Students experience ULV culture

by Bonnie H. Chuen
Staff Writer

International students from countries such as England, France, Greece, Iran, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Taiwan and Thailand have started their study abroad program at the University of La Verne this semester.

There are 13 undergraduates, and six graduate students.

One of the hardest things international students experience is that “most of them go through culture shock,” said Marcy Garcia, administrative assistant for International Student Services.

“It’s just different things that people say,” said Zoe Chamberlain, a literature and theater major from Great Britain spending her junior year at ULV, describing how language use, especially American slang, takes getting used to.

Students are often surprised by life in La Verne because television gives them an altered view of what life is like in California.

“Most are surprised California is as mixed [in different cultures], because what they see on TV is basically Caucasians,” said Garcia.

“I thought that since we were going to be living near L.A. it would be like ‘bright lights, big city,’” said Chamberlain.

Simple cultural differences have made adjusting difficult for some students. Things such as “the open promiscuity of Americans or no smoking in the residence halls,” said Garcia, can be shocking to someone who has not been exposed to American culture.

Making friends can also be very difficult. Garcia said that the friendliness of most ULV students helps international students overcome cultural and language barriers that could stand in the way of making friends.

Another aspect of life abroad is being homesick. The University of La Verne has only lost one student due to being homesick.

According to Garcia, one of the things the International Student Office tries to do is keep the students busy. A mentor program of students who have already been through the international program has also been instated to help them make this often difficult transition of new languages and culture.

“It helps just being involved and listening,” said Garcia.

International students benefit from studying at La Verne in many ways. “They get to experience first hand what American culture is like,” said Garcia.

“I get a deeper insight than just from visiting,” said senior Julia Meiss, an English/physical education major from Germany.

Each student finds different advantages in the study abroad experience. Different majors have different experiences of life at ULV.

“I have the opportunity to work with professional equipment,” said junior Rossi Andrade, a broadcasting major from Ecuador.

Garcia noted that the exchange program allows the student body to be exposed to different world events, perspectives on historical events, and political views.

“It’s an exchange of cultures,” said Meiss.

The international students bring about “a great new learning experience,” said Susan Cho, junior, who sees the international students as a reminder that the world is not quite as divided and that diversity is a positive thing.

Latest Stories

Related articles

Event honors international student community

The Office of International Services and Engagement celebrated its 23rd annual International Education Week with the International Education Festival on Citrus Lawn Wednesday.

International students can connect at monthly tea time

Once a month, international students get to meet for tea, cookies and conversation.  

Commentary: Quarantine life in Vietnam is an unexpected plot twist

Being an international student and being stuck in a foreign country in the midst of a once-in-a century pandemic was the last thing I had in mind when imagining how my freshman year of college would pan out. 

International students face housing challenges, upheaval amid campus closure

For the past several weeks, everyday life for University of La Verne students has been a whirlwind of emotion and uncertainty. For international students in particular, the need to make a fast decision to either stay on a mostly deserted campus or move back home was one they never thought they would encounter.