回憶在聖瑪莉森林學院的交換學生生活 鄧安茹An Ru TENG 2009-2010
The Best Experience ever -- Strolling in the Woods
The summer in 2009, it was humidly hot in Taiwan. The ten girls from the
Providence University gathered at the spacious hall of Tao-Yuan Airport, excitedly
chirping their anxiety about the coming long flight and what they were going to
encounter in a foreign country. Some of them shared information they collected
from other former students, and some awed at what they heard. Girls’ faces all
glittered as if they expected their luck in the USA. They all knew it was
a precious chance and they would remember it in entire life. I now confirm the
fortune is huge, the precious experience is worthy great appreciation.
SMWC’s the most beautiful campus by four seasons
As soon as we arrived, we joined the ten-day orientation with other freshmen
in SMWC. It was a friendly, interesting, well-organized effective training to learn
about the campus and the Woodiers! What a cute nickname for the girls
who study or studied in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. SMWC is the
Nation's Oldest Catholic Liberal Arts College for Women established back to
1840, it has been offering prestigious education programs for women during
the long period of a hundred and seventy years, since then the limestone
buildings have been standing tranquilly and saintly in this campus surrounding
by the beautiful nature. I was and am proud of being a Woodier, with the
privilege of indulging myself in the peaceful academic atmosphere, and of
inhabiting in the over one-hundred-year-old luxurious buildings where were
always warm during the freezing wintertime.
當我們到達時，我們參加了SMWC的大一新生為期十天的新生训練 – 有趣的培訓，
讓我們了解校園和Woodiers！Woodier 是聖瑪麗學院学生的可愛的綽號, 就是住在森林裡的人。
At the rear area behind the campus, there were a cherry orchard and
horse stables where the famous horse-riding course drilled. It was a
beautiful path from the dormitory to the stable and to the lake, I
called it 康莊小道。In summertime before November, the sun
lingered later than nine o’clock. I usually spent an hour after supper
strolling on 康莊小道； beholding trees, animals, and fair high sky,
my stress diminished as the wind blew it away.
Autumn, I stroll in the woods;
Eyes are never so greedy,
Heart runs crazy.
Who says autumn is cool
I say it’s hot
There, the blaze
of burning bushes amazes my eyes;
Nature is bold,
Not shy at all.
Trees, I long to know your name,
For I’m a pilgrim of yours without shame.
When the harvest autumn just came, the trees grew boldly colorful,
multiple-green, yellow, orange, red, burgundy, etc. tangled with
each other contending in the beauty competition. Meanwhile, the
student committee would hold Barn Dance. It was such a
cheerful occasion in which students from nearby colleges would
come. Students were all done up with American West cowboy
style – checked shirt, jeans and boots. Boys and girls met one
another and then practiced folk dance on the sand ground
together. We enjoyed the western country songs and lined up
dancing folk dance. There was also a machine bull; some students
dared ride the machine bull and the audience was cheering up as
the rider was being flung off the back of the bull. It was so fun.
都打扮成美國西部牛仔風格 - 格子襯衫、牛仔褲和靴子。男孩
排列式舞蹈, 還有機械牛, 勇敢的學生騎上機械牛，然後牛會開
始瘋狂的扭動, 當選手被牛甩下, 觀眾大聲歡呼起來, 非常有趣。
Royal burgundy, quiet brown-red
Cheerful orange, flamboyant yellow,
And ever green here too.
Five colors weave into thousands of possibilities.
The woods would never the same;
In a minute leaves already falling, trembling
In the wind.
Wind is now the proudest, happiest guy
It sings every day and night
Rapping about the harvest.
The girl fell in the spring
She smiled as the buds popped out
Within the summer someone broke her heart
She cried burning hot.
Burning hot; but
She’s cured by autumn’s hue
Gazing the richness of the nature
She lets her last tear drop.
Autumn has warmed her ever
She kneels down to God
Holds up her heart.
The tuition for one semester in SMWC was around fifteen
thousands US dollars. For four-year-tuition, it was a huge
amount. I would not take the chance for granted but
appreciated the benevolence of SMWC, in which the
school provided international students this rare opportunity
without paying their tuition. What does the elite education
look like? Notably, this education is designed to suit individuals.
The classes were well conducted in small class -- the
maximum of the number of twenty students. I had several
courses that only contained about 5 students. Students had
plenty of chances to speak up their thoughts and teachers
noted comments for each student frequently. The learning was
solid and sound to work out individual progress. In my opinion,
for succeeding in the class, preview text was crucial, and
students would feel bewildered and embarrassed if they didn’t
read the book following the syllabus.
種教育是為了滿足個人。 進行小班制 - 最多二十位學生。我有
的， 如果沒照著教學大綱預習, 學生上課時會無法瞭解和感到尷尬。
Secondly, professors didn’t give long lecture in classes;
students were the ones who were in charge of speaking.
This teaching method was quite different from the ones
I’ve had in Taiwan. I must adjust myself to an active
way of learning; in other words, I needed to preview the
covering chapters carefully before class. How did this work?
In the first class, professors gave out the exact-detailed
syllabus and on the syllabus students were usually
assigned homework for each class. Therefore, students
had to read chapters or write a paper before class,
and then in the classroom, teacher would not go through
the full textbook but evaluated what you interpreted about
the content and context via your speech and your papers.
Yet, students couldn’t relax afterwards since there were
quizzes, presentations, midterm and final to require your
reviewing. It was so true about “No pain, no gain.”
Every class was indeed a great challenge but the
fruits were sweet. Besides, the professors were
respectful and friendly; they mastered what they taught
and how they best taught, and they respected students
and their individualities.
However, time seemed never enough because each
course required much more time of studying rather than
in Taiwan. The following was the formula: one credit
needed at least three hours for preparation, so 15
credits by 3 times equal to 45 hrs per week. Deducting
attending hours, the study almost occupied my entire
spare time. Anyway, there was always a way out; for instance,
energy drinks like Red Bull or Monster help students
to gain energy for their time-consuming, painstaking study;
I testified they worked well.
For future international students, I would like to
suggest that you do not overload yourself with
too many courses, instead, take minimum requested
credits (usually twelve) and spend time to preview and
review. Consequently, international students could
gain confidence, catch up with the class and make
progress fast enough.
One more thing most valuable in this education system
was the internship; SMWC provided many prestigious
courses with internships such as psychology,
education, arts, law, music therapy, equestrians, etc.
This policy had succeeded students’ capability at
both job and study, and also helped adjust better in
society soon after graduation.
The variety of cuisine 多元化的美食
Many international students concerned whether
they would adjust to western food, however, most
of international students gained weight after months;
they seemed happy with the food but worries being fat,
and some would find their solution to cook by themselves.
Generally, Taiwanese students all enjoyed buying
ingredients in Asian markets and cooking by their own;
they felt fun and found themselves good at cooking.
Occasionally, they would hang out to Chinese restaurants
with other students from nearby university. In the states,
there were plenty of Asian markets and Chinese food
vendors here and there. Besides, instant noodle was
prevailing in their market not only cheap but convenient
and it was the best homesick comfort. I myself felt satisfied
with diverse cuisines.
Another importance to live happily in the foreign
country was to make foreign friends. It would help a lot.
International students were often in need of help by
native students in daily life and in study. For example,
transportation! To get a ride will enhance the life quality much higher.
There were much indifference between American
students and Taiwan students, thus it was not
difficult to make friends in the school. However,
there were some cultural gaps that may cause
misunderstanding. For example, within the holidays
American students would invite foreign friends to
stay in their house; once, a Taiwanese girl went to
an American house and found out she had to live
with some dogs in a same house, that she found it
unbearable and she decided to return school earlier.
She asked the American family to take her back to
school, but it was a two and half hours driving and
the American student would not return in two days,
so they asked the Taiwanese girl pay the gasoline
and then they drove her back. The Taiwanese girl
was unhappy about it and after coming back to school
she complained about how terrible their dogs lived
and slept with them and other stuff. Therefore,
I would suggest if you were invited to American
house, it was better to ask some details about the family.
Since we got the rare chance to come here, naturally
we would like to travel around during vacations.
American is a huge country, but the size “huge” is
abstract, let me measure in number. For example:
our school SMWC is in the so-called Middle West,
at the border of Indiana State near Illinois, three
hours driving to Chicago. Once, my Korean
friend Euyoung and I took American classmate’s car
for one hour to the nearest city where we were able to
take train to Washington DCfor next seventeen hours
non-stop train to DC. We were exhausted because
the Armtrek (American railroad company) was not
comfortable for such long hours. Another time, two
Taiwanese girls and I drove to Miami and we kept
driving for twenty hours only with brief stops for gasoline
and restroom. We had two drivers; I advice if you are
the only driver, you better not try to drive that far.
Anyway, the travel was worthy; we had a great time
on the way and Miami beaches. In addition, we did
learn much how to book hotels online and get a good bargain.
All in all, this experience of studying abroad had
changed my conception and my life. As now I’m going
to graduate in June and also start to write my résumé,
I found the experiences enhanced my capability and
confidence; still, it also get extra point as applying for
graduate school abroad.