I Spent My Summer Studying at Harvard University
Ayesha Khan | Cambridge, Massachusetts In July, Afrah and I had the incredible opportunity to live and study at Harvard University for 2 weeks. We attended the university’s Pre-College Program where we took an academic course that we are passionate about. Though we took different classes, we felt that the experience changed our way of seeing the world. As dramatic as it sounds, to interact with such diverse people from around the world truly impacted our social and cultural conceptions about various countries. Whether they were from Singapore, France, England, Brazil, Africa, Pakistan, or India, everyone shared this extraordinary passion to learn. People have a tendency to see foreign countries as completely separate from their own, yet, when we started talking to different people, we noticed how similar our ambitions, way of life, and passions were. If there’s one thing I took away from this experience, it’s that you should get out of your comfort zone and meet new people. Just starting a conversation increases your understanding of a different culture, social issue, or a country. So many of the students we met were also actively involved in their community. There’s clearly a surge of youth around the world becoming more aware and involved in combatting social and environmental inequalities, and it's disheartening to see that some governments still don’t value the youth voice. The course I took dealt with deconstructing the psychological, social, and political aspects of fairytales and fantasy fiction. I’ve always loved reading fantasy fiction and watching Disney, but I would have never known how much of a social impact literature has. If you look closer into the way society functions and how you behave, you can see the impact of fairytales and fantasy on your aspirations and behaviours. In the class, we learned a lot about how to perfect the ‘fairy-tale style’ in our writing and how to make stories resonate. Overall, this was an incredible experience that Afrah and I had, and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about the world and experiencing what it's like to study at one of the world's top universities!