Namaste, Konichiwa, Ni Hau, Xin Chào and Salaam!

by Shubhechha Dhar on November 3, 2017

International students with the iPALs at Keswick Theatre.

I remember waving to my family from the other side of the departure gate at the airport with a wide range of emotions as I set to embark on my new college journey. Although I was thrilled at the opportunity of living in a new country, the reality of leaving home for four long months was terrifying.

Two months before my departure, I was full of doubts and fear. I’d never been away from home for so long. What if I got homesick? What if I couldn’t adjust well? What if I didn’t like it there? I asked countless “what ifs” that every international student asks. The only thing that seemed to help me calm down were the regular emails from the Office of International Affairs (OIA). I was constantly in touch with them throughout my visa process. If I had any doubts, I would shoot the office an email and someone would reply back instantly to the smallest and silliest of my concerns.  

After a tiring 16-hour flight, I was greeted by the smiling faces of the iPALs (International Peer Associates League members) at Philadelphia International Airport. From that moment, the iPALs helped us international students with everything— from taking us grocery shopping to helping us open bank accounts. We ran around Glenside in the scorching heat to complete a scavenger hunt and also saw a movie at Keswick Theatre with them. After classes began, the more I got involved in activities on campus, the more I fell in love with Arcadia.

Somewhere in between waking up at 6 a.m. to video-call my family in India and staying up till midnight to complete my assignments, I’ve found a home at Arcadia, and so have all of the international students who shared their experience with me.

 

Rahil Shaikh from India, on transitioning from his hometown to Glenside.

“My transition from Mumbai to Glenside was very smooth, to say the least. At first I was very daunted about the possibility of shifting to a new city and country, but my transition was very tranquil. I was surrounded by the people I know, my friends from GPI (Arcadia University’s program in Mumbai).

Also, the iPALs were always ready to help with anything and were a constant support while settling in and beyond.”

 

Noriko Tsukiyama from Japan, on learning English as second language.

“Before coming to Arcadia, I never studied English. I’m currently taking an English as a second language course here. The professors are so kind; they push me to study hard. The classes are exciting and different than those in Japan. Each day is a new experience. Apart from learning English in class, I try to have conversations with the iPALs. I stay with native students as much as possible and listen to their conversations. As part of the Asian Club, I always strike up conversations during meetings. I also have a dictionary on my phone. I make notes of new words that come up, then search the word on Google to make sure I have noted it correctly. All of this helps me in learning English, and each day I get better and keep improving!”

 
Mao Li from China, on things he looks forward to at Arcadia.

“I am looking forward to having a wonderful global experience. I want to experience life in a different culture and make friends from various countries.

So far, I have really enjoyed my time at Arcadia. I like the food here and love the different atmosphere. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to experience a different life here.”

 

 

Talha Kiani from Pakistan, on choosing Arcadia University.

“When I visited Arcadia’s campus, I was smitten with its cozy feel. Although I initially pictured myself in the heart of a city, Glenside eclipsed this vision. The small county environment is comforting without being limiting, offering plenty to explore. I was very attracted to the college's global perspective and approach to education. I knew I could share my viewpoints with people from diverse backgrounds and belong to a multicultural and intellectual community. An active and functional student body was also important to me when choosing a college. I feel extremely comfortable at Arcadia— its strengths match my interests. I know I am in a place where I can improve and develop.”

 
Long Nyugen from Vietnam, on things that excite him at Arcadia.

“Currently, I have a whole lot of plans coming up. There is a big Knight Club (Arcadia’s dance club) show in December and I’m practicing really hard, so I’m really looking forward to the show. I was a part of the dance club in my school in Vietnam. I’m happy that I get to do that here as well.

My classes have been amazing so far, and I’m excited about my final creative project for my first-year seminar class. Overall, I’m super-hyped about my future years at Arcadia.”

 

Riti (first from left) with her roommate and friends in Atlantic City.

Riti Kamath from India, on her experience of living in a dorm.

“Well, I was quite excited about living in a dorm as I’ve never lived in one before. I am an introvert and I have social anxiety, and as much as I love my space, I knew if it wasn't for staying in a dorm, I wouldn’t be good friends with anyone. I sure would make a lot of acquaintances and be decent friends with a couple of people, but I could never get the complete college experience, the kind you only get when you are great friends with a bunch of people. I know a few people who don’t get along well with their roommates, but fortunately, my roommate and I are great friends, along with four other lovely people. We do a lot of crazy fun stuff together and are probably the loudest group on our floor. And there are obviously a bunch of things I could rant about when it comes to living in a dorm, but in a way it’s all worth it, for I get to live with my friends, who I absolutely adore!”