A year at Clark from my eyes

What a year has passed by!!!

The year has ended in a blink of an eye. Everything flew by so fast. For a whole year, I have learned and met a lot of people. Thanks to them, I became more attached to Clark, my second home. Clark has handed me a chance to experience so many new things. In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where I am from, all year round is summer. The weather is always hot and humid. In Clark or Worcester, every season is so different, and I can feel that every time I walk out of my dorm.

My story began in the summer when I first arrived at Clark during Orientation. The weather is nice and hot, but not as hot as Vietnam’s. My peer advisors and the people I met at Clark were so friendly; they guided me in every way I needed to get adapted to a new place, which is so far away from home. I was lost at first, and never knew where I belong to until I met some people who would later become my best friends.

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The photo was taken during the first week of Orientation

Before school started, I took a ride around Worcester with two new people I made friend with. We rode to City Hall and the area around. Worcester is old and historic, which clarifies the fact of being near Boston, one of the oldest cities in the United States that witnessed many revolutions. Worcester draws a picture of an old city on the way to innovation. There are sites under construction around, but the majority of the buildings wear an antique reddish color of the bricks. I was surprised and a little disappointed when I compared those sites with other scenes filmed at nice cities from some Hollywood movies I have watched all my life. The reality is different.

However, I did not spend much time on thinking about it as classes began. I was occupied with homework and clubs. Every start demanded effort to become used to the routine of going to classes, clubs, and even school. I made more friends, and we did many activities together. Time flew as the wind blows when fall came and went, leaving my friends and I special holidays so that we had time to understand each other more. We planned on trips together to New York and Boston on Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. The times outside school strengthened our relationships when we experienced new things together. To some of us coming from Asian countries, snow is something really special because we have never seen this before. Like children, we played with snow and built snowmen. However, somewhere in my deep soul, I felt a tingle of sadness as this time is for family gathering. I started to miss home, and friends are people I sought during those times.

With some snow showers at the beginning of the year followed by rainy days, spring has come to this land bringing new promises. Work at school became less stressful as I got used to the way Clark worked during the fall semester. I was more active in class and hung out more often with friends. I might have done more things, but to what I remember now, Spree Day was another amazing day as it marked the end of this school year. It was great to have a day off and the school turned into a recreational park with inflatable games, food, and music.

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Then, finals came and we never had much time to play until our last exam finished. It‘s too fast!

It all ended in the same place it started. I said goodbye to my friend and this year at Clark at this summer. My whole year is like a full cup filled with both joy and sadness. Everyone took a different route in the summer, but we understand that “All good things must come to an end”. However, in our heart, we know that it is just a beginning of our long distance relationship with Facebook and Skype and we will soon reunite.

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I saw my friend off when she was about to took off to the airport 

– Anh

All photos were provided by the author.

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Advice for Incoming Students

For all of you incoming students, some words of wisdom from the international student graduates of 2013.

“Coming to Clark, or any other institute for that matter, is an adventure. For every person it is a different experience that has its ups and downs. But just like an adventure, you should never be too scared to ask for help because the chances are someone knows how you’re feeling or can be helpful in some way or another. It’s okay to be afraid. Feeling that fear is your confirmation that you are doing something new and exciting. There are resources are at your disposal, all you need to do is take advantage of them.”

Abdallah Smith (Political Science) 

“As an international student, I’ve had a lot of beliefs and stereotypes instilled in my head about what a ‘typical U.S. student’ is like. I came into Clark with a fairly narrow view of what to expect, and boy was I wrong! Clarkies were overwhelmingly welcoming and they were all so interested in who I am and where I was from. Very quickly I stopped differentiating U.S. students   from non-US ones because in truth it was sort of pointless.

So my advice? Let go of whatever assumptions you have of students that you think you’ll see at Clark. And be aware that a lot of U.S. students always complain that they can’t make international friends because international students are such an exclusive group. So, the sooner you break your own assumptions and sooner you try to prove others assumptions wrong, the sooner you’ll have a good time and make even more friends than you can handle. Enjoy :)”

Marcel (Political Science)

“At Clark you don’t need to worry about being different. We embrace diversity and our differences to become a family. Just make sure to be yourself and enjoy learning from everyone’s uniqueness!”

Maria Gabriela Campos (Psychology and Management)

“For international students I would recommend to be patient and active. First semester transition might be hard, but don’t stay in your rooms – engage in clubs and organizations, find something new to do. When selecting the courses, think strategically, think about what interests you. Go about it in a way that will help you determine what you want to do and how you can go about that so that you do it as best you can. Try to look for an internship during your 2nd and 3rd summer vacation– it will help to proceed with a career later. Overall – enjoy, work, and think ahead.”

Iryna Ambroz (Economics and Math)

“Don’t succumb to the ‘I should’ ‘I must’ ‘I need to’ lifestyle. College is for those who want to live in the ‘what if’, ‘how about’, ‘let’s imagine’, ‘try this’ world.”

Diego Angel (International Development)

“Remember that setbacks are setups for comebacks. This applies to your academic and social life as well, which usually goes hand in hand in my opinion. Set high goals for yourself, and do your best to achieve them (in fact, start each semester off with goals you think you can achieve, and raise the bar as you do so!) Don’t be afraid to try new things and meet new people, but get to know and understand your limits. This way you can find your passion– and most importantly, be the best you can be at it. Last but not least, try to get at least 5 hours of sleep a night!”

Kulani Dias (English and Psychology)

“Strive to acquire practical experience through internships, research and so on. Apply what you learn in class towards real world practice.”

Anshu Singh (Economics)

 “Don’t expect to know what you are going to major in now.. as a matter of fact DO NOT decide what you are going to do now. Take many classes and experience many possibilities before deciding. Better to choose what you really like than choose what you think you like.”

Deviyani Dixit (Economics and International Development)