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Haisan Lao ’14

All of my courses have been challenging and surprising because each of them pushed me in a different way. For my First-Year Seminar, I took Asian Culture: Moving Beyond ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ with Dr. Foram Bhukhanwala, Assistant Professor of Elementary and Early Childhood Education. It was a course that kept my interest.

A few of the class trips included going to an Indian restaurant to try different foods, attending the Mid-Autumn Festival in Chinatown, and going to a Cambodian Temple in South Philadelphia to celebrate ancestors and loved ones who have passed away. The readings my professor assigned were interesting because I had never taken a course about my own history. We read about stereotypes and what certain groups of people were like. We read about different cultures, norms, behaviors, and it was just a great chance to get to know different cultures, as well as my own, Chinese and Cambodian.

The seminar helped me feel comfortable in a new place. As a freshman going into college, or into any school in general, it will always be more or less a challenge to adapt and feel completely comfortable in a new campus and place with new people all around. The course was interactive—we all got to bond and get to know each other. The course was challenging because I had to balance the class with my other ones. Also, the writing part of the course pushed me to write and comment on cultural issues.

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