During their four years at Elmhurst College, the international students of the Class of 2013 have helped enrich campus life and broaden the horizons of their fellow students.
They’ve also become close friends and had a lot of fun in the process. Here, three international students share their thoughts on American college life.
Unlike most students, I’d never seen the campus before I came to school here. My uncle, who lives in the area, took a tour for me and said it was great. I was really excited to find how pretty the campus was.
It was LeaderShape that made me realize I wanted to make a career of helping children. LeaderShape is all about self discovery. The first question you are asked is, “What are you passionate about?” I’d always been good with children, but answering that question helped reaffirm my thinking. I want to counsel kids and help them become the best version of themselves.
Asia isn’t so different from America, at least not in the big cities. People ask me why I speak such good English. They don’t realize English is such a prominent language everywhere. Living in Bangkok is like living in New York. It’s a city that never sleeps.
I’d like to do graduate studies here, then go back to Asia and work in child psychology. There is a need for psychologists there, and too many kids that need help slip through the cracks. Psychology is a little bit of a taboo in Asian culture. It’s not like here, where everyone talks about their therapy.
“HOW ARE YOU?”
One of the things international students don’t get at first is the way everyone asks, “How are you?” as a greeting. They don’t understand that you don’t really need to say how you are. It’s like, “Wait, I want to tell you how I am, you asked.”
My parents were missionaries, so our family lived in Taiwan, then moved to Kona, Hawaii. I didn’t know English when I moved there, and I was in this new environment and needed to learn the language and everything. What helped was playing sports. Basketball, track, whatnot. That’s how I made friends.
I think to Americans, I look Asian. But in Asia, I look American. Being brought up in such a diverse background has made me more open-minded. When I come up against problems, I think I can see a little more globally. That’s an advantage.
The truth is, I found Elmhurst through a random search. And I applied because there was no application fee. I didn’t even know for sure where Elmhurst was. But it has turned out to be such a good experience and it has worked out so well. So I feel like I’m supposed to be here.
I studied abroad, for one semester in Shanghai and one in Hong Kong. I’d never been to China before, but I got to brush up on my Mandarin and learn more about Asia. It made me more culturally adapted. I really encourage students to study abroad. College is the best time to get that kind of experience.
I want to be a financial planner. I’m doing an internship with Ameriprise Financial, learning to prepare financial documents for clients and to educate clients about money. It has been great
I went to an international school in Manila, which exposed me to a lot of different cultures and nationalities. That definitely made it an easier adjustment for me when I came to Elmhurst. I had never even been to the U.S. before. But I was more excited than nervous. I was ready to explore new things.
LAUNDRY: THE INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE
The biggest changes for me have been the same as for any college student: Learning to take care of my own laundry. Learning to clean up. Learning to get around on public transit.
I’ll start working toward my master’s degree here next year. I’m going to be part of the first class of students doing the new master’s degree in speech pathology at Elmhurst. I feel great about that, because I really like it here.
I hope to go back to the Philippines someday. The need for speech pathologists there is so great. I want to provide services for the people who need them. I’d like to open a clinic there someday, but I hope to work here for a while first.
It’s important to know that there is more of the world to see and learn about. If you get the chance to study abroad, go ahead and get out of your comfort zone a little. You will learn so much.