Universities and colleges have the priviledge of being a diverse community that attracts students from the four corners of the world. This can be a beautiful thing to see once on campus but a very hard situation for the ones that to arrive.
Integration can be a very challenging task to do for people that do not speak the language fluently. Not only is the language hard to cope with but the culture is also hard to understand for some. For Stephan Montano, a previous University student from Argentina, it was not easy to adapt to the American culture. Simple gestures such as holding hands in public or kissing were shocking for Shafiq.
For others, the thought of not being able to communicate with their relatives on a consistent basis makes the journey hard to continue. Some leave and never come back. On the other hand, some decide to stay and enjoy their new surroundings. “I love meeting new people and seeing different faces” says Jin from South Korea.
This challenge requires a lot of maturity and mental preparation to successfully have the ability to study in a different country. “I knew I would be at Southeastern University before I even physically saw the campus” said an incoming student from Canada.
It is also favorable for these students to have a support system in case unfortunate circumstance occurs. For Tamara Brown, from the Bahamas, this is the case. “If it were not for my family and fiancé I don’t know what I would do” she says. These supports are needed for financial and emotional necessities.
Since times can get lonely, it is important to socialize with others. Isolation will only make the experience more difficult and unmemorable. Building relationships, connections and memories is to be established during the first year of college to keep those students in the institution. So far, Southeastern has implemented that concept carefully by creating First Teams; meetings that are held to help students become more familiar with the campus, activities and culture of the university.
These experiences can be life changing for these international students. They are away from home but have the possibilities to have their territory enlarged. New opportunities, new friends, new languages; these experiences can revolutionize their future.
Southeastern University’s beauty of diversity is demonstrating how life should be and it is refreshing.