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An international student’s woes

It’s an interesting day when the layout artist becomes a writer. Today, that is because I must take a stand. As an international student studying in an American college, I struggle with many cultural adjustments in order to thrive in this society. I no longer wish to be quiet about these struggles — today, I want to make the entirety of the College student body fully aware of these issues.

Baseball idioms

First off, I cannot believe that Americans actually use baseball idioms. I’ve seen a few baseball movies, and there were definitely quite a few baseball idioms throughout the film, but I assumed it was because it was a fictional movie about baseball. Then I got here and couldn’t believe when I kept hearing things like “that’s out of left field” or “they hit a home run” — I felt like I was being gaslit by a language. But that’s not the worst part: I hadn’t realized how ingrained baseball idioms are in English until I arrived in America. “Step up,” “take a rain check,” “touch base” — these are all baseball idioms! It’s baseball idioms all the way down!
Fahrenheit vs Celsius

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Celsius should be the international standard unit of measurement for temperature…unless you’re American. And while we’re on the topic, why must America use the irregular units of yards and feet and miles? Do you know how many yards there are in a mile? Or how many ounces are in a pound? It says something that even the country that created the imperial system of measurement doesn’t even use it anymore! It seems to me that America just doesn’t want to be “like other countries.”

The dystopian car-centered society that
is America

There was nothing more horrific than realizing there was no way to go around the tiny town of Waterville without a car. I come from a pretty small city back in the Philippines, but we had at least 3 ways to go from one end of the city to the other. Granted, our public transportation system wasn’t perfect, but at least we had options. Here? Good luck if you want to go anywhere other than Walmart. Also, why is hanging out in a Walmart parking lot a thing? It’s horrifying to think that public spaces are so sparse here that the only place young people can really hang out with each other is a commercially-owned space that isn’t even meant for humans.

not being able to get gossip girl references

Okay, to be fair, this is probably a me thing because I don’t really watch a lot of TV. Still, I do find myself just blankly staring at my friends whenever specific cultural references are brought up in a conversation. Whether it’s films, TV shows, or history, I often find myself “lost in the sauce.” (Unfortunately, all my American history knowledge comes from Hamilton and a surprisingly historically accurate X-Files fanfic where all the characters are in the American civil war.)

The struggle to adapt and survive and ultimately thrive in a completely unfamiliar environment is a constant battle for anyone. All I ask is to be patient and open to the international students on campus — listen to their struggles and their stories, allow them the space to grow and figure things out, and please start using Celsius instead of Fahrenheit.


~ Ben Dover

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