Making friends helps foreign students adjust

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   Moving from another country to the U.S. has been a challenge for me, but it has made for a great experience.

   Life as a foreign student can be hard. But making friends and trying new things can help those foreign students adjust to their new environment

   According to statistics from the Multicultural Inclusion Center, there are about 2,000 foreign students at Dixie State University. Many come to this country either by themselves or with their families looking for new opportunities, but being in a totally different environment brings new obstacles. 

   When I first moved to the U.S. from Ecuador, my perspectives were different. I was used to being in my culture with my family and friends and not worrying about adjusting to something new. Learning a new language was the hardest part, but learning how to fit in with people and make friends was also challenging. 

   Many things were different; the weather, clothing, food,  laws, and a variety of other things. For example, in my culture, we say hello with a kiss on the cheek. But here that is an invasion of personal space. 

   I remember my first day of school here. I was crying because my high school was so big, I could not find my classes, and it was frustrating. In my country, we would stay in one classroom, and teachers would come to us.

   It is also really hard to be away from home. If foreign students come here by themselves, like I did, it can bring new frustrations and also sometimes loneliness, because they have no one to support them, and they have to try unfamiliar traditions to adjust to an unknown society.

   Trying to communicate in a different language is still a challenge for me. I believe it is a big problem for many other students who come to this country trying to earn their degree while learning a new language. Writing an essay, or giving a speech in English, is like completely switching my mind on a different mode. However, it has its advantages as well because being bilingual opens many doors in the professional world.

   Foreign students should make new friends. When I first came to this country, I made friends with other students who spoke my native language to help me learn the language here. By doing this, I learned English a lot faster than I would have.

   New friends also helped me become more open by exposing me to the ways of living in this country. They showed me around town and taught me how Americans act.

   Going through all of these challenges can be tough for many and it definitely was for me, but with hard work and outgoingness, I have learned a lot.Other foreigners at DSU can too, if they choose to try new things.

   The solution to all of these challenges for foreigners come as opportunities that open the mind to a new knowledge and a variety of multicultural backgrounds. When someone has adjusted to a new culture they will feel confident enough to go anywhere in the world and not feel like a stranger.

   Being a foreigner is not easy and it brings demanding tests of confidence with oneself. But being a foreigner means adventure and adventure brings knowledge.