There was a lot I hadn’t known about Americans before we moved to the US to pursue graduate studies. For example, I wasn’t aware of the implications of the famous strive for excellence, which, at our school, meant a strong competition among the students.
As a result, there was tension in the air, especially in class, and I often felt surrounded by rivals rather than friends or colleagues. In instances like those, it is recommended (MS. Mentor?) to be cautious and to think twice before speaking. Indeed, many fellow students chose not to speak in class. But coming from an Israeli university, where studying was a social activity, I was used to being able to participate in class and ask questions. Thus, although many students in my new class were quiet, and sometimes it was a challenge for my professor to draw them in, I usually spoke up.
The other day doing some pre Pesach cleanup, I came across an old letter, which reminded me
how conspicuous I must have seemed at that class.
Please read more in the Times Of Israel