Far from home: International students find their place at RWU

Freshmen around the RWU campus have been adjusting to independent life away from family and childhood friends for the past few weeks. For many, home is not that far away. But for a small group of freshmen students, home may be located at a much farther distance. 

Seo Youn, or Stephanie Kim, is just one of the international students studying at RWU. Kim, a freshman forensic science major from Guatemala, is trying to adapt to her life as a college student in America. 

Kim was intrigued by the location of the university and enjoyed how small the community is, pushing her to apply and attend the school. 

“My favorite part about RWU is that it has a very close community where everyone is very welcoming, which made my transition to campus a lot easier,” Kim said. 

Kim does sometimes struggle to properly communicate with her peers as English is not her first language, making it difficult to have fluent conversations with others. 

RWU ensures the international student population is well supported. International students are enrolled in a course called RWU experience, where they come together to reflect on their lives at school. 

“I believe that having a program for international students at RWU is beneficial to the university because students will learn to avoid stereotyping and understand international issues, or immigration issues as well as an opportunity for cross-cultural experiences and new traditions from international students,” Kim said. 

Andrea Arriaga is a freshman international relations major from Mexico. 

Arriaga decided to apply and attend RWU when she saw photos of the campus. She said she could see herself being happy at the university. Like Kim, the community aspect of the school is a big factor in how well Arriaga’s transition to being away from home went. It was specifically the faculty and staff on campus that made her feel welcome here. 

 Along with the staff, the Intercultural Center also helps students feel connected to the campus community and their peers. This center is a great service for international students as well as other clubs and organizations across campus.

The hardest part for Arriaga is being away from her friends and family. She tries to communicate frequently with them but she runs into the problem of time zone differences. 

Arriaga and Kim would both agree the international student program is a key aspect of the campus community.