to make this a defining, game-changing debate rather than simply being a part of the chorus.