International students share experiences about adjusting to life in America

Published by adviser, Author: Alyssa Cirincione - Rocket Contributor, Date: November 8, 2012
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Many people from different countries travel to the U.S. for many different reasons, one being freedom, but for senior marketing major Naoko Hata and senior business management major Veronika Kusnirova, the reasons were more expansive.

“Since I was little, it has been my dream to come to the U.S. to study,” Hata said. “You have a lot of freedom and a lot of people are friendly,”

Kusnirova, 21, of Bratislava, Slovakia, had the same dreams as Hata of coming to the U.S.

“I wanted to learn English and gain new experiences,” Kusnirova said. “I wanted to see how it is out there in the big world.”
Originally from Tokyo, Japan, Hata, 24, said she started learning English at a young age, but still struggled with it when she first came to America.

“I started learning English when I was 10,” Hata said. “At first, making friends was hard because I couldn’t speak English well when I first came here and I’m really shy, so I’m not good at talking to people.”
Spending much time in America, Hata said she had to leave a few family members behind ever since coming to the U.S. about five years ago. Her parents and older sister still live in Tokyo.

She said even though she has lived here for five years, she still has the opportunity to see her family in Japan.

“Once a year I go back home in the summertime,” Hata giggled. “We also keep in touch through Skype about once a week.”

Kusnirova said she left behind some family at home as well, but some relatives also live in the U.S.

“My brother is living in the states too, but he didn’t come here with me,” Kusnirova said. “He is living in Montana. I also have an aunt that lives in NYC. She kind of ran away during the communism with her family.”

Even though Kusnirova has family all over the world, she manages to still keep in touch with everyone in similar ways that Hata keeps in touch with her family.

“I check with them on Skype and email with friends, “Kusnirova smiled. “I have only been here for three months, since August, and I will be traveling back home in December.”

One of the major differences between America and Japan, Hata pointed out, is the way young adults speak to authority.

“Relationships between professors and students are very different in the American culture,” Hata explained. “They are very friendly to each other and they can talk about many things. But in my country, we need to show respect for our professors by using different words when talking to authority.”

Having a different experience than Hata, Kusnirova said that when she first came to the U.S., the sights and food were what caught her eye.

“The cities are very different looking than mine,” Kusnirova said. “Slovakia has a historical feeling to it, especially in the city. We have a lot of castles, which are all over the country. One difference that I struggled with was the food. I had no idea what to eat. I would think, ‘I’m not going to eat this because it’s too unhealthy, but it’s all I have.’ American food does tend to be a little more unhealthy.”

When she returns home to Bratislava, Kusnirova plans to graduate in May, but doesn’t know of her plans yet for her future after college.

“I don’t have such plans of staying in the U.S. after college, maybe if an opportunity arises, we’ll have to see,” Kusnirova said. “I probably wouldn’t want to live in the U.S. forever.”

Like Kusnirova, Hata also plans to graduate from SRU in May. She, too, is not entirely certain of what she will do upon graduation and leaving the university.

“I might stay in the U.S. because I’m planning to get a job here,” Hata said. “It really was a great decision to come here. Whatever happens, happens.”

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