Living International

Heather Foley
Steven Alvarez
Mexington, KY
5th March, 2014

Living International
When I first arrived at UK, I lived in Keeneland hall. I was so excited about meeting my roommate, but I was the most excited about the adjoining bathrooms. After a few months problems arose, and I had to move out of Keeneland hall into Roselle Hall. I had to give up my amazing roommate, and the new one I got was an international student from Brazil. Living with an international student has been a challenge, and here I will explain the many reasons why, and how they relate to the undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

When I first met Mariana it was the day I moved in. I walked into the room with my mom and started checking the room to make sure nothing was damaged. She sat up on her bed and just looked at me. It scared the life out of me. I thought that she already hated me, and that she didn’t like me imposing on her space.

It took weeks for me to gain the courage to talk to her. After I finally did it didn’t take me long to realize that there was a language barrier, that would hinder further conversations. She didn’t understand some of the words I said, and she would tell me not to explain them. This is one of the things that confused me the most. She had no desire to learn what I was saying.

When students want to study abroad, they have to meet certain requirements. I thought that knowing the language would definitely be one, but after looking at UK’s requirements for study abroad, I noticed that knowing the language wasn’t needed in many programs. How are we supposed to go to other countries without knowing what they’re saying? It was hard for me to fathom, so I asked Mariana if she had to know English to come and study here, and she said no. It has been 4 months since I moved in with Mariana, and we still don’t have real conversations, and it is mainly because we can’t understand each other.

There are some days when I will be sitting in my room and I will smell something that is so enticing that I will journey down to the kitchen area. Almost always it is my roommate and the rest of the group of international students cooking exotic foods (well, exotic to me foods), and having their own party. They’ll play music and dance and sing and they’ll just have a good time.

Behavior like this, if seen on the street, would be frowned upon by many people. If we see a person who looks different than us, who is doing things that are new or different than our culture, then we assume that they’re in the wrong. Many people believe that anyone that comes to the United States should learn to conform/adjust to our culture and our ways. Many Americans today also say that those “dirty Mexicans” need to “learn to speak our language”. They feel that if these people, the ones that are so different than us, are in our country, then they should have to know our language. We are so quick to criticize what we see?

There are many schools in the United States today that have an abundance of students that do not speak English. These schools put those students in all English classrooms with no regard as to whether the student will pass or fail. If speaking English is such a big deal in our society, then why are we allowing students to get paid to come to school here, if they cannot speak English? The many Americans that feel that immigrants that come here should only speak English should open their eyes and realize that their backward ways is what will eventually lead to English becoming the second language in this country.

2 thoughts on “Living International

  1. I think you have an interesting topic here. From what I’ve seen, UK has provided you with many experiences that have given you new perspectives on various topics covered in this course, and I personally believe it’s very important to be able to see things from different points of views even if you’ve been raised to see only one- so go you! All in all I feel that if you continue on with a topic similar to this one, it will be important to embed videos of interviews with students that are studying abroad and their experiences, or possibly to even attempt to interview your roommate! Good luck!

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