When I graduated from high school I decided to continue my education and go to college. I applied to one of the Houston Community College campuses as an international student, and I was happily accepted. I was excited and a little scared because it would be my first experience to learn a different culture. Since I have been in the United States, I not only explored American culture, but I also grew as an individual.
As soon as I arrived, my friends whom I was supposed to live with met me at the airport. They were so nice and helpful. They took me to our new apartment. It was a large apartment with three rooms. The next day I went to the community college in order to register for classes and to take a few placement tests.
During my first month in the US, I had many difficulties with English, and teachers would speak so fast that I was unable to understand their lectures. There would be moments when the whole class would laugh at something the teacher said and I would laugh so I would not feel lost. I also discovered that Americans have different habits and their own way of doing certain things. For instance, there was a guy who sat next to me and burped out loud in class. If you did that in my country people would give you crazy looks because an action such as, burping in public, is not appreciated in my culture and it is extremely rude. I told that story to my roommates and they laughed at me and explained to me that that was a normal action in American culture. As time passed, I started to enjoy exploring this new culture. I learned so much in a short amount of time. I made new friends, and I built a new life for myself.
So much was said about being an international student, but only when I experienced it things made sense. It was not easy, and, whether I wanted it or not, I ended up evolving and maturing as a young man. I realized that I could handle challenges way more than I could and would have ever imagined. It was totally about believing and motivating yourself to do anything that came your way. I also learned to appreciate things that I have because they might be gone sooner than you would hope. The best part about being an international student was not about the parties or places I got to go to, not the independence and life experience, but the new wonderful people that I met. It felt very good to be in the states and to experience all that they had to offer.
Attitudes on dropping out are different between domestic student and international students. For instance, there is less pressure for students born here. There are more consequences for an international students to drop out of school. According to Robert T. Carter , who is a professor at University of Maryland; Students indicated that they felt little pressure to decide on or choose a major. International students felt strongly that they would not drop out of school while pursuing their undergraduate degrees. They also felt strongly that they would be able to earn high grades in their courses.
In my opinion, there is nothing like home. I am enjoying my stay in America, but I know that this will not be my permanent home. America has been completely different from what I expected. America holds a lot opportunities that will allow me to provide a better life back home. From my perspective, you have two options when you live in the states. The first option is, you have to finish school, get your degree, and get into your field of study. In this way, you have a better foundation so you can build your future. The other option is that you will need to work for the rest of your life for minimum wage. As time has passed, I have understood that some Americans fail to realize how blessed and fortunate they are compared to people from other countries. They have everything here. American life is based on credit history. If you have sufficient credit history you are able to buy a house, car and whatever you want. They (Americans) have a government where they can get financial aid and apply to any university in the states. I still don’t understand what all these wants in a country where they have everything. But people here, instead of going to school, work at fast food restaurants. I wish they could see how life is overseas, and maybe then they would understand how blessed they are. There are many differences that I found between Americans and people from overseas. This is the true meaning of culture shock.
People overseas struggle to get into universities because of the government entrance examinations. However, Americans, they are only required to take a placement exam. In US, if you don’t pass the placement exam, you required to take a developmental classes, while in Turkey you would wait a year to take the exam again. According to ISA(International students in America) are an advantaged as the consequences are less extreme.
America is a developed country where you can have a chance that will be there for you at any time. Foreign people are coming here to get a better life. But the interesting thing that American life is definitely for American citizens. There is no way for foreign people to get financial aid from American government. It angers me at times because, most of the Americans don’t want to study and they do not take advantage of the possibilities. What about foreigners? Just because we weren’t born here we do not qualify. I wish I could have been born an American citizen and show them what they are losing.
Living in a foreign society and staying away from traditions, family and friends is interesting. This is when you learn from your mistakes and struggle with the difficult situations that life throws at you. It is time for people to prepare for the future and learn from today’s tragedies and experiences. Our life is relentless; today he will let us stay with our family, tomorrow only he knows how the day is going to be. There is one fact that will always be a possibility: even if you reach the ultimate status someday you might fall right back to the start. That’s how my first stay away from home and exploring a new culture totally changed me.