Abhinand: The United States gives you flexibility to take
any courses you want. Another thing that it does is, it's just a
nice learning atmosphere, I think most of all the only, the main
thing that sets it apart is there's a lot of money allocated to
education, so the facilities are good and it's flexible, so you
can mix and study anything you want.
Stevens: I think a lot of students follow something
that's known as the U-curve of cultural adjustment, and that is
when you're first here you're very excited.
Mia: More positive things. So, it was really a
shock when I came here. Because it was, my first three months I
was really homesick.
Stanislaw: I was excited when I was coming, and
it's a whole new environment and new people, and there is even a
shock at the beginning.
Sobel: When they first arrive, I think there's,
I think a little bit of surprise. They're looking at America and
not on television and not what they've seen through movies, but
in reality. And, I think at first there's, you know, I think people
a little bit scared, nervous, very shy.
Stevens: A lot of students then after that and
at varying times, experience sort of a downturn.
Stanislaw: This happens just at the beginning.
After that really just get into the routine and every day is the
same, hard work, hard studying, eventually we'll hang in there.
Sobel: Over time I think people become usually
a little bit less shy, a little, usually more comfortable with American
culture. Maybe more understanding of the complications and the complexity
of American culture, because it's a complicated place, and I think
people sometimes come here with not very complicated expectations.
And, I think as time goes on they learn.
Stevens: Some students come believing that everybody's
rich here and that they can be rich, too, and that they can easily
get a job and they, they can easily get permanent residence, and
most of them begin to realize after a very short time that this
is not always true.
Stanislaw: I realized that all the movies and other
things that I'd been watching back in my country are...they will
barely fall in a situation like this. It's a strong fiction, you
know, and obviously Hollywood is good in this.
Stevens: Most students at a certain point begin
the critical stage, and that is starting to come up again and recognizing
that there are good things about here and there are good things
about home, and that neither one is perfect.
Patrik: It's a funny thing, when you come from
Europe, it's so distinct what European culture is, what Scandinavian
culture, what British culture is like. American culture is a mix.
Mia: There is people from everywhere in the whole
world. And I love that, actually. That's what I love. Because you
can meet people from, you name it. And, it's very nice. And bring
together our thoughts. And, interact with people.
Abhinand: It was really nice, just meeting different
kinds of people. I think that's been the best experience.
Xiaoxue: I have Russian friend, American friend, of course, and
Indian friend, Pakistani friend, and African friend, and South American
friend. So, they're all over the world.
Patrik: I have the experience from people that
they're more open talking to each other.
Mia: It's easy to talk to them. I mean, it's very
easy to, you can walk up to them and most of them, you know, usually
talk back to you.
Abhinand: I actually like the fact that you can
say hi to people over here, because that way one thin nice is you
can make a lot of friends, you know. They may not be very deep,
very good friends, but you can still make a lot of friends.
John: I mean, people are friendly here. You get
to see, but after you've lived here for a while, you see that everybody
has their own sort of individual life.
Stanislaw: And, by the time you ask them for a
favor or something bigger than, how you doing, you realize that
they just, wait a minute, don't bother me.
Mia: I think Americans, one of my first impression
of them was that was that they, they had a tendency of saying, oh,
yeah, let's get together, and let's hang out. And let's do this.
But then they never, they don't really mean what they say.
Xiaoxue: Here in a class, you have to speak out.
You have to active, interact with the group, interact with the teacher.
Mia: Well, here it's more of a, like, classroom
situation from teacher versus student. They are more buddy-buddy
There's less respect for authority, but you get a chance to talk
with a professor, to have lunch with a professor, to listen to his
ideas, to give your ideas, so that's a good thing.
Stevens: I think most international students begin
rather rapidly to get a better realistic view of what life is like
in the US. And, in fact, what the US is like.
John: There is this kind of reliance on the written
rule, and the law.
Mia: If you say the wrong thing at the wrong time,
wrong place, you are going to have lawsuits or, you are not really
John: Sometimes, well, that's good, written. You
get an orderly society. But you, sometimes it's followed to a degree
that sort of stupid.
Stevens: We have problems, too. And some of our
problems have to do with poverty and high health care costs.
Patrik: You see crazy people walking around, homeless
in the streets, beggars. A lot of beggars. A lot more beggars than
John: The fact that they can leave such a large
proportion of their people without medical cover.
Mia: I remember I was sick once. And I went to
the emergency room. And then, the first thing that they asked me
when they don't even look what's wrong, what is my problem or something.
They just asked do you have insurance?
Stevens: If things are not exactly the way you
wanted them to be, and if they're not exactly the way things are
at home, well, they're not supposed to be.
John: It takes quite a while to get to know how
things work in the States or in any particular culture. You think
you know it after three months, six months, okay. But it takes a
lot longer to know that kind of deep cultural structures.
Stanislaw: I would recommend coming here to get
education because it's recognized worldwide.
Sobel: My best advice would be first to talk to
people who've come to the United States before, but to talk to many
Mia: Just talk to people with similar experiences.
Patrik: Save up money, enough to buy a car when
you come here.
Abhinand: Come over here and don't stick in your
own group, because there's no point in doing that. Come over here
and mix and learn about different things.
Stevens: Well, I like the writer Stephen Covey
and I like what he has to say when one is beginning something new,
and that is begin with the end in mind. So, I recommend that students
start with how they would like to see themselves at the end of two
years or at the end or four years or longer if they're doing a degree.
Start with where you want to end up and then prepare yourself in