With the spring semester fully kicked off at all of our host universities across the United States, Global UGRADs have had a chance to get settled in and make first impressions! There are so many new sights to see and experiences to be had, it is always enlightening to hear directly from participants about what stands out as unique at first.
With arrivals spanning throughout the month of January, many Global UGRADs in central and northern states have had the chance to see snow for the first time and adjust to colder climates. Elvira Rodriguez (Panama) is studying at Castleton University in Vermont. While she’s getting used to the cold and snow, her biggest observation was actually about the beautiful architecture (and nature!) she sees around her. She mentioned appreciating the many student activities that Castleton plans, and also noted that the academic approach (with an emphasis on assignments) is different from what she was accustomed to in her home country. She told her advisors: “I had never thought about Vermont before… I think it’s so great… to actually go to another place you never thought about before.”
Elvira Rodriguez, Panama, Global UGRAD 2021-2022, Castleton University
There are plenty of students in warmer climates, too! Anusher Khumorikov (Tajikistan) is attending Florida Gulf Coast University, where he says “the weather is nice and warm. There are many beaches, lakes and pools around to swim.” More surprisingly, “there are some alligators around the campus. I have already seen one. According to the people, they are not dangerous if you do not feed them. I was so excited to see an alligator for the first time in my life.” In addition to seeing exotic new wildlife, Anusher also shared that “the campus seemed so huge for me that I thought I would never be able to learn where different things are located. I was walking around the campus the first day, looked at the buildings and tried to figure out what buildings are for. I saw an academic building, library, wellness center, and etc. I thought it would take me so much time to reach different places from my dorm, but then I found out that there will be buses which I can use. The students and staff on campus are very welcoming and approachable.”
Anusher Khumorikov, Tajikistan, Global UGRAD 2021-2022, Florida Gulf Coast University
Global UGRADs at many different host universities have also noticed that Americans can be quite welcoming, and especially polite. Moe Myint Myat (Burma) is studying at Troy University and was surprised to see how polite Americans have been: “They really love to say “thank you” and ” you’re welcome.” When I was at the Kitchen delivery for community service, we had to pack the food boxes and deliver them to the preschool. While preparing food boxes, I passed 60 boxes to one American girl’s hand and she said “thank you” to me 60 times. She was very polite and in my culture saying thank you one time is enough.”
Moe Myint Myat, Burma, Global UGRAD 2021-2022, Troy University
In addition to politeness, Hakyou Be (Cambodia), studying at West Virginia University, noticed that Americans have a great respect for time: “Basically, the professor always starts and finishes punctually. I also saw that they value and respect time.” Hakyou says, onetime “the professor handling the project got lost on the way to the meeting and was 30 minutes late. Thus, she apologized to us again and again for waiting and she even apologized again when the meeting was ended. Compared to my country’s culture, this situation would be fine (not a big deal), but here it is kind of a big deal when it comes to time. Thus, I have learned to be on time and always be punctual for any event here.”
Hakyou Be, Cambodia, Global UGRAD 2021-2022, West Virginia University
Be on the lookout for more about our current Global UGRADs’ experiences across the United States as the spring semester progresses.