On the Banks of the Raritan
This is my first post since leaving the land of South Africa. Its a weired and wonderful experience to travel long distances. Last year I was fortunate enough to the see the East, the South and the North. Well now I have more than travelled but have relocated to the West. I am now pursuing my PhD in Computer Science at Rutgers University in the United States of America. It will be a number of years before I move back to South Africa, so for the time being I am settling in to this country I have not been in for over 7 years. Last time I was here I spent 2 months in Rhinebeck in upstate New York as a camper at Camp Rising Sun. Now I am back again as a student with 7 years of other experiences.
My first week in the US was spent in Miami. I was attending my first orientation that is connected to my scholarship. It was a good time even though this is when the disconnect with family was first felt. I am very thankful for all the other students I met there and all of the views and professions that were gathered there. We have billions of interesting people out there, believe me. except those who are not interesting (lol). I love Boolean logic. Everyone is male except those who aren't.
I met people from all over the world (To people who know me, I know this sounds old, but I really did). Pakistan, Afghanistan, Chille, Puerto Rico, South Korea, China, Japan etc. From Miami I flew then to my final destination of New Brunswick, New Jersey. My new home for a long while. Small town it is. A student town filled with red. Rutgers Red. I spent only a few hours of the first day at Rutgers. The rest of the first weekend was spent in New York city.
From my weekend in New York, things came back into size. America is all about how large it can be. We hit BJ's to get some things for some friends. Its like a large wholesale place. Bigger than big. You can by 1 years supply of chocolate bars if you want. A small size in American Soda is a large size in South Africa. A large here is freakishly large. But that's America. They do things big, very big. I cook for myself but campus has fast food easily available. I have not had McDonalds yet. We have a Burger King and some other ones (Pizza, Chinese etc.). The dining hall is unreal in terms of amount of food they have in it (at an unreal high cost as well).
International orientation at Rutgers brought things into perspective. Being an international student is not an easy feat. I respect all of the undergrad international students I met. It really is an eye opener. You have to do a lot to make sure you stay "legal" and on the right track with your studies. I am from South African universities, which mostly follow closely to a British university system. The US system is different and its differences are what makes it great as well as daunting. It's very flexible, but what I have learned is that planning is essential. Talking to advisors and other students is even more important. I am making sure I keep my head above water while trying to juggle all the balls I have been handed. I am looking forward to my years here especially the chance to meet some of the great minds in Computer Science and especially AI and Machine Learning.
This brings me to a tough but inevitable end. This was a ramble. Not a coherent one at that. I did not read this post again and probably its very bad. I will in the next few weeks try to write something more concrete. At the moment I leave you with this. I do miss family and South Africa but I also am loving the new experiences that I am going through here in New Brunswick.