Today went by in a whirlwind of activities and meeting people, and I have a feeling that most of the rest of the trip is going to be like this - which is great, because I really want to make the most of everything in the short time we have here. Today was my first day of class, which was both exciting and nerve-racking for me, because it meant meeting tons of new people and being outgoing and ready to communicate. I was definitely nervous, but it ended up going really well.
The atmosphere in Kisa's classroom was very welcoming from the start. The desks were set up in a semicircle around the room, with a large space in the center. Music was playing out of speakers, which gave the class a less formal setting. When Kisa came into the room, she herself was incredibly kind and welcoming, greeting everyone as they walked in.
We spent the morning doing introductions and getting to know one another. Kisa asked us lots of questions that prompted discussion between the students, and helped us to become more familiar and comfortable with one another. I really enjoyed this, because I liked learning about everyone - people are from all over the place geographically, and everyone has a different culture and background, so it was interesting and fun to talk to people. After introductions, Kisa went over the course itself in more detail, and we received a syllabus and some other informative papers.
We had an hour and a half for lunch, which is much more time than I am used to, but which was incredibly nice. I walked with Iris and Abby along Thayer Street, which has a lot of yummy food (so I've heard from the Brown I group), and ended up eating a falafel pocket for lunch. Brown I's advice to eat on Thayer Street turned out to be great advice; the wrap was delicious.
After lunch, we had two more hours of class. Dean Rose came in and helped us develop our interpersonal communication skills, which was informative and interesting. One big subject that we discussed a lot was how to be a good listener, and what signals someone can give to show that this person is being a good listener; body language, facial expressions, nodding, and "verbal" listening can show respect for a speaker. Another topic we discussed was "I" statements, which can be effectively used to show how one feels about a certain situation.
We had a full day of class and leadership activities; in the evening, our class had a Leadership Compass with our Leader Fellows (who are essentially TA's for Kisa). We learned about the four types of leaders, and figured out what category we each fell under the most as leaders. By the end of the discussion about this, we all realized that we had certain qualities from each category, and no one fit any of the labels perfectly.
Today's class was really stimulating, and I am glad that I was able to contribute to the discussions and communicate my feelings in class. All the other girls (and the one guy) in my class will be fun to learn and grow with, because they all seem like amazing, intelligent people so far. I'm really looking forward to the next two weeks.