International Students in the U.S.: An Unknown World


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Facing an experience like studying abroad is not always easy. We change our sweet home for an unknown world. We discover new things: things we sometimes like, and things we sometimes dislike. But despite those things, I think all international students agree with me that we are living this adventure in one of the best countries in the world!


A good point in the U.S., according to Hangyeol (South Korea, 21), is that “every driver stops for pedestrians who cross the street.” That is a little detail we definitely don’t see everywhere we go. “But anyway, transportation is always a problem here,” Hangyeol continues, “you can’t go anywhere if you don’t have a car. In Seoul we have the best transportation system.” And I don’t know about South Korea, but I believe all internationals will agree with her, for most of the time here we have to ask an American (who will surely have a car) for a ride.


There are tiny details which somehow amaze most international students, who spend time here in the U.S. for the first time. The phrase “have a good day,” for instance, which comes so naturally to most people here, is not something we hear very often back at home. The first time you hear it from the lips of a Wal-Mart cashier, probably, you think you just ran into the nicest person ever. But as time goes by, you realize it is something everyone says to everybody. We still have our doubts about the veracity of such words, though. But still, it’s a wonderful phrase to hear. Especially if you’re not having a good day…


Another huge difference is, of course, the disparity among our home universities and PC. International students have found some advantages about studying here at PC, but a few disadvantages as well. Jessica (France, 21), who attends HECI Saint Louis, in Saint Etienne, talks about how courses tend to be more practical and more constant here. However, she also complains about the accommodation, because, back at home, she lives with her parents. And we all know how comfy we feel at home. But Alex (France, 20) who attends Université Pierre-Mendès-France, in Grenoble, loves the life here on campus and living away from his parents for a change. Axel (France, 20), who attends the same university as Jessica, also talks about the perks of having everything on campus. “I like it here. But Clinton is very small and there are no clubs or bars to go to, so it can get kind of boring sometimes,” he says.


We can’t forget, of course, our dearest friends: the geese and the squirrels! “You can’t see squirrels or geese in South Korea,” Hangyeol states. “Besides, I find Clinton is very comfortable and peaceful.” I couldn’t agree more with Hangyeol on that. We don’t get to see such animals in Spain either. (Maybe some kittens, but that’s all).


Studying abroad always initiates changes on a daily basis. But after all, isn’t that the real challenge? We survive those we don’t like and embrace those we do. All in all, they all might benefit us in one way or another. Getting to discover a new culture is a blessing, or so I think. So even if we complain about some things over and over, most of us feel happy to be here. We will have plenty of time to enjoy life at home, right?