Winter break, transition and my great classes here

As Trixi and Julcsi have already expressed in previous posts, these last 2 months have been like a weird dream. One day you are discussing the crazy traffic of the Upper East side in Manhattan with a taxi driver and the next day you are doing grocery shopping with your parents in a small town in Hungary. Many times I felt that our minds have just not yet evolved to cope with these very abrupt changes in our environment, even though modern transportation has enabled us to do these huge and fast shifts in space.

Just like Trixi and Zsófi, I also traveled home for 3 weeks in the winter break, but before that I visited Buffalo and the Niagara Falls for Christmas. It was one of the most dream-like places I have seen so far: like a winter wonderland, no other color than white.

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Being at home after New York City felt very peaceful and warm, as compared to the hustle-bustle and sometimes even inhumanity of big city life. In some sense it was a good preparation for what awaited me at the campus of Bard, which is in the middle of nature, just next to the Hudson River.


Photo by Jacques Luiggi

Photo by Jacques Luiggi

Having finished the third week of classes I can conclude that I love being here so far. You have time to get to know people while you are eating your meals in the dining hall, you have time to hear your own thoughts and no day is passing by without an uplifting experience, either about the beauty of the place, or the countless opportunities which are available here (and as opposed to NYC, you actually have time to make use of them).

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I am taking 5 classes here: a French language course, Hinduism in the Epics, Buddhism, Alexander Technique and Modern Dance. Even though I was an international relations and human rights major at my home institution, I decided to explore things which always interested me, but I never had the opportunity to study academically. My favorite classes so far are the Hindu epics and the modern dance classes.

At the previous one we are reading two Indian epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. Even though they are set in a far-away land, thousands of years ago, while reading you slowly realize that human beings have not changed much, regardless of time and space. We possess the same desires, strengths and weaknesses, we just phrase them in different ways. I wish there would be more exposure in Western education to ideas from other parts of the world, with teachers who are good enough to present the subjects in ways that do not scare or deter students but show that people from all parts of the world have valuable things to say.

At the modern dance class we have a lot of creative tasks. Rather than focusing on movement combinations, we are supposed to get to know better the functioning of our bodies and the space around us. One task, for example, is to choose a body part and experiment with how you can move it (in what directions, angles, rhythms, etc.). Sometimes we need to do movements which look a bit crazy from the outside (and also feel crazy from the inside), in order to relax ourselves and let go of our fears regarding movement/dance. So the classes are creative and fun.

And there is another strange, but good thing about Bard: even though you have a lot of coursework to do, which sometimes seems impossible (e.g. reading 300 pages from Monday to Wednesday, while you are having classes both days from the morning till the evening), you can still manage a balance, as simply walking from one class to another is a relaxing experience.

By the way, talking about coursework: I could talk much more about life here, but I have to finish an essay, so see you in my next post! :)

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