By Amy Pascher
Heathrow Airport (photo credits: Glamox)
Heathrow Airport is a jungle gym. Compared to the sleepy, pleasant, quietness of the Charlottetown Airport or even the jumping hustle and bustle of Trudeau International Airport, Heathrow is a beast of its own.
Usually, I’d never be here in another country, an ocean away from home. I’m not a big traveler at the best of times. But there was a course, which seems to be the way most things in my life start lately, and then came, luck of all luck, a scholarship. The scholarship presented me with an opportunity to go to London and Paris for two weeks, or a “Maymester” as UPEI has lovingly termed it, to experience science and museums on another continent.
I’m nervous, and not just because I’ve never left the Maritime provinces before. The Museum of Sciences course is a joint effort by the UPEI science and history departments; the first of its kind at the school and hopefully not the last. The group is composed of two profs, Dr. Lacroix of Biology and Dr. Moran of History, and seventeen students scattered across different programs at UPEI. As a biology student, I only recognized a handful of faces on this trip. The course was such an even mixture of years and programs that it was almost shocking to be in a class with students I’d never had a course with.
Despite my nerves, the trip progresses. It’s like nothing I’d ever experienced before. It’s a mix of culture and science, history and biology, art and ancient ideals. As we switch countries and the trip continues; being in a multidisciplinary course only seems to add to the experience that is happening around us.
We have so much to learn from one another. If you never take courses outside of your program, never meet and talk to people you don’t share projects with you’re putting yourself in a box. This course provides an opportunity to expand learning horizons; to go and interact with other disciplines on an even playing field. Being able to learn from other students, and teach them in return, was one of the most rewarding things I’ve been able to do.
So my words to you are this: if you ever have an opportunity to take a course outside of your program, do it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Maymester program in a different country, or a course entirely out of your wheelhouse, take it. It might not be something you’re comfortable with right away, and you might worry about your GPA, but it’s worth it to be able to explore other opportunities and expand your educational horizons.
My Maymester was terrific. It gave me an opportunity I’ve never dreamed of being able to have. So please, if you learn one thing from this article, try a different course, see the world from a different light, and continue to strive for different experiences and knowledge.