Column: Life as an International Student

If the sunny weather doesn’t make you want to come to California, it would have to be the fact it is the land of opportunity and In-N-Out Burger.

Born and raised in Ireland, I know too well how difficult it is moving countries, especially at the awkward age of 16. After getting over the initial homesickness and shock of constant traffic, Los Angeles soon became my home.

When I first arrived in California as an international college student, the first thing I struggled with was accents. Whether it was having my Irish accent misunderstood, or not understanding Californian slang. “Bro” and “Like for sure” quickly became part of my vocabulary. I learnt quickly that in America, accents are often a positive thing because people recognize that you’re foreign -which fortunately for me, was a great conversation starter!

University is extremely different in the West Coast compared to Ireland. In Irish universities you’re assigned two assignments and two tests to complete per class each semester…but here, there’s multiple assignments each week?!

Bachelor Degrees in the UK and Ireland only take three years to attain, that’s why horror filled my heart when I heard fellow students joke about ‘Five is the new four’ regarding how many years it takes to get a degree when I attended CSUN. I still shiver at the thought.

The best aspect of attending Pierce as an international student is the amount of multiculturalism. Ireland is predominantly inhabited by Christian caucasian people, so I feel so blessed to be immersed in such a diverse and rich community of so many different languages, food and music. California has taught me much about other religions, lifestyles and everyone I’ve come across has been very welcoming.

My most embarrassing moment so far has been going into the Student Bookstore and asking for a rubber, which is the Irish term an eraser, only to learn that in America ‘rubber’ was something entirely different.

For one college, Pierce has so much passion and talent within its students, so if you’re an international student who’s passionate about your area of study, you’ll fit right in!

If you happen to also be an International Irish student, expect lots of questions like, “You’re Irish? My grandfathers, fathers’ mothers’ aunt was Irish!” or the moment when everyone’s laughing at the ludicrous stereotype that we’re all alcoholics? Although, I can promise we aren’t.

After attending Pierce and quickly learning In-N-Out made the best burgers, the Kardashian’s are famous for no reason, and accepting Hershey’s chocolate tastes awful, I feel like I have finally adjusted to Californian life.