Students Sound Off About Moving In: International Student Experience Cultural Differences as Hallmates Move In

Moving to another country was stressful. Seeing and meeting my new hallmates when they moved in was overwhelming. I thought that I had finally adjusted to the differences between China and America. But the differences like food and climate seemed superficial compared to this new situation. I had spent a week learning to navigate campus; now I had to navigate it with 600 new people, hopefully my future friends.

My move-in day seemed to be so much calmer. The international orientation staff picked me and all of my peers at the airport and drove us to our new home. The orientation staff helped us move all of our things to our rooms and made us feel like we belonged at Furman.

We international students instantly had something to bond over – we had all travelled to a new land where the customs were completely foreign.  We marveled at the size of Walmart and other American grocery stores, we all agreed that the food here was nothing like food back home, we all were anxious for what the future holds.

But the rest of the freshmen move-in was a hectic whirlwind. Parents moving their children in, carrying huge boxes. Siblings hugging and kissing goodbyes. Roommates and suitemates seeming to become best friends immediately. It seemed like I was separated from my hallmates. During the international orientation Chinese students were the majority, but even then I felt like all international students kind of acted like family. With the arrival of my hallmates, I almost felt alienated.

All of this changed when I met my roommate. I helped her move her suitcases then met her parents and siblings. She was so excited to be at Furman and a little bit anxious about this next chapter in our lives – just like me.  Once I got to know my roommate and more of the girls on my hall I knew that my anxieties from move-in day were gone.

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