Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cultural Exchange Community

I have been back in the States since May 1 but I refuse to let go of the recent international theme for my life. I returned to Clemson University in August to live in the Cultural Exchange Community (CEC) on campus. My suitemate Jennifer and I decided last year that we would live here since we were both interested in going abroad. We have both since been abroad and are now living here with two other wonderful young ladies. Jennifer's roommate is Alexandra from Canada. She is extremely bubbly and friendly. I can't imagine life without her in my apartment. My roommate is Pauline from France. She is super sweet and I love seeing her every day. Jenn and I couldn't have asked for better roommates!
Life in the CEC is so much fun. I think one thing that really amazes me is just how genuinely nice everyone is. There are people here from all over the world: America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America. I love how well everyone gets along and that everyone is able to have fun together even though we are all so different.
My favorite thing about living around so many foreigners is their accents. Foreign accents are absolutely amazing to me. I also think it's interesting when any of the students who speak English as a second language express feelings of inadequacy in speaking English. This just blows my mind because I know for a fact that I would be lucky to know one sentence of their language. As far as I'm concerned, they are all wonderful English speakers. I'm also really impressed with how diligent they are in their school work.
I love being able to talk to the international students about things that are different between here and where they're from. Some of the things that have come up... Sudents would never where pajama bottoms to class in Spain. The Europeans were so surprised to see girls wearing athletic shorts outside as normal clothes. Like I saw in Belgium, Europe and Canada employ reusable bags for grocery shopping. Also, Southern hospitality is something totally new to most of them.
One thing for sure that none of them have ever experienced before coming here is Clemson pride. They all comment about how nice everyone is and what a happy place Clemson is. I'm glad they all like it here. We love having them here as part of our community!