Learning in the classroom and outside of it too

This week I learned the importance of having a good teacher. This wasn’t realised in the form of one person but more by surrounding myself with good friends, engaging in my lectures, reading books and listening and interacting with others. I have to say, this being my first week at university in a new country, I loved every minute of it.

It is the first time I have ever actually engaged in my lectures fully. For the first time ever, a three-hour lecture felt like three minutes. I have so much respect for my lecturers, people who have worked in the industry and can give insight based on their experience.

I really didn’t know what to expect going into class on Monday morning. Unfortunately, my only experience with international students in university to date is seeing them all sitting clumped together during lectures and classes in Limerick - talking among themselves, dressed a little differently to what I once considered “normal” and very hard to understand. It wasn’t rudeness or anything like that, but I never made too much effort to speak to them. I said hello, talked about lectures and university life. However I didn’t ask them to go on nights out or do anything to try and integrate them into the city. I guess it was ignorance on my behalf. I had my friends and I didn’t feel the need to try and talk to anybody else. I never considered the situation from the point of view of the international student.

For this reason, I was a little anxious about joining classes. Were each of the students going to speak Maltese and give weird stares at the foreigners in the room? Would the lecturers ignore us or single me out because we were different?

My first lecture was at nine o’clock on Monday morning. I did not have a clue where I was going. My marketing lecturer later mentioned in class, no matter what form of advertising you use, you can never beat face to face. He was right. The lady at the reception desk was so lovely. She told me exactly where to go to the point that she nearly came with me. Sure, enough with her direction, I did find the room without a problem. When I got there, it was empty. One other person arrived as I did. We sat down and started chatting. The girl was from Italy and was also doing her exchange in Malta. We talked about our cultures, families, nights out, our thoughts on Malta so far – she even got teaching me a little bit of Italian.

Before we knew it, people started showing up for the class.

The class itself was amazing, the lecturer said so many interesting things that I couldn’t possibly take them all down. His teaching was clear and understandable. I could tell he had an abundance of experience in the field of marketing. I already know I will look forward to this class each week.

The Maltese students in the class were curious to learn about our cultures and, in turn, were eager to explain the run of things in Malta and our lecturer was only too happy to listen to our discussions.

Taking out the dynamic of the teacher-student relationship, I’m starting to notice that I love being around people who I can share ideas with, learn new things from and get new insights on different topics. Open minded people are a breath of fresh air, the more you come across the more I come to realise it.

* Gemma Good is from Killeshandra and a third year journalism student in University of Limerick


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