After two years at O. P. Jindal Global University (JGU), Akanksha Thirani had found a ‘safe place’ on campus. A close-knit group of friends, responsibility as a Peer Tutor and being part of the Dance Society helped her settle into the scheme of things. “I was also a part of the Organizing Committee that heads the sports and cultural festivals of the university,” says the B.A. (Hons.) Liberal Arts & Humanities student enthusiastically. But it was time to step out of the comfort zone and challenge herself further. The exchange programme at Trinity College, Dublin, was a chance to do just that.
The renowned research university, often ranked around the top 100 in the world, proved to be a gateway into a stimulating global environment. That famous ‘Irish luck’ shined on the B. A. (Hons) Liberal Arts and Humanities student as she bonded with other young college goers from around the world and aced the academic adventure. A year later, the experience still brings a smile to her face. Akanksha recounts her journey from Sonipat to Dublin and the personal transformation it inspired since.
The four-month programme covered an interesting mix of subjects including Irish Short Fiction and Early Modern Women Writers. Akanksha also took up Human Resource Management and Creative Thinking, Innovation and Entrepreneurial Action to diversify her skills.
Studying in the interdisciplinary environment at Jindal School of Liberal Arts & Humanities (JSLH) had prepared her for the stint abroad. “The style of teaching and evaluation; from class discussions and presentations to writing research papers and going for field trips, was very similar to that followed in JSLH. In Dublin I realized that the methods of imparting education at JSLH are at par with the top schools in the world,” she says proudly.
Although Akanksha didn’t really need to make a major shift in adapting to the teaching style, the move to a foreign country presented its own set of challenges. Back at JGU, she had made a place for herself on the campus. In Dublin, however, she had to start from scratch with no friends or support system. Recounting the transition, she says, “Life in Soinpat is massively different from Dublin. Initially, I found it difficult to adapt. As the weeks passed by, I found myself exploring a new country, living independently, and making friends from all over the world. It taught me how to adapt to a new environment faster and to take the initiative to move out of my comfort zone.” The international exposure coupled with whole new life experiences it brings is big learning for youngsters like Akanksha, who may be stepping out into the world alone for the very first time.
By the end of her trip, it felt like leaving behind a second home. For Akanksha, a place is made special by its people. New friends from US and Australia—who she is still in touch with—helped weave a wonderful memory. At a personal level, those bonds were her biggest achievements during the programme. But there were academic achievements too. “Being able to score high grades in a new university under the guidance of new professors was a bonus for my overall GPA. I had the opportunity to lead an independent student life and gain global perspectives. I learned about new cultures and worked on my communication skills,” she spells out the takeaways that she hopes to take into a global career.