Exercise Science Dept.
815 North Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Exercise Science Student Inga Shalmiyeva Abroad in Auckland, New Zealand School
Institute for the International Education of Students (IES)
Statistics 201: Data Analysis
Let's just say I don't want to talk about it.
Russian 200: Intermediate Russian
I took the class because Skidmore offers Russian only as self-instructed. I took it at Skidmore before, but I ended up being in a tutoring sessions by myself since I was a special case (speak/understand Russian, but don't read/write it) and I wanted to be in a classroom of other students who speak Russian and are learning to read and write in it. I was fortunate enough to have that experience at Auckland University.
Sport Science 309: Practicum in Sports and Exercise Science
This was my favorite "class"! I put class in quotation marks because the actual class meant every 3 weeks or so, but the course was really about a practical experience in the sport & exercise science field. I had contacted the University of Auckland Sport & Exercise Science department before I even got to NZ because after doing my senior thesis at Skidmore, I knew I wanted to continue with research. Once I arrived in NZ, I visited the department and participated in a study in the Movement Neurosicence laboratory. I was asked by a research fellow to work with her and 2 other professors to develop an experimental protocol for a study they wanted to do. The practicum allowed me to work with 3 geniuses in the field of Movement Neuroscience. What more can I ask for from an abroad experience of 4 months? I consider myself very fortunate.
Kapa HakaMaori performing arts class where traditional Maori songs, dances, and culture were studied
I attended the class with Marlee, Jackie, and Sarah - my classmates from Skidmore.
Well, I know I said I don't want to talk about Statistics, but I'll let you know, there were about 500 people in the class. It was in a huge auditorium and I did not like the professor (from the first half of the semester, because another one came in the 2nd half). Anyway, the professor recorded his lectures and posted the PowerPoints online. And attendance was never taken. There ended up being no incentive for showing up to class, and so I didn't. Obviously this wasn't a smart thing to do, so I wouldn't suggest it. Otherwise, I didn't experience the big university classes because my Russian class had 10 or 12 people and, like I said about the Practicum, I was 1 student with a research fellow and 2 professors. What was similar between all the classes was that the final was worth a massive percentage of your course grade. In Statistics my final was worth 70%!!! We were given a good amount of time to prepare for our finals, but the stress of the final's value was overwhelming. I really didn't like that because there was too much emphasis on the end and the middle was ignored. I appreciate American education for the constant homework and monthly tests, compared to the single test and final I had in my classes in NZ.
Favorite Abroad Experience
Well, the South Island 10-day roadtrip is unbeatable, as Marlee wrote about it. But I have to say I loved our last weekend trip to Cape Reinga, the northern most part of NZ. I always wanted to get to a lighthouse with that post that has countries and distances pointing in different directions. And I got to see it! Not only that, but we had the most unbelievable luck with weather during that weekend. NZ is known for its sporadic rain during the fall and winter, and we went on that trip during late fall, but we somehow got spared of the rain.
Personal Advice on Going Abroad
- Go to your classes no matter how big they are!
- Be a social butterfly. Use going abroad as an opportunity to be who you want to be. No one knows you there, create your own self!
- Don't stay in (unless you have a lot of work or have to study for a test)! Go out and explore the country. Take weekend trips, take week-long trips!
- BE OPEN-MINDED. Come with no assumptions, no expectations, and a completely open mind to all your experiences. Talk with the locals, talk with the backpackers. Let yourself learn from them.
Like Nike says, JUST DO IT! Although it is true that Skidmore is a bubble, it is a great bubble. It protects us, it shields us, and it nurtures us. Being at Skidmore is about working on your personality, increasing your intelligence, developing your sense of self, and growing up. But after being at Skidmore for a while, we do not look at it as a gift anymore and take advantage of it. I was guilty of not appreciating Skidmore, but going abroad made me fall back in love with the college. I missed the professor-student relationships, the course workloads, the environment, and the special attention. I didn't want to be anonymous in a big University anymore. Furthermore, frankly, we are not exposed to a lot of diversity at Skidmore and how can one possibly be ready for the diversity of the world without having seen some of that world and the diversity it has to offer? Go abroad, get a fresh breath of life, live, learn, and come back to Skidmore. Trust me, it's not going anywhere.