I make it a point when I visit a university to see the things that my students want to see. It is not enough to show the university buildings, its programmes and its faculties, one must also see the “what else” as I call them. We as parents may not like this, but believe it or not, the student spends only 6 hours of the day in a classroom or in a library, what is going to happen to the other 18 hours? we as counselors have a responsibility towards the students, we must enlighten them to make the right choices as well as go to the right places. There is no point to try to hide behind “my son will not do anything wrong” sentence, as there could be good stuff as well as bad stuff in any city one decides to study in. But if we show the variety of nice and creative things to the students before he or she departs from his/her hometown, they will go their with great anticipation and may not even suffer from homesickness. Much research was carried out about the so called culture shock or homesickness, and the main reason behind it is the ignorance about what the new place could offer.
Hence the heaps of photographs that I click and the videos that I shoot about the places that I visit on a regular basis. Showing the students these photos put their mind at ease as they can associate with some of the stuff that are happening there and may even make them want to be part of the new place.
Every new city that I visited offer fantastic pursuits to the students. I think those that built the universities in those cities must have been geniuses as they built it around the possibilities of that town or city. Plymouth for example is a nice town with just 310000 people whose livelihood revolves around the university and the sea.
The Marina is brilliantly located just in a walking distance from the university, the shops are scattered around the university, and the restaurants are springing up in areas that were closed off as they were part of the old navy buildings that were abandoned and then someone with a fantastic wisdom thought of turning that place into an artistic arena with many restaurants, offices and art galleries. The University didn’t want to miss a chance so they blocked a whole building to be used as studios for their art students. The location and scenary is more than inducive to produce artists that will be known to our future generations (apparently the university has the first call on buying the art of the graduating students and storing it until the artists become known to the art community, at that point it is either sold or displayed in the many walls of the university buildings, I suggested that they do an online art auction so we also buy some of that brilliant art).
Of course eating is part of our daily rituals, so on this visit the university took us to the many great places, which were either owned by locally renowned chefs or just people who live in Plymouth and like to eat! we loved the food, my favorite was the brownie with ice cream of course.
The city has a lot to offer, museums, theater, cinemas, shops, sailing, surfing, history, ferry trips to France (4 hours distance in the ferry and only 24 pounds), markets, and umpteen sport and social clubs. The students will have great fun and certainly I wish I can be one of them, just for a year maybe!!!