The thought of college was never truly scary to me. In fact, the environment was nothing but old news by the time I arrived on campus. Growing up, I only spent time at home in Thailand over the summer; most of my school was done in New Zealand. It prepped me for what college, being away from home and family in a different environment, was like.
Since then, the transition to college life has not been much of a challenge for me. Apart from the increased study time and the higher-level classes, my college experience has been much like what I have already been subjected to. College has not been particularly lonely either. I have grown accustomed since childhood to traveling where I knew no one, having to construct an entirely new social life. When I first arrived at Michigan State, I immediately made an abundance of friends who were also international students. They helped me grow more accustomed to the traditions and social life here. Because of that, I had a flourishing social life freshman year and created some of my favorite memories, including my first college football game.
As I progressed through my first year of college, I learned that most people from the United States believed that this was my first time being away from home. They thought that I must be incredibly home sick and having a rough time being away from everyone I knew. They thought that it would be such a change traveling so far and learning English. Most people did not understand that college was not my first experience away from home- being far removed from my home in Thailand is something I have been doing since childhood, and I had perfected my English during my time in New Zealand.
College has been an interesting experience thus far, filled with new and exciting memories, along with old experiences. I have looked at college the way I have approached schooling since a young age- it only gets easier with time.
This story originally appeared in Facing College: Diverse Student Voices, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan.