International students all over the world experience different things that they consider strange in their new environment. Although, all these are normal experiences for every foreigner in a new land I still believe I need to talk about this.
1. Strange Food
One of the changes an international student would perceive in his new environment is the food custom exhibited by the people (local people). Some foods may taste extremely delicious while others may have adverse effects on his body system which could lead to purging, vomiting, feeling sick etc. The reason may be as the result of his body system finding the food substances introduced strange. Personal believe may also influence how one’s body reacts to a new food, for example, customary believe that one food is an abomination when it actually doesn’t pose harm may cause the body system to react negatively.
In addition, some African communities still hold on to some bizarre believes that some foods like yam, maize etc. are forbidden to be eaten until special celebrations (sometimes sacrifices) are made. Meanwhile, an international student who finds himself in an environment where such cultural beliefs aren’t held may find things strange.
2. Strange Language
In my own simple definition, language can be any sort of organized signs, symbols, words etc. spoken, written or signed that can be used to infer meaningful information or as a mean to communicate. This definition ensures that even sign languages used the physically challenged (blind, deaf, dumb etc.) are recognized as a language. Therefore, every society has its own language, dialect, accent…. And since communication can also be found among animals, I believe language is being employed not only be the human society.
As stated above, “every society has its own language”. Therefore, an international student, finding himself in a country of different language would be as good as dumb, in the sense that his ability to communicate has been impaired by strange conventions employed in passing information in the new environment he finds himself.
3. Bizarre Lifestyle and Culture
It won’t take a long time for an international student from Saudi Arabia visiting the West for the first time to sense the difference in the lifestyle of the people. Most Arabs are Muslims and adhere to the teaching of Prophet Mohammed both in the way they pray, eat, dress etc. while the westerners are people of another religion (majority Christianity and Judaism). Western women can dress at free will and are allowed to interact with men without restriction. Meanwhile, all these are not allowed in Arab countries.
Moreover, some behaviors that seem acceptable to an international student may be strange and bizarre to the local people. In support of this motion, some Africans would prostrate or genuflect to pay respect to an elderly person in which white peoples find naive.
4. Strange Law and Legal Issues
Some legal things in one’s native land may be illegal somewhere else. Consider this, won’t it be strange to international students arriving in North Korea find out that taking photographs in some areas (especially military zones) are restricted? Or visiting Saudi Arabia as a student and being told you are not allowed to interact with the opposite sex? Since every land has its own set of rules and constitutions, an international student (or a foreigner) would definitely find some laws bizarre or contradictory to the ones in his homeland. Even, some words used freely in a student’s native country may be really offensive internationally which could result in a lawsuit.
Furthermore, the way legal issues are being addressed varies in different states of the world. For example; execution is specified for crimes like drug trafficking, rape, and murder in most Arabs countries while in other countries criminals could just serve a jail term for such offenses.
5. Wield Weather and Climate
Weather is one of the major things International students do complain about. Especially, those moving from a temperate zone to around the equator or vice versa. Seeing everywhere iced is strange enough for an international student from the Middle East in Russia. Bad weather may cause international students to fall sick and also hinders education. Some areas are also known to have unpredictable weather which one may find really strange e.g. a sunny weather suddenly giving birth to a torrent rain without dark clouds forming.
6. Technology Issues
An International student from an underdeveloped nation may find technologies employed in the developed country he is studying as very strange. Opposed to the traditional methods (the use of blackboard, chalk, book, and pen) employed in his country, laptops, digital boards (e.g. projector), smart-phones and other academic aiding technologies may be employed which would raise the academic standard from what he can comprehend with instantaneously. The use of computerized database, biometric verification and identification may hold him spell bounded as he is not familiar with this before.
The same issue is being experienced by an international student who has to work with older technologies relative to the one in his country.
7. Amazing Physical and Geographical Features
Physical and geographical features of a new land would certainly seem strange. An educational visit to Kenya would also bring along amusement as one would have to sight amazing topographies like high mountains, exceptionally different terrains etc. Likewise, the same applies to international students in the Middle East as the sighting of heaps of sands, desert etc. would be strange and adventurous. Coming towards the equator, the thick green rain-forest would seem strange to a foreigner.
8. People’s Perception
The way people will perceive you will be so strange that you would start wondering if anything is wrong with you, especially if your behavior, skin color, accent, language etc. is different. One thing you could find annoying is that all eyes would be focused on you and if you don’t understand their language of communication you could be frustrated or start thinking everybody is making a jest of you. International students might also find it difficult to associate with people and make friends.
9. Currency and Monetary System
Most countries of the world use different monetary systems. For this reason, if the country you are uses a different currency you may really find it difficult to spend. One other thing international students find strange is the conversion rates as some of the inexpensive commodities in their homeland may be expensive or vice versa. Another is the bargaining system as they are likely to be cheated. All these would, therefore, affect the students financial budgeting.
10. Personal Changes
How fast an international student lifestyle changes to suit his new environment will also be strange to him. On getting back home, he will also notice that integrating himself back into the community is another task. The way people now perceive him is now different, especially, if he has been to a more developed country. His chance of getting employed locally will also be highly considered to the natives.