New international students adapt to American campus life
In the two months since they have arrived at Maryville College, international students at the college have participated in various activities on campus and even ventured out on more than one trip to different states.
Lucila Carminatti, a freshman from Argentina majoring in political science, said she was insecure and worried about experience that she would have in America until her arrival at MC, since she did not know anything about the campus.
“I had no idea how the campus looked like, or who my classmates would be,” Carminatti said. “I just had vague ideas. I ended up loving it, though. I am doing so much better than I thought I would be.”
Carminatti said she was impressed with the ease with which she became part of a new community. She even said that living on campus is her favorite part of living in the United States
“It’s very easy to approach to people in a way of telling each other about how our day was, every night,” Carminatti said. “Copeland is another small community that everybody knows each other.”
She also enjoys staying busy with all the organizations on campus so she can keep from feeling homesick. One such event that Carminatti enjoyed and helped relieve the stress of schoolwork and exams was homecoming. She watched both the parade and football game. Carminatti enjoyed taking a lot of pictures and meeting Maryville College alumni who graduated recently.
“I did not participate in the parade, but I really enjoyed watching my international friends wearing amazing traditional costumes from their home countries,” Carminatti said. “The football was definitely a very American experience. Alumni seemed so excited to come back to celebrate, and I wish all the people would be as much excited as people were at the home game.”
Another new international student adjusting to MC is Talat Fida, a foreign exchange student from Pakistan majoring in business. Like Carminatti, he said he is also fond of how friendly people are around this area.
“They never let you feel like you are an outsider, so it is very appreciative. There are always thoughtful people that you can reach out to whenever you need help,” Fida said. “Especially, professors are very helpful and supportive.”
He also said he appreciates learning experience in his classes which are discussion-based. To him, discussion-based classes have helped him understand the subject matter better than studying textbooks by himself, which he typically did in Pakistan. Fida considers participating in the discussion to be important because he understands that American students and the professors want to hear his perspective.
Besides class, playing volleyball in a team where each team member belongs to different countries has been his favorite activity since he came to MC. Fida and his teammates became good friends while reaching the semi-final of the intramural volleyball tournament on campus.
Another standout experience since coming to MC was a trip to Orlando with several other international students. He had an opportunity to ride roller coasters for the first time in his life, and he especially enjoyed the dramatic falls of the rides.
Unlike Caminatti’s academic concerns, Fida has a quite different concern at MC.
“Honestly, the quality of the food in my country is better than the food in Pearsons,” Fida said. “So, whenever I go to Pearsons, I miss my food a lot.”
On Homecoming day, Fida said he enjoyed watching the football game and attending the Homecoming dance party.
“I had never played American football, but after watching the game on the Homecoming day, I am kind of in love with American football,” Fida said. “I really want to play the game with the trained football players.”
Fida also met a couple during homecoming who spoke Urdu to him, which is the official Pakistani language.
“When I talked to them, I knew that they had been to Pakistan for more than five years,” Fida said.
Both students have become engaged on campus. Carminatti is an active member of SGA currently, and she is enjoying her busy life on campus even though she sometimes feels pressure of little time she has for herself. Fida is still participating in playing various sports such as volleyball and tennis. He is expecting more of valuable experience to have at MC until the day he leaves for Pakistan.