The Mentorship Spot
My Experience as an International Student Studying MIT at Western
Updated: Jul 30, 2020
By Shloak Srivastava
My name is Shloak Srivastava, and I am an upcoming second-year international student at Western majoring in Media Information and Technoculture or MIT. This might sound different and yes, it is a unique program. In this article, I’ll be sharing a brief background of MIT, my firsthand experience with it in first year, and my experience coming to Western as an international student.
Media and Information were self-explanatory terms but Technoculture was a new term for me too. It essentially stands to bridge the gap between technology and culture. The MIT program at Western aims to offer critical, interdisciplinary analysis of the institutions, practices, and cultural meanings associated with technologies of communication, information, knowledge, learning, and entertainment. My first year at Western has been a mixed bag of experiences. There was an enormous amount of knowledge that I acquired both academically and personally. The reason I chose this program is because I was vehement about studying media since it is omnipresent nowadays. Moreso, I have always been passionate about reading and writing about automobiles and this program seemed to cover my areas of interest. Today, media has become an indispensable part of every industry and within itself too, it is now a giant industry. My first year as an MIT student was pretty smooth and I had a lot of time to engage in extracurriculars without compromising on my academics. Moreover, I had the flexibility to choose different courses like German and Political Science to study along with MIT as electives. The first-year course load wasn’t much, and the courses were very interesting. The courses covered a wide variety of topics ranging from analyzing the commercial media to studying media theories. The basic and required courses introduced me to the concept of Media Information and Technoculture and how it blends in with the contemporary world. Other electives were centered around critically analyzing the content we consume and addressing the shortfalls of media and representation. Additionally, a lot of emphasis was laid on research work. I learned a lot about researching, reading, and using published scholarly work. A program like MIT does involve a lot of essay writing and good research work is prudent. For MIT, the first year is summed up by media, cultural, communication and information theories, research work, applying these concepts, and being creative. MIT does give students a lot of space to get creative and voice their perspectives. The first two years are aimed at building a strong foundation for the student to help them understand their areas of interest. Third and Fourth years are defining years for an MIT student where they can channelize their interest and pursue a customized area of study. It also provides the necessary background for graduate work in media studies, communication, and other disciplines.
As I mentioned before, media is ubiquitous and a program like this provides a lot of flexibility in terms of career opportunities. One can opt for and study Journalism, Media Studies and Analysis, Communications, Digital Marketing, Professional Content Writing, Social Media Analysis, Broadcasting, Research Work and the list continues. Personally speaking, since childhood, I have been very passionate about automobiles and the technology that surrounds them and thus, I plan to pursue automotive journalism or automotive marketing as career options. Again, given the flexibility of the program, I might end up developing some new interests. Compared to Grade 12, my writing skills have improved drastically, and the difference is visible when I write essays and articles. Moreover, I am developing even better analytical and researching skills as I continue with the program.
As an international student, my transition into Western was a learning experience. It was not all flowery, but I emerged as an even more confident person. Academically, I had studied humanities with subjects like Psychology, Sociology, and Political Science, and moving into a media-related field made me nervous. But the professors, orientation leaders, and my faculty staff made the transition a lot easier for me. On the other hand, it was overwhelming to meet so many new people, make friends, explore campus, and understand the lifestyle here, but I got used to it within the first few months. Back home in India, we had different methods of writing and learning and that was the biggest change for me coming here, however, one learns all this with patience and consistency. I would recommend all incoming students who plan to start with university soon to keep an open mind. You all need to go out there and explore new things. Make new friends, new connections, learn about resources, and use them. Follow up on your interests and carry them forward. I was a little shy and socially conscious at the beginning which is alright but don’t let that stop you from trying. There are enormous opportunities out there and you all have the potential to achieve great things. Lastly, to all my international friends, keep in mind that you have an exclusive advantage, you come from different backgrounds, cultures, and speak multiple languages so use these to connect with new people from all across the globe. All of this will help you to have a better transition into university life.
If you are planning to pursue a career related to media or associated fields, MIT is a program you should consider taking.
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