Opinion: An international student at Kent State University


Chiamaka Uwagba

Chiamaka Uwagba

As an international student from Nigeria, my first semester at Kent State was a little scary. Learning a new culture and how things work around campus was a little sketchy. There were times when I felt really homesick and like I didn’t fit in. I came in contact with different types of people from different countries and different states across the U.S.

It was a little challenging communicating with other people because of the accent barriers or slang words I have never heard of. But all I had to do was ask what it meant, and they were willing to explain, and with time I learned some of the American slang.

Some of the things I found difficult my freshman year were making friends and communicating with my professors. During some lectures, I found it difficult to understand my professors because they spoke too fast. But again, all I had to do was tell them to slow down a little, and they understood and respected my wishes.

I survived my freshman year by joining organizations like the Kent African Student Association (KASA) and attending events like African Night. I interacted with other students from African countries, and I saw that Kent State has a place for everyone. I learned the American curriculum by visiting my adviser whenever I had questions about my classes. I also made sure I didn’t overload myself with classes until I mastered the way things work at Kent State.

It is important to have a social life in order to have a fun time in college. It is OK to go to parties and experience how other cultures have fun and participate. I attended a few “American” parties, and it was definitely a different scenery, but I did it to experience new things and make friends.

The Office of Global Education is also very helpful. I visited them when I had questions about things that have to do with my stay in the U.S. as an international student, like making sure I sign my Form I-20 before I leave the country. That is a very important step you have to take if you want to be let back into the U.S. as a student.

Overall, it is important to ask questions, let your fellow students help and let professors help you too. Asking questions helped me understand things a little better, and with time, things will fall into place.

Contact Chiamaka Uwagba at [email protected].