I want to reflect on why I became part of GCAS, and what my experiences with the school have been over the past two years.

I first heard of GCAS in the fall of 2015. Studying in Vermont, a friend asked if I could take an online course with him; ‘I don’t know what you mean, but sure, why not,’ was my response. I’d studied some psychoanalysis (at the time, I was an enthusiastic student of an American Kleinian), but this course I took with Julie Reshe (GCAS’ Director of Psychoanalysis) was engaged in work so radical and so new that I was floored. My second exposure to GCAS was several months later.

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Julie Reshe, PhD

"The old model of education doesn’t work, so why should we not try to do something different?"

I was in Poland in the spring, and immediately sent an email to Creston Davis (the Founding Director of GCAS) asking if I could take a second course; I actually took two, and GCAS became something which further and further piqued my interest.

So a year later, in January of 2017, I visited Creston and David Steinrueck in Maribor, Slovenia: The visit was productive, and I got to meet the people working on GCAS in person. The summer conference solidified my conviction to work with GCAS and do whatever I could to for its project.

A small space in Maribor was filled then with what is probably the single most remarkable concentration of intellects I have ever encountered.

Plus, it was not simply the brilliance of each individual mind, but the ease and informality with which the whole group seemed to collaborate. To reflect on the community of GCAS researchers is to simply note that there is nothing like it.

GCAS’ researchers and my engagement with them offered a variety of questions on various academic topics, and interrogated the role of the intellectual in today’s world. So after presenting some of my work in Katowice, I made my way back to Maribor and moved into an apartment with another student. Of course this was, and is, quite a risk. GCAS is a radical project, and in a fight to carve out a place for itself. But it is, of course, well worth it.

GCAS allows an opportunity to get a higher education debt-free. I had looked at other institutions (In Switzerland, Poland, and the United States), but for the superb education GCAS provides, there is no equal. This community here in Maribor is additionally fruitful. In the first week and a half, I have met and had discussions with wonderfully charming and brilliant GCAS researchers, all nestled in this little city in the foothills of the alps.

GCAS

Meet-up in Brooklyn, New York

I can additionally reflect upon GCAS operating on the model of a hybrid e-school. It is unusual that progressives would jump on board e-learning. Usually, this is the practice of for-profit, low quality and exploitative institutions in the United States. But I had coffee in Maribor with Julie Reshe, who noted something quite the opposite:

"The old model of education doesn’t work, so why should we not try to do something different?"

This is the present where, by and large, communities are organized by way of modern communication technology; and many academics make their careers in this way. While I was in Poland and the United States and unable to study in-person, GCAS’ model enabled me to still take courses. It also included a far greater range of voices in the lectures than would otherwise be possible. And because GCAS’ model is not simply about the e-school, but lectures all over the world, this enables students to travel while we study. Humanities are fields which can, properly, change the world, or at least contribute greatly to the wellbeing of people.

Sviatlana Viarbitskaya, PhD in Physics is a GCAS Researcher and Artist

GCAS is doing them differently, and I am delighted to be part of this project.

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