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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

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Student blogs


Vancouver, Canada
Democracy and Its Discontents
Summer College 2008
Hi everyone, my name is Josh and I will be taking Democracy and its Discontents at Cornell Summer College. I am from Vancouver, Canada (just near Seattle, for those of you who are unsure). I'm very excited to be attending Cornell this summer, for a number of reasons. The course I am enrolled in sounds perfect, and I'm excited to meet new people and go beyond the typical high school experience. I think it will be a great opportunity to experience college life in Ithaca, and get a better understanding of what four years at Cornell might be like. In school I enjoy studying humanities, and any area of history fascinates me. After class, I enjoy tennis, basketball, reading, and playing clarinet. I look forward very much to meeting you all in a few weeks!

As I write this today I find it hard to believe I've already spent two weeks at Cornell. It has been an absolute blast and I am so glad I decided to spend my summer here. First order of business: my class. The professor, Dr. Nick Salvatore, is brilliant, approachable, and has a way of bringing the events of decades ago to life. The material is fascinating, and we've had an opportunity to discuss and analyze U.S. social and political issues in depth, much more so than you experience at a high school level. The quality of discussion with my classmates has been first rate. As one would expect, our after-class hours have been filled with many intense debates surrounding current American politics!

Another thing that has impressed me with the summer program is the diversity of the student body. Now, diversity is an oft-used word, and can mean many things. Let me describe what I have experienced. On the very first day of the program, during the social, I was able to discuss Chinese politics (one of my interests) with a student from Shanghai. I practiced my Mandarin skills with him, and he practiced speaking English with me. A day later, I had lunch with my classmates up at Trillium. I am from Canada as I mentioned before, the student to my left was from Belgium, across from him was a student from Puerto Rico, and several of my other friends come from Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and various other states. As soon as the word 'politics' was mentioned, there was no stopping us. We could all contribute our own unique perspective and vision of world affairs, and learned from what each other had to share.

I've made many great friends at this program so far, and I'm saddened to think that I will be leaving this place in a few short days. I know I'll miss exploring the nooks of White Library, peering down into the gorges on my walks to class, and enjoying lively lunchtime discussions with my friends. I do have one week still to enjoy, however, so right now my goal is to ensure I make the most of my remaining days in Cornell.