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Way too foreign for America

Photo by Austin St. John
Photo by Austin St. John

A smaller, yet growing portion of the student body at ORU comes from around the globe. International students face challenges that American students may not realize, but more often than not, American born students can help in adapting to the great adventure of a different lifestyle.

International students leave their countries and their cultures. These students may come from different backgrounds, but for all, the U.S. is now home.

Adjusting to a new culture might seem like a never-ending challenge. One might never get used to seeing Americans combine peanut butter with almost anything (even celery), or the pumpkin craze that occurs around every autumn.

What’s my name?
International students are used to people butchering their names. These students know the first day of class will be a test of patience.

A student’s name is likely one of the top 10 common names in his or her country, it probably never occurred to him or her that people would have trouble pronouncing it until the first day of class.

International students often end up changing their name to an easier, shorter version of the original after explaining the correct pronunciation of a name countless times. Problem solved; sort of.

“Oh, I love your accent”
An accent is the best indicator of an international student.

Fortunately, Americans seem to enjoy accents, but only if they are understandable. International students enjoy compliments on their accent; it means their English is not as bad as they think it is.

It is common for international students to get excited when they see people from their native country. They might not even know each other personally, but students from the same country may act like they do. It can be a nice change to speak a native language for a while.

Fellow students from the same country can remind each other of home and the culture they left not so long ago.

Charades anyone?
Friends of international students understand the mini charade game that occurs when trying to think of an English word. God bless those patient souls, willing to love on internationals despite sporadic language barriers.

Over time international students learn to love free t-shirts just like American students. Between wing t-shirts, Arise t-shirts and the Hammer Center t-shirt giveaway, five or more different shirts may accumulate over the semester. The excuse for not working out cannot be the lack of t-shirts an international student has.

International students might be miles away from home, but for now, America can feel close enough.

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