While some students take their educational opportunities in faraway countries, there are international students who come here to learn.
“This fall semester, we welcomed 33 new international students to the university,” says Michael Schindel, assistant director and international student advisor from the Office of International Education.
“We have a very diverse international student population at Southern. These students came from a variety of countries such as South Korea, India, Ghana, Iceland, the Netherlands, China, Peru, Albania, Australia, Nigeria, Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada.”
Daniel De Arriba Masterton, senior sports science major, is from Salamanca, Spain, but chose to study abroad in United States for the semester.
“In my university, we have the choice to go China, Chile or here to the United States, and I thought it was better here because I can learn English,” Masterton says.
According to Masterton, Southern is the only American school that his school offered to him. He says he enjoys the university, and is happy all international students are housed in North Campus.
“The first day was a little bit strange because I didn’t know anybody, but all international students live on the same floor, so you meet a lot of new people,” Masterton says.
Masterton also says that classes were difficult at first, but the students in his classes understand his language barrier and are “very nice.”
“I had a moment where I did not understand the teacher’s English words because they change a lot,” Masterton says.
Masterton says his mother is Scottish, so she taught him a lot of English words, but he would always respond to her in his native language, Spanish.
While he had some knowledge of English, he says he had no knowledge regarding how American universities work.
“Everything almost [is different] because like here, [in an American university], there’s a lot of events, a lot of activities,” Masterton says. “You can be here all day and you can go to the gym, eat here, [but] in my city, there’s only the class time and when you’re finished you go and do your own life.”
Timothee Pousset-Bougere, a junior management major, agrees that university is different in the United States.
“It’s much more free like, here you can choose your classes. We can’t do that, so I find it very interesting,” Pousset-Bougere says. “The campus is bigger, of course, there are more things. There are more brands on the campus, like Starbucks. I think that like everything is a step ahead. Everything is bigger.”
Pousset-Bougere is from EDHEC Business School located in France and says Southern’s classes are more about participation, and professors even share life experiences, where his home school is more lecture-based.
“I found that the students are more interested in the course [at Southern]. They follow more and they ask more questions,” Pousset-Bougere says. “The teacher sometimes talks about his personal life experiences. In France we have courses where the teacher will talk during two hours. We can ask questions, of course, but it is different.”
According to Pousset-Bougere, at EDHEC, students who have better grades got to choose where they want to go first, and they file paperwork with their top choices. He picked the United States, Canada and then the United Kingdom, and that is how he ended up at Southern.
“There was only one seat from my school for one student [to go] here. Maybe other people don’t want to be alone. I don’t think at the beginning I was chosen because of my grades,” Pousset-Bougere says.
Pousset-Bougere also says he likes the location of the university because it is close to New York City.
“I have already gone a few times,” Pousset-Bougere says.
Maddalena Di Giovanni, a junior film and media major, has had a bit of a different study abroad journey as she has already traveled out of her country for schooling.
Di Giovanni is from Parma, Italy, but goes to college at Queen Margaret University, QMU, in Edinburgh, Scotland.
“The process of being picked to participate in this exchange required me to make an application to the International Office in QMU with a written statement about what I would gain from this experience,” Di Giovanni says.
“My application had to be supported by my personal tutor at QMU, and I had to have passed all my exams in the previous years. Once I was informed that I had been accepted into the exchange program, I was put in contact with the International Office at Southern which guided me through all the various steps required. It was a complex process with many steps, but they were all brilliant in the International Office at Southern and they helped me all the way.”
Di Giovanni says she picked the university due to Southern’s good reputation for film courses and its location close to New York City. However, she is not used to American university deadlines.
“The biggest difference between QMU and Southern is that at QMU we have assignments to research and to submit after a few weeks or at the end of term,” Di Giovanni says. “In Southern instead, there is a week-to-week deadline for assignments, so there are different time constraints to get used to.”
While already being in an out-of-country school, Di Giovanni decided to study abroad to gain more life experiences.
“There have been many positive aspects for me studying abroad that I couldn’t narrow it down to just one,” Di Giovanni says. “But I have really enjoyed the dichotomy of meeting both international and American students and sharing experiences with them which I will bring forward with me forever.”
By: Sarah Shelton