Coming to America (International Experience)

I missed my flight! That was the most frustrating traveling experience I had, and the one time I had traveled out of my home country. After about 20 hours of being in the air, I didn’t think my first week of being in the US, and being at Scripps with my jetlagged body could make me feel any better.

A day or two later, the pre-orientation that Scripps holds for international students as well as first generation students began. Meeting people who had also flown into the US with long hour flights comforted me while we made jokes about it. That was the first interactions I had at Scripps and from there I felt that I belonged.

When we went into Pomona for the get-together event they set up for freshmen, I was certainly excited to see the free food trucks and ice cream trucks! And it was especially great that I found a friend who was from my home. It was so inspiring to sit on a picnic blanket or walk in Claremont Village’s Farmers Market and talk about how different culture was growing in different parts of the world and yet feel how similar our experiences as international students were. So, to say, I didn’t feel lonely.

I wish I had done some things differently so that I had a smoother transitioning period. Let me tell you about them.

Things I embarrassingly overlooked when I was prepping to come to the US:

  • Don’t forget your adapters:

This one’s important guys. I think my mom almost lost it with worry when I couldn’t contact her an entire day after settling in. I blame the different power outlets, the power strips here and my phone which decided to die. So, keep that in mind and make sure you get all the handy stuff.

  • Weather and clothing:

I was kidding myself. Are you kidding me?! How is the weather this super-hot in August? Those were my first thoughts as I got into California. Unless you’ve ever been to the Sahara, prepare yourself to receive amazing tanning sunlight and a natural heating system. I knew it was going to be hot but not this hot! Get all those clothes settled for that but we have our air conditioners stationed conveniently in every room and you can totally regulate them yourself.

  • Prepping myself mentally and emotionally for a change in food culture:

If you love food like I do, you are probably going to miss home a lot and you might be in for a huge culture shock. Thinking about that now, I wish I had started building my taste buds back at home. Let’s protect our eating habits so they don’t change drastically.

Major advice: Movement around was pretty easy but ironically difficult. As I made friends, I found myself being invited out a lot. Be open to going out with friends and make sure to enjoy your time with the new bonds that you form. That really made transitioning into a new territory a lot easier than it might have been.

Generally, I loved the fact that Scripps held a pre-orientation for us. I settled into the new environment nicely, made friends who explored the area with me before school became overwhelmingly populated with all the freshmen.