Rose is a freshman mathematics major from Kenya.
My name is Rose and I am a freshman at Hofstra University. This is also only my sixth month in the USA, because I am an international student from Kenya. It has been a great experience for me so far and I am loving it. I am still learning and adapting to the American culture. I have learned how to appreciate other people’s culture besides my own. I will just point out my main experiences and what has been new for me.
Classes are amazing and eye-opening. I love the fact that professors are very committed to their work. Class participation counts towards the final grade, and this makes the classes quite interactive which makes learning fun. This was totally new to me because I thought only exam scores matter.
People here are generally very friendly; it doesn’t matter if you are strangers. In the beginning I thought it was awkward to see strangers smiling at me along paths or people holding doors for me. I just could not fathom why anyone would do that. Starting a conversation with someone in the elevator is not weird at all. The first time this happened to me I thought the girl had mistaken me for someone else especially because she was telling me about the many vegetables she had picked from some garden. I later accepted that it’s just the American culture to be friendly.
The food was totally new and different. I found most of it bland maybe because it was all new. I am still adapting to the food. And cheese is very important here, you can’t avoid it for too long. That there are so many types of cheese is still funny to me.
I have also had to get used to American English and refer to things as they are termed here. You see Kenya was colonized by the British so we learn British English. In the beginning I would get weird looks because people would not get what I meant; like referring to the hallway as corridor or cookies as biscuits. In addition to that, I have to speak slower now so that people can get what I say because of my accent.
I am always tempted to convert dollars to Kenyan currency in my mind when buying anything. I had to stop doing that because then everything seems really expensive. Also, I have had to change my mind about measurements. I have always used the metric system and now I have to use miles, degrees Fahrenheit, pounds, inches etc. I am always converting stuff in my mind.
I have also had to get used to very low temperatures here. In Kenya it is very rare to get temperatures below 50 degrees. We have rainy seasons that are not so bad. On a very cold day you would be fine with just a hoodie. But it has been fun to watch the change of seasons here.
All in all, I am loving it here and still adapting. I’m looking forward to having great times in the remaining years I have at Hofstra and the US. The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. I want to read as many pages as possible and learn about other cultures.