No lectures. No exams or tests. Each semester in a new country.
Though that may sound like a fantasy, that is really the approach at Minerva University. Dinara Bach, a student at the university studying Designing Societies and Brand Management, shared her experiences of this innovative program and the self-discovery that came alongside it.
After her time at a top school in Moscow, Dinara knew she didn't want to spend four years in a lecture hall amongst 200 other students. The engagement at Minerva appealed to her, but she didn't anticipate the new challenges independent studying would entail.
Her performance is graded based on her class participation and written assignments. The number of essays to be submitted or reading to be done could take time to get used to. And having to speak up in class can often be intimidating too. Though it seemed pretty daunting at first, for Dinara, it all started falling into place. And by the end of the first semester, this approach seemed natural.
So far, Dinara has been able to live in South Korea, Argentina, India, Germany, the UK, and the US as part of her degree, the societies of all which are differently structured. People perceive the world in many ways, some of which may not align with our conception or beliefs, and that's okay! Adapting to different cultures, Dinara stays, requires staying open-minded and humble.
One of the biggest ways I've adapted (to) living abroad is (knowing) that I am literally no one. Let me just listen and ask a lot of questions, and I can adapt.
Everything I know, let me just erase it for a second. So, I can absorb everything else like a sponge and then I can filter it out along the way.
While Dinara is open to learning and accepting new perspectives, she also acknowledges that it's crucial for these experiences to not go beyond one's personal boundaries. While behaviours that make one uncomfortable may be acceptable in certain cultures, Dinara believes that doesn't excuse being insensitive to others' space.
Dinara has a similar approach to her online presence. She likes the sense of community she has been able to find online. She loves making content that resonates with so many people from across the globe. Yet, some days feel overwhelming. Amidst all the positivity that comes her way, she also gets hate that can get difficult to tackle. But knowing that access to herself is a privilege that she can revoke, Dinara recognizes that she continues to hold the power to lead her life the way she wants.