Done with Traditional School

Its hard to believe that right now I am in the middle of my research  project, which means that I finished exams three weeks ago! When we had exams at the very end of October and beginning of November, it felt so weird. My courses had only lasted two months, which felt so short for anything to give a final on, but looking back on it my days were packed full and I was constantly learning, even when I wasn’t in the classroom. To reflect on my past two months of classes, I am making a pros and cons list to compare how the type of learning I did here in the Amazon compares to classroom learning at Colby.

Pros

  • I have been able to directly apply what I am learning to things I see out in the field, which helps me learn them better (experiential learning)
  • Through all the traveling, I have learned about all aspects of Peru: environmental, social, political, and more
  • Your professors are always around if you ever need help with anything and you get to know them really well
  • A lot of the assignments are group projects which lightens the workload a bit

Cons

  • Trying to fit a whole semester’s worth of information for four classes in to two months has meant that I have had very little down time, and am a bit exhausted
  • When you are not out in the field, long eight hour days are spent in the classroom which can be tiring and a lot of time in the heat trying to focus
  • You can never get space from your professors if you need a break from them

Despite the struggles I faced with adapting to this new way of learning, it was overall an incredibly beneficial experience. I am now able to not be so narrow in my ways of thinking and learning, and have developed a more flexible way of absorbing the knowledge that my professors present to me, no matter the form it is presented in. Even when I was tired, hot, and cranky and in no mood to learn, I always somehow was able to absorb the information even when I thought I hadn’t or wasn’t in the right mindset to. Studying abroad in the Amazon rainforest has been extremely beneficial and has made me a better student and learner, and has taught me skills which I know I can take back to Colby and use to excel in the classroom.