The Contrasts Between Domestic & International Students
By Javiera Sarmiento, Staff Writer
Differences between how domestic and international students experience their paths at Lynn University are noticeable as cultural factors and customs play significant roles.
For generations, movies, television shows and books have portrayed the American college experience with a very particular stereotype. The cliques, party scenes, the amount of freedom and even the cafeterias are supposed to have everything based on the American perspective.
But it is time to hear what it looks like to an international student. To unpack the American university cliche, iPulse spoke with students from Lynn University. From least to most relevant, here are the top five cultural shocks experienced based on European, Latin American, dual nationality and American points of view.
Lynn University is full of students with different styles. Some like to dress comfortably and others rather look athletic. Some dress like they are about to attend the most important meeting of their lives, and some simply wear pajamas to class. The most noticeable contrasts are between those who dress up and those who dress down.
“For my first official class at Lynn, I spent hours looking for an outfit, and then when I got to the classroom, I was the only one not wearing sweatpants and a hoodie. Everyone looked weirded out by me,” said Marc Cano, a sophomore from Spain.
In regard to how most people from Europe and Latin America dress, they are used to wearing more formal attire, including blouses, pants and polo shirts rather than sweatshirts, hoodies and flip flops, which are trendy clothing items among American students at Lynn.
How people greet and treat each other at Lynn differs depending on where that person is from. In most places in Latin America, individuals are used to saying hello and goodbye to someone by kissing them on the cheek, which is precisely what Latin students at Lynn do with each other.
Europeans give one kiss on each cheek instead of just one kiss. On the other hand, American students sometimes get uncomfortable with such an action as they do not see the necessity of making an extra effort apart from a verbal greeting or goodbye.
The climate in Boca Raton — and Florida in general — is a factor that affects both domestic and international students at Lynn.
“Coming from Boston, it was tough to get used to the weather at first, especially during August. But then there are also some days when the weather gets confusing, and it’s just pure rain and thunder,” said a domestic junior student who would like to remain anonymous.
Regardless of whether or not a student is from the U.S., people who are not from Florida and come from a place where four distinct seasons exist are most likely to find it harder to adapt to the Sunshine State’s heat and humidity.
“American and Latin parties are extremely different, from the music to the way of dancing. They are both fun, but I definitely miss Latin parties. They are just out of this world,” said Patricio Lastra, a sophomore Mexican-American student.
Parties and pre-games at Lynn usually start around 11 p.m., while in Latin America, people are not even getting ready for the party at that time. Moreover, partying around the Boca Raton area, in most cases, means exclusively getting to listen to American music without even giving Latin students a chance to listen to Daddy Yankee’s iconic song “Gasolina.”
Although Lynn Dining does an excellent job at providing students with a great variety of food, it is undeniable that for some international students, seeing pizza and hamburgers available for breakfast, lunch and dinner is definitely a shock.
Indeed, everyone has the right to eat whatever they want whenever they want, but for students who did not grow up eating a hot dog and drinking milk at 10 p.m. like most Americans, there is a lack of options. Europeans and Latinos are used to more straightforward and natural alternatives like grains, vegetables, salads, rice, etc., which are options that cannot be found 24/7 on campus.
As a result, as much as the ice cream machine and the unlimited cookies seem fantastic during freshman year, foreign students are most likely to feel desperate from time to time for food that feels homecooked and less generic.
According to Lynn students, these are just some of the most popular issues in which international students’ views differ from domestic ones. Always remember that different opinions are not wrong but a way to grow by learning from one another.