Мы взяли интервью у Анны Юрьевой, которая в настоящее время учится в Minerva Schools at KGI. Она поделится своими впечатлениями об обучении в высшем учебном заведении и жизни в США. Вот ее ответы на вопросы:


What were your first impressions of living and studying in the USA?
I would say I was very lucky to live in downtown San Francisco during my first year in Minerva Schools at KGI.  I think the city was the best place for me to start my university journey and learn more about the world. San Francisco is full of inspiring people who are creating the future of technology. Honestly, it is still mind-blowing that I got to become friends with people who work at Google, AirBnB, Twitter, and Facebook. This experience definitely allowed me to learn from the most talented people and explore the world of technology from the inside.

Were there any difficulties in adapting to the new life and culture?
I did not experience any cultural shock.  I think it is largely due to the fact that this was not my first time living in the United States. In 2014, I became a finalist in the FLEX exchange program and spent an academic year in Iowa. I think back then I improved my English and learned a lot about American culture.  Being an exchange student definitely helped me quickly adapt to new cultural norms and feel comfortable in different contexts. Also, San Francisco itself is very culturally diverse so it’s easy to feel very comfortable there.

What makes your academic program unique?
Minerva is a fairly new program and it is quite different from other American schools.  Minerva’s main educational goal is to develop practical skills and concepts, which will allow us to become better critical thinkers and problem solvers. Classes work differently at Minerva. First, I do the readings and the homework for each class prior to an actual seminar. Usually, one class requires 2-7 hours of preparation. Then I come to the seminar already prepared to answer professor’s questions and write concise answers in polls. All Minerva programs are based on the science of learning so we use a lot of learning techniques in class. This is also the reason why we have seminars and do not have lectures. Personally, I find my educational experience fascinating, but difficult at the same time. I have to not just always pay attention to what my classmates are saying but also critically assess it as at any point I can be asked to continue the discussion.

What were you based on when choosing courses? Did anyone help you? What is your specialty?
In my university, we choose major during our sophomore year of study. I plan to major in environmental engineering with a concentration in Designing Solutions because I am passionate about environmental issues. I strongly believe we can eliminate many problems like waste, pollution, carbon dioxide emission the same way we create them – through technological advancements. At Minerva, each student has an academic advisor who helps with choosing a major. We meet once every 2 months to discuss courses, plans for the future and internships.

How have you adjusted your life?
I lived in a single room, so I could to organize the space the way I wanted. In the US, you can find pretty much anything so there were no special problems to find the necessary things. It was also easy to find food, the only thing I could not find was buckwheat, so I just got used to rice and pasta.

How did you keep in touch with your parents? Did you lose touch with your friends in Russia?
I usually Facetime my family and friends. However, I had very little free time at Minerva so I would not respond to my friends for weeks. Of course, I lost touch with some people.  However, closest people are close no matter how long we do not talk. I learned that it is very important to discuss the expectation of when and how we will communicate with friends and family and then everything will be fine!

What did you do in the summer? Did you find an internship?
Over the summer, I stayed in California and worked at my school. I think I got a little sneak peek into the adult life. I went to work, found housing, bought, and cooked my own food. I rediscovered San Francisco, went to professional events, made new friends and read many books about technology, climate change, and consciousness.

What are your plans for next year?
This year I am living in Korea and India. Apart from academics, probably my biggest plan for this semester is working in an energy laboratory at a Korean university. I am so grateful for the opportunity to help develop new ways to create sustainable energy. Moreover, I work at the food waste startup called DamoGo wich reducing environmental impacts of food waste through reselling still good to eat food. In the third and fourth year, we will go to Berlin and Buenos Aires, London and Taipei.

I would love to connect and answer questions about my experience, Minerva, environmental protection or anything else:
Instagram: @yuryeva_yay