Can’t block the culture shock

International students share their experience with American culture

Studying abroad means new friends, unique foods and memorable experiences. 

Ferris television and digital media production junior Lea Wemmers, an international student from Germany, has noticed many aspects of the United States that are different from her home country. 

“It’s the small things that are different,” Wemmers said. “I was told the people around here in Big Rapids are really friendly and that’s what I’ve experienced, too. In Germany, it’s not like people would greet you when you enter a store or at the cash out. They wouldn’t ask how your day is or how you’re feeling.” 

Ferris English and liberal arts junior from Japan Momoka Sato said she noticed that bathrooms in America are different than what she is used to. 

“I was surprised a lot of American bathrooms are dirty. Also the toilet is really cold. In Japan, we can use a warm toilet,” Sato said. “In addition, I have never seen the powder room for makeup in toilets in the U.S.” 

Even college experiences in the United States is different than in other nations, according to Ferris mechanical engineering and international trade senior from South Korea Woojin Choi. 

“It is totally different between Ferris and my college about surrounding,” Choi said. “In the case of me, I like the way of teaching at Ferris.” 

Ferris business administration senior and international student from the Netherlands Pieter Bresser noticed the financial difference between college in America and in the Netherlands. 

“I kind of feel bad for college students here because there’s a lot more pressure on you guys,” Bresser said. “People are stressed out. They’re running from school to their job, some to another job, because you know, they need to pay off their bills. They need to do honors or sports and it’s a stressful life. For foreign exchange students, it’s a lot more fun because we don’t have the same financial burden or academic pressure, in a sense.” 

One of the most notable differences amongst international students is the food in America. 

“The only thing we associate with American food is big,” Bresser said. “It’s greasy, it’s wrapped in bacon and it’s deep-fried. You can find anything here deep-fried.” 

Both Wemmers and Bresser said their favorite food in America is Taco Bell. Wemmers, Bresser, and Choi said the strangest food they’ve tried is fried pickles. 

“I had a corn dog the other day,” Ferris business administration senior and international student from the Netherlands Frederique Wiertsema said. “I’ve never had that before and I was really curious about how it would taste. I did not expect it but it was really good.”

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