Our grantees| Matyáš Jirát| First impressions from deciduous world
13. November 2017 Matyáš Jirát

First impressions from deciduous world

After a long journey and a short stop in Boston to get to know the American city life, I am heading further, destination: Vermont. Already along the way I have seen that I will like this state. Some things left me breathless. Huge green deciduous forests full of life. No billboards at roads, only little cute signs, most with “Hate has no place here” written on them.

After only a couple days in Bennington College, I already feel at home. There were only a few buildings, lot of empty space and squirrels, which are running around, as if they owned the place. From the very beginning we are exposed to the uncommonality of the college. One of the first tours was from my Pakistani friend – Asad J. Malik – who brought us to his studio of augmented reality, where he showed us his project of placing holograms of people into places, where they don’t belong. For example, a country men from Mongolia placed in New York subway, where people could go and listen to, through an app, what the Mongolian man has to say to them. The entire project is led by him, which goes in accordance to the principle of self-governance, which our school promotes.

View from Jennings

After an initial meeting with international students, who have arrived first and getting yourself set up in my big, new room, American students are also arriving and new cycle of introductions and learning peoples’ names started again. Also, my roommate arrived and we immediately became good friends.

In the school, they support us from the very beginning to study broadly, learn many skills and get to know new ways of thinking and expressing. I took Astronomy, Peacebuilding, Pair dancing, Tai Chi and Chinese language. I think I have accomplished that; and indeed, after two months of studying I feel my horizons are expanding. New culture, new understanding of myself and others through dance, solving of international and interpersonal conflicts. If I was a tree, like one of many around here, I can say that I am visibly growing.

After a while I became acquainted enough to start exploring around. First into the city of Bennington, go to Fuji to get Japanese food or 2 brews to get coffee and study. Merigold pizza is a surety for dinner, even though our cafeteria is as good as many restaurants. Here, they serve us plenty of vegetables, which students grew themselves over the summer and all the food is prepared by the kitchen staff. No half frozen, just reheated food, all is very good. And in case, we can also cook ourselves directly in the cafeteria or even in our houses.

In a month, I have been going further. First Middlebury to visit friends or Williams College to see planetarium. And because we are living in Vermont, we had to go hiking. Two days in nature has excited me beyond measure. The cleanliness of local nature as at least as good as in Czech and the beauty of fall is simply indescribable. Huge forests full of deciduous trees and all suddenly start changing colours. That is impossible to describe, that must be lived.

I didn’t even realize how fast the time flies, soon going back home for Christmas and I am very excited to have good Czech food, see my family and maybe even if someone asks, “How are you?” they actually want to hear an answer. I am bringing home plenty of experiences, which hopefully will enrich myself and others. In the end, I can only say, USA is great, but home is home.

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