| 9/22/13 1:54pm

We have all heard about this word. It is quite fascinating how a person can adapt to different environments.

Well, this is the key for every successful international student studying abroad: adaptation. We simply came from different cultures, backgrounds, beliefs, and we came to shape ourselves to fit a new place in our life.

It gets hard sometimes, I have to admit. When you go to a supermarket, and you ask how much the apples are, they tell you it is $2 per pound, and your mind goes like, “How much in kilos?”

Imagine that you are standing at the bus stop, and two foreigners come and start talking in a weird language. One percent of your mind says, “I wish I knew a different language,” and 99 percent is saying, “You better be not talking about me boy.”

It is weird and funny sometimes how we can try to adapt to a certain environment. My international friends know English almost perfectly, watch a lot of American movies, and hear lots of different stories. But until now, when they come to their home country, they get culture shock and it takes time to adapt.

America is unique in many ways. It has its own drinking rules, measuring system, laws, restrictions, etc. No matter how much Hollywood will try to show the American life on TV, it will never be the same as living it.

I recall also, when one of my friends came to Grand Valley, he was so ready to party every day. When he came, he thought life in the U.S. was going to be like “American Pie” and “Project X,” but the big disappointment came when he learned that drinking is from 21 and over, and he was like, “What? I thought this is was a free country.”

It was a big surprise for many internationals to know that drinking is from 21 and not 18 like they are used to from their home country.

Another big issue internationals face is the American welcome. People in America say, “Hi, how are you?” This is just a hello for Americans, but for us internationals, we tend to think that the person actually cares. So we stop and we respond, but then we find that the person just disappears and doesn’t even look back.

Like I said, America is unique in many ways. That is what makes it special. As an international student in an American university, I love the USA. I might disagree with some ideas but I am glad to be a part of this community.

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