Earlier this month was the annual Global Engagement Day. At the event, I attended a lecture entitled International Students’ Experiences at OU. The discussion featured two international students who shared with us their transition to life at the University of Oklahoma.
One of the international students was from Angola. As a conservative, Catholic man from Africa, he claimed he experienced drastic culture shock attempting to adapt to the liberal atmosphere on campus. He managed to overcome any cultural differences by maintaining an open mind and listening to other perspectives. The other international student was from Malaysia. She described the most difficult part of transition to be learning to adapt her accent so she could communicate with other students easier. Both international students agree the transition to OU was difficult at first but they’ve have come to enjoy their time here. They are both active members of OU Cousins and the International Advisory Committee. They claim that these organizations have immensely helped with their transition to campus by provided them with support systems and “a home away from home”.
The students concluded their discussion by emphasizing the importance of creating a welcoming atmosphere for all students on campus. They recounted on their few offensive interactions with American students and provided tips to help minimize these experiences for other international students. They both agreed in order integrate American and international students, everyone needs to just be genuine and considerate of each other’s emotions.