International students adjust to learning, living in Mount Pleasant
]Imagine coming to the U.S. from another country for college.
Exactly one year ago, Central Michigan University became home to 564 international students from over 50 different countries. This semester, that number increased as the undergraduate, foreign exchange and English language institute programs welcomed a larger incoming group.
Not all students make the journey alone. Freshmen Zhenxiang Xu and Jingwen Ge are both from the Anhui province of China. And both came to study business.
“In China, there’s more people than cars,” Ge said. “In America, there’s more cars than people.”
Xu and Ge said they were surprised by the contrast between the busy streets of China and the more relaxed atmosphere of Mount Pleasant.
Both have been adjusting to the cultural differences, which they find at times amusing.
“In China, I wore a larger size, but here I’m a small,” Xu said. “We had one friend who had to buy children’s clothes. All the clothes here are so big.”
Both are making progress in their English classes. Ge said watching American movies have helped him, especially the Twilight Saga.
“This helps improve my English because they speak so slowly.” he said.
Xu and Ge are not the only international students dealing with a cultural transitions — particularly in regards to diet.
“I think the common food here is pizza,” said Rom Nath Baral, a graduate student from Nepal.
This is his first year studying chemistry at CMU.
He said he is glad to be studying in a country that he feels is neat, clean and well managed.
“The standard of education here is very different,” Baral said. “Here it is more practical, there it more theoretical.”
Baral misses his family, especially his two young daughters, Robin and Alisha. He hopes to bring them to the U.S. once he obtains his Ph.D.
“I want to bring my family here,” Baral said, “The political situation in Nepal is not so good.”
Graduate student Oluwadamilola Oladubu is from Nigeria and came to study Human Resource Management.
Oladubu said just her experiences in a different environment are teaching her about people.
Although she enjoys Mount Pleasant, she said it was a culture shock to hear students address professors like equals.
“In Nigeria, you have to address older people by a certain way,” she said. “It’s been weird having to address some professors by their first name.”
Oladubu said she misses her home church, but is happy attending Potter’s House with friends. Currently, she is uncertain about her future.
“Right now, I just want to get my master’s,” she said. “I might work here for a while, then go back home. The opportunity is what really matters.”
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