It is not easy being an international student, and according to a few BMC students, one of the most challenging things is newfound independence. While on the surface independence may seem like a good and exciting thing, for international students, having to be a completely independent person can be a frightening new endeavor.
Unlike domestic students who can go home monthly or even weekly (and some even live at home), international students can generally only go home during the summers. Because of this, it makes everything from going to the grocery store to going to the doctor a challenge.
There are many differences, as Dejone Stemmett, a student from South Africa, pointed out. In the USA, for example, college sports are a big deal, and, differently from South Africa, at our restaurants, we can get free refills on our soft drinks! Those are some of the more entertaining differences, but being away from her family is a more significant one.
Despite all of the changes she has had to make, though, one of the things that she said has helped her is her team. “Being on a team is like having an extended family. I love my teammates,” said Stemmett.
Something else that can be a challenge for international students is being thrown into life as an American college student, but with far more responsibilities. International students must fill out a lot of paperwork and work to make sure their VISAs are correct, and they must begin work as (generally) an athlete and student almost immediately. Stemmett said that she wished domestic Blue Mountain students could realize just how truly difficult it is, and that while we are all going through life on the same college campus, international students have some very unique challenges.
Cyprian Ngetich, a student from Kenya, also had some very poignant words about what he wishes BMC students could know about being an international student. Ngetich said, “Despite our background, culture, language, and ethnicity, it seems as if we are different, but we are equal. Each one of us has been created with and for a unique purpose which gives us a sense of identity. We all share and commune with One Who is Supreme and determines and directs our everyday steps of life for coexistence and the love of one another.”
Ultimately, international students face a lot of hardships, but they also have many unique opportunities.