In 2019-2020, we featured first-year international students on our campus. We hope you enjoy these stories and that you can relate to them, or learn from them.
I think I’m still adapting, and still finding what works for me. A bunch of new things just got thrown at me. New city, new country, new school. I’ve never been away from my family. Things that I had never done before, cause I’ve grown up in the same city, always went to the same school, ever since I was 4. So I’ve always been the one to see people come and go but like, now I’m the one who left. I’m just so excited to go into this, like of course I’m a bit scared … but I feel like I got this.”
- Thaisa Sant'Ana
I miss the food. Taiwan style chicken. Curry fish balls. Pineapple bun with butter. Everything. Congee. Fried noodles, pork chop bun. Hong Kong style waffle. The Hong Kong waffle, in Cantonese is 雞蛋仔, and you barely find it here. A good authentic 雞蛋仔 should be crispy outside, and fluffy inside. Even though you find it in some Hong Kong restaurants here, it’s not as good. Also you don’t have that same feeling.
Here you can’t really find any street food. At midnight in Macau or Hong Kong you can just go down the stairs of your home and find food in like 2 to 5 minutes. It’s like walking distance. But here you have to take the bus, and there’s nothing near my house.
Everything I can think of right now is right there. An ocean away." - 黃樂恩
Lok Ian Vong
This other necklace is from my best friend who’s in New York; she gave it to me on my 18th birthday. She says it’s supposed to bring good luck and fortune. She was the first friend I made when I moved to Maryland. She even came to visit me during the first week of school on my birthday weekend. She wasn't going to let our four-year-long birthday tradition end and said she’d fly here from New York, and she did!
I have one pair of earrings from my grandma that I rarely take off; I’ve been wearing them since I pierced my ears in fourth grade. She had them custom made when I was born. She’s also a very influential person in my life. Whenever I go back home, I’m always at her place.
Women in Bangladesh wear a lot of gold. I don’t know exactly why gold is so significant. Maybe it brings good luck? I’m not sure. You give newborn babies gold as a birthday gift, we wear gold for our wedding too, and it sometimes gets passed down from generations. I would say they are the three most important women in my life...I have a part of them with me at all times.”
-Jahin (Tian) Nawa
In Iran, I didn’t have anyone to speak English to. I never spoke English outside class. I feel like I’m okay at speaking English, but I also have that fear that I’m bad at it. It makes me feel unconfident which isn’t great …And then there’s math. English in Math. In Iran we study math in Persian with Persian numbers and names for things so when I’m trying to explain what I’m thinking I have to translate everything in my head. Reading books helped a lot with learning English. When I was in middle school I read Harry Potter, and that was a big jump because it was the first book I read in English. I read all 7 of them and really loved them. That was one of the things that helped me a lot. I actually really want to learn French because I want to be able to read French literature in its original language. It’s so different. You can get the context across but the way someone intends the text to be in its original language is different from anyone who’s going to translate that. The vibe doesn’t translate from language to language. So I feel like it’s really meaningful to read something in the way it was intended to be. One of the things I love about Canada is how many people of different cultures and language live here. It gives me a chance to explore those cultures and learn about them. - Maryam Gohargani