How long have you been in the United States?
A. Since August 2006. We moved here from Canada after I finished high school. We lived in Canada for about seven years. We moved to Canada in January 1999 from the Ukraine.
Why did you moved to the United States?
A. My dad was trying to immigrate to the United States. It is the hardest process ever. He moved to Canada because it was easier than moving to the States. He was following his dream.
What are the biggest cultural differences that you have experienced?
A. There is a lot. My friends that are from the Ukraine are so different in their interaction with others. There is a more formal or respective way. They show respect to people that they don’t know that well. They show respect for elders. Kids my age grow up a lot faster there. They are pushed into the world at 16 or 17. Here there is comfort and more luxuries. There it is so hard to live comfortably even if you have a good job. Little things matter more there. People live on hope. It is a better situation here.
What are some of the challenges that you have experienced as an international student?
A. This region of North America is completely different from where I had lived before, so it was a bit difficult to adjust to the culture and to find common ground with my peers. Here, people are family oriented and a lot of focus around the church. I came from a big city that was more liberal. Canada felt like a big melting pot.
How have been able to handle those differences?
A. I just had to assimilate. I now feel at home here. People are very welcoming here. The whole southern comfort and southern hospitality helped out. It is hard at first because it is small and people grew up with each other. It is harder to become a part. I just met people at school that had similar interests.
What is one thing that you would like RSU students to know about you?
A. For people that come here from somewhere else, it is hard to keep your original culture if no one knows about it. People like me have trouble keeping their identity.
What suggestions do you have to RSU in better serving students from other countries?
A. There are some events, but not too many people participate. Maybe have different flags to represent people and where they are from.