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A spirit that is not afraid

COLUMN | An international student's perspective on a new culture

New culture, a window for new opportunities. 

Leaving your home country does not mean you are forced to run away from your traditions, but it opens a window of opportunities to adapt to a new culture – and unlock new perspectives. 

After sharing your last goodbyes with your family and loved ones, you got onto that plane and – after endless hours of binge-watching the worst TV show you could ever encounter – arrived in a whole new world.  

The first few days it might seem that the jet lag is winning over your body, so you will probably look like a real-life zombie with sleep deprivation. Been there, done that. However, those days pass soon.  

Regardless of your motherland, the feeling of alienation from the community will probably arrive sooner or later. My very first piece of advice would be: you do not have push yourself into things you are not comfortable with.  

I, as a Spaniard, find it completely impossible to have dinner before 9 pm, even though I have tried to adapt to the American schedule. However, I am about to share a secret with you: it is fine. It is fine not to adopt other people’s ways of living in your everyday life.  

Auburn University offers many international organizations you can come to in case you feel out of place – or maybe just craving to speak your own language. For instance, the International Student Organizations holds a “social hour” every Friday where they serve free food and people from other countries explain their ways of living.  

Photo of the international flags in the Melton Student Center on Sept. 26, 2023.

Through Auburn’s involvement website, you are able to look at this organization’s details as well as other international events where you will have the chance to stay in contact with people from your home country and with other international students who are dealing with the same concerns as you are.  

But have you left your home country just to keep past patterns on repeat forever? Whether you have come to study or to work, there is something we all share: we have come to learn, and we have come to experience.  

You will never know if you like the U.S. schedule unless you try it for a while, just as you will never know if you turn out to be the biggest mac&cheese fan unless you try it sometime being open-minded. You will never find the best version of yourself unless you experience every opportunity life offers you to grow as a person. 

Good news for you: there is no rush, you can choose your own pace. But never stop challenging yourself, and never stop walking towards new perspectives. The U.S. sun is now rising to brighten The Plains, its rays are gently tapping on your window. The only thing you have to do is allow them to wake you. 

Alba Sinusia Lozano | Columnist

Alba Sinusia Lozano, graduate teaching assistant for World Languages, Literature and culture, is a columnist for The Plainsman. 

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