PEA Summer Programme Experiences 2016 - Mimi

On arrival into Boston, I hadn't really given much thought about what I might experience at Exeter. I was focused on making a good first impression. The only thing that probably crossed my mind, was the fact that I had assumed Exeter would be a boring and almost deserted tiny town.

On the bus, that picked us up my view, which was once of a bustling city with gleaming skyscrapers, turned into a long stretch of green forestry that continued on for what seemed like forever. It made me think, "Ah hah! Seh I knew." Nevertheless, I was shocked when we entered a town with neat roads and many calm little houses. I was surprised to find many more people lived in Exeter than I thought. When we finally arrived, all I could see was bricks. Literally every building in the academy is made of brick, adding to the air of archaicness. Well, with exception of the science building, a cool modern, glass structure. Surprisingly, the dining hall was smaller than I imagined. Although still quite large, I had, probably unrealistically, assumed there would be about three floors, each with a massive buffet. In real life, the buffet only had a few items, but there were salad, pasta and sandwich bars at every meal, as well as a drink dispenser with plentiful juices. *hint hint*

The food was definetely difficult to get used to. Coming back to Ghana, I realized our food is actually quite salty and peppery, two things Exeter food was not. I did enjoy the experience of sampling multicultural food, but I was grateful for Dr. And Mrs. Boadi who helped us out with some Ghanaian food every now and then. I was very thankful to them for all the help they gave us. And strangely, I was so fascinated that all we had to do was put our dirty dishes on a conveyor belt that led them to be cleaned mechanically.

Another interesting fact is that every classroom at Exeter has a round table to enable Harkness. I will admit I struggled in the beginning with Harkness. For example, in my Introduction to Electronics class, I was extremely quiet my first day as the other students confidently belted out advanced physics terms and laws I had never heard before. However, as I became more used to the environment and did some research of course, I started to warm up to the idea of contributing thoughts around a round table.  On the other hand, with theatre, I was able to jump into the Harkness style of teaching the first day. Maybe it was my dear love for the art, but I found it extremely interesting and interactive sharing ideas about the different ways of acting and what to do and what not to do when putting on a show. The best part about Introduction to theatre was putting on the One-Act plays. I played Heather, a concerned friend who had accidentally set her friend up with a man periodically possessed by the devil. It wasn't as weird as you think. Unfortunately Harkness was not possible in my dance class. I was a bit uncomfortable at first with the new kinds of dances and movements which were the complete opposite of the azonto and shoki I was used to. But I soon got so into the class that I blindly agreed to choreograph a dance for the entire class. And not just any routine, but I decided to use the theme, "Black lives matter" to choreograph a dance to Beyonce's famous song Freedom. Teachers I applaud you for your good work. Teaching is not a breeze, nevertheless the dance was a success.

In my opinion, the best building at Exeter is the library. I had heard the library was so "pretty" but had never bothered to visit it myself. One day in my spare time I decided to do some exploring. I nearly fainted. The grand building has nine or so floors each with slick wooden banisters and unpainted cement walls. Large circles are carved into the walls so that the considerable number of books on each floor can be seen even from the ground floor. My friends and I often spent afternoons relaxing on the lawn in front of the library. My favorite part of Exeter was meeting new people from all around the world and learning new languages and cultures. Okay let's move away from the academy itself. I must say Exeter is an extremely beautiful town. I remember the first time I went into town. I had tried to look for an AT and T store using google maps and my inexistent knowledge of miles. After 30 minutes, having asked about ten people for directions and getting lost many times, I had to turn my sweaty self around. Luckily, I spotted a Walgreens on my way back, where I bought an At and t chip and some Ben and Jerry's cookie dough ice cream to reward myself for the struggle I had encountered. The greatest upside is that the restaurants  and cafes in Exeter are amazing. If you ever find yourself there please make it a point to visit still wells. Best ice cream ever.

Thank you,
Mimi Boateng,