My Experience as a Swedish Exchange Student at Chatham University

By Delphine Mubiligi, Exchange Student at Chatham University

Before coming to Chatham University, I had no idea what to expect. I had no previous knowledge about the University, nor Pittsburgh. The few assumptions I had built throughout the years about college life in America, were all shaped by the way students were portrayed in Hollywood movies. Chatham have proved to be very different from the crazy-party-student-life-image presented by the movie industry. The campus might be a bit small and quiet, but it is cozy and filled with warm and friendly people. There are many fun and interesting activities that make getting to know other students easy.

Before coming to Chatham University, I had no idea what to expect. I had no previous knowledge about the University, nor Pittsburgh. The few assumptions I had built throughout the years about college life in America, were all shaped by the way students were portrayed in Hollywood movies. Chatham have proved to be very different from the crazy-party-student-life-image presented by the movie industry. The campus might be a bit small and quiet, but it is cozy and filled with warm and friendly people. There are many fun and interesting activities that make getting to know other students easy.

The students here at Chatham are very friendly, open-minded and willing to help other fellow students, when needed. The environment is very relaxed. Students can dress however they please and be themselves, without being judged. People respect each other and also the quiet hours. The fact that there are no big parties organised in the dorms makes it a good place to concentrate on the workload and making academic progress.

After spending nearly four months in USA, I have gained a lot of theoretical and practical knowledge. Studying abroad has enabled me to improve, not only my English skills, but also my problem-solving skills and cross-cultural communication skills. I have had the opportunity to interact and connect with American students and staff, as well as students from different parts of the world, which have enabled me to make this progress.

When talking to other exchanges students at Chatham University, I have come to realise that many of us share a common fear. This is not an all too serious fear, yet it raises concern amongst many international students. Many are concerned of returning to their countries of origin, not being the same people as they left. Many go through changes, often times positive changes, yet, they fear that it might take a while for some friends back home to get used these changes.

My experiences so far have been very positive. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to experience Chatham while it is still regarded as a female college. I have meet many inspiring young ladies here. I have also learned much about notable female academics and writers that have inspired and will continue to inspire women for generations to come. Although Chatham University will cease to be an all-female college, I strongly believe that it will remain a great place to advance academically and as an individual.

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