Getting to know people from another country

Narayan Nunez Blandon-Staff Writer

“We are talking about a very dynamic group of students. Each one is unique. Each one is different.” Linda Schroedermeier, international and off-campus coordinator

This fall, Dordt College welcomed one of the largest incoming classes of international students. They all participated in different activities during the International Student Orientation (ISO) and the Week of Welcome (WOW) to meet new friends and get familiarized with the United States and college.

Meeting new people is a common aspect of life. Studies show that throughout life, on average, we are expected to come into contact with approximately 100,000 different people. With more than 400 new freshmen and transfer students at Dordt College, not meeting new people is almost inexcusable. Nevertheless, some international students find it hard to meet new friends.

Schroedermeier shared some insight about some of the struggles that international students commonly have: “Meeting so many Americans at once and trying to make friends could be a challenge. It could be intimidating to be bold and take initiative in a new country to get to know North Americans.”

In addition to guiding students who are interested on studying abroad, Schroedermeier also welcomes the new international students, orients them during their first days at Dordt, and helps them adapt to the new environment.

For many international students, this is their first time in the USA. For a few, it is the first time to travel outside their country. Such is the case for Jung Eun Choi.

Choi, a student from South Korea, shared that this is her very first time to go abroad. Just like some other international students, Choi considers language and cultural adaptation as a problem in communicating.

“I can endure, but language is a problem: outside of class, people speak in slangs… in jokes,” Choi said.

Although communication is one of her struggles, Choi said she feels comfortable at Dordt because some students are friendly and willing to help.

Similarly to Choi, this is Natalia Oloo’s first time abroad. Oloo is an exchange student from Kenya majoring in communications and public relations. So far, she said, she is enjoying her experience at Dordt despite the cultural differences.

“Americans are really friendly,” Oloo expressed as she laughed. “People want to know how you are doing. It’s kind of weird.”

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