International student struggles



As if starting college wasn’t stressful enough, some of us also decided to come to an entirely new country to pursue the academic dream that is the Liberal Arts education (shout out to all the undecided freshmen). If this is the case for you, here are a few of the more entertaining struggles you can expect during the coming semester.


Un-finishable portion sizes

Everything. Is. Huge. Initially, you’ll wonder how you’ll ever be able to eat the basketball-sized sandwich you received when you ordered a simple hamburger. And the mountain of fries you asked for as a side? Forget it. But by the end of the semester, you will be overjoyed/mildly shocked when you realize that you can now devour the aforementioned hamburger and all the fries your heart desires, while still saving some space for dessert. It will be glorious.




Trying to understand [American] football

The football culture of the United States is real. If you’re anything like me, your first semester will not clarify any of your doubts about this athletic phenomenon. Why is it called football if you aren’t kicking the ball? How do you even score? Where does the Bowl in the Super Bowl come from?? Does it refer to the (huge) bowl of nachos I’m about to eat? Regardless, watching games is a fun time—just make sure you cheer for the right team.



This is only relevant if you learned British English, a language that appreciates the letter U far more than its American counterpart. For some unknown reason, this poor, sad vowel is shunned in the United States, where colour, labour, flavour, neighbour, and humour are no more.


giphy (1)


RIP Letter U. U will be missed.


Language barriers

Mispronouncing words, forgetting how to say a phrase in English, and struggling with expressions that don’t translate well are all part of daily conversations.




What do you mean, ‘the cow went to the swamp’ isn’t an expression here??  Break a branch?? No??

Strangely exposed bathrooms stalls

The huge gaps in the stalls will never not be weird. Avoid eye contact at all costs.

Also, some toilets are weirdly close to the ground but the variation is strangely large. Not sure if this is an international thing or just a Brown thing, but it’s worth acknowledging.


Figuring out time zones

Some of you will be jet-lagged for most of the first week back. And once you get over that, trying to figure out what the time difference is between Providence, Rhode Island and your respective country is always a challenge, with Daylight Savings complicating your life even further. Not to mention any seasonal time changes your own country might have. Don’t even get me started on the mess that is the Outlook Calendar.




Untrustworthy fruit

You will be eternally impressed by how photogenic the fruit here is. The redness of the Ratty apples almost mask their lack of taste (though some are surprisingly good at times). Don’t trust these little tricksters.




Look at them. Just look at them. Don’t you wish you looked that fresh?

Changing accents

Is your accent American? Is it foreign? Who even knows at this point? The only thing you can be sure of is that you will be asked about it.


Post-IMP flashbacks

You’ll eternally hear a Cha Cha Cha echo in your head whenever anyone mentions IMP. You can’t help it at this point; it’s been ingrained in your mind without you even noticing it.

You will also be forever haunted by the whole ride that pony experience. Forever cringe.


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