University of Hamburg
Naima Limdighri, from the University of Hamburg in Germany, is an American studies major and has never visited the United States before. Throughout high school and her college career, she had been fascinated by American popular culture and American English, enough to inspire her to formally study America as a subject.
Naima was struck by how beautiful and small the campus was compared to her university back at home. However, she agreed that at times, Smith seemed to facilitate a certain lack of individual responsibility. She commented that "there seems to be an orientation for everything... and students are helped with every single bit" of the education process. Still, she values the one-on-one time provided through both small class sizes and close contact with teachers.
Despite this formal education, Naima noted that she felt unprepared for the reality of American culture. Instead, she felt preparing by watching American news, movies, and television would have been more helpful. While she said the gap between what her education prepared her for and the reality of her daily life here is "large," she said that it did well in developing her language skills enough that she felt comfortable and adjusted quickly to speaking English on a regular basis.
The real adjustment for her was living on campus. Used to working, providing for herself, and living on her own in the big city, she found the sudden lack of independence and leisure time was what required the most time to acclimate to.
All in all, Naima feels her time spent at Smith will be invaluable in helping her understand American culture and language. While she remarked that spending time abroad in America was not a requirement for her major, she found it "extremely useless" to study a particular country without ever visiting or living there.
By Sarah Liggera '17 and Kaitlin Scholand '17, Global STRIDE Fellows