Experiences of international students

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  • International students give their insights on their unique experiences at UNI. This week, there will be a variety of events in which students can engage with the global community.

  • UNI aloja a muchos estudiantes de diferentes partes del mundo. Hace dos semanas se dedicó una semana para celebrar las diferentes culturas de los estudiantes internacionales así como con el resto de los estudiantes para compartir las costumbres y tradiciones de cada país.

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UNI hosts students from countries all over the world. Oftentimes, coming to UNI is an international students’ first time experiencing the United States.

“We are very interested to know what it’s like to live in America because we’ve only seen it in movies,” Gavik Kuruppu, an international student from Sri Lanka said. “America is one of the best of the countries in the world, and everyone knows about it. So learning about, seeing it in movies, reading about it, and then finally coming here and living it is what we want. The more friends we make the more able we are to get that experience. So teach us what it is like, and share your experiences.”

Many international students also may experience a few culture shocks as they transition to life in America. Nneoma Nnaji, an international student from Nigeria, experienced a shock regarding how people dress.

“People here dress very informal to classes,” Nnaji said. “My first shock was seeing someone wear pajamas to class. I think my other shock was professors allowing you to eat in class because they don’t do that back home, so that was exciting.”

Semyon Drozdetckii, an international student from Russia, noted there are many similarities between Russia and America, but he has noticed little differences like the direction of doors locks. He also notes the different dispositions of people in Iowa versus Russia.

“People in Iowa are really nice,” Drozdetckii said. “Much nicer than the people in Russia. But in Russia people will usually say what they think of you and sometimes that is necessary.”

On top of cultural differences, international students often experience American food for the first time. Pancakes are a food mentioned by several international students to be one of their favorite foods they have tried in America.

“I was told there is a National Pancake Day and some small towns across Iowa have a day dedicated towards pancake day, and they spend the day making pancakes,” Kuruppu said. “That was something that really got me excited because I love myself a good stack of pancakes.”

Nnaji also mentioned her love for pancakes.

“All I heard in Nigeria before coming here was burgers, burgers, burgers,” Nnaji said. I’m sorry but it’s overhyped. My favorite food is ribs and pancakes. I’d never really had pancakes back home, but I tried it here and I loved it.”

International Education Week, starting Nov. 14 and ending Nov. 18, will allow international students to showcase their culture, country and chat with the campus community about their experiences. Kuruppu is most looking forward to the Taste of Culture event Nov. 15 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., where he will make curry for his booth showcasing Sri Lanka.

Drozdetckii is also looking forward to the Taste of Culture event.

“It’s a really nice chance to expand your knowledge about other people’s culture,” Drozdetckii said.

Nnaji is excited for International Karaoke and Dance from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 16, as she has been asked to dance at the event.

For a full calendar of events of International Education Week, visit internationalengagement.uni.edu.