Are you lonesome today?

Sonali Kudva

It’s lonely and gray in Northeast Ohio, especially if you’re not from these parts.

In the last month there have been three major storms that have hit our little corner of Northeast Ohio, and every time the weather has deteriorated, I have missed a constant warmth in my life: the sun.

And it is for the things I have missed this month more so than usual that helped me decide what to write about this week. For a start: the sun, the warmth and the blue skies of home.

The month of February has been hard for both myself and a lot of other international students. For Chinese students, it was the New Year celebrations that reminded them of those they had left behind, places they know and traditions that were woven into their lives.

For me, it was simply missing the people in my life. A hug from my sister, a phone call from friends and family, hanging out with my friends, gossiping, eating home-cooked food and devouring the attention showered upon me by people that I care for; I craved all these.

It is not easy for international students to make friends here. But it feels like an imposition to ask to hang out, and it hurts to stay at home alone when in your country, you had a social life and a social directory in which you featured prominently.

There are certain unique needs that international students have. One of the main ones is that of companionship, of an understanding that despite the differences in culture and background, we all want the same thing. We can agree to disagree and we can believe different things and still have the same interests. The question is, how many people out there are willing and able to take the time to find this out?

Sure there are organizations willing to make sure that the international students have activities and events to stay busy, but it would be nice once in a while to see more local students get involved with these activities and events as well.

The main reason most international students (myself included) go to some of these activities is to meet peers with similar interests and make friends.

Are you lonely today? Well, that foreign student in the corner may just be feeling the exact same way.

Sonali Kudva is a journalism graduate student and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].