Today’s Tuesday With Tulsa blog post comes from Gracie W., a junior German and Education major from Rogers, AR.
Before I came to TU, I never realized what a new and diverse world there was to discover just two hours from my home. International students make up a significant part of TU’s student population, and their numbers are growing each year. Yet, we often allow cultural differences to prevent us from getting to know students from other countries. But I’ve found that international students are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet, and they’re usually eager to make American friends. If you reach out to the international population at TU, you’ll find it’s easy to start some incredible, enriching friendships.
My first semester at Tulsa, I took a beginning Russian course. On the first day of class, I was surprised to find that I was the only girl in a class of 17 Arab men. The course focused on conversation, so I spent most of the time talking with my classmates in Russian. Through all of our fumbling with new words and a new alphabet, we got to know each other pretty well. Though I knew almost nothing about Middle Eastern culture, I never felt out of place in class. Later on, I also met several Kazakh students through the Russian Club. Who would have guessed that the Russian language would bring so many Middle Eastern students and American students together? That’s the beauty of internationalization at TU. If you just take the effort to reach out to the international community, they’ll welcome you with open arms. You’ll also find students from all over the world. As a German major, I’m always thrilled talk with exchange student from the University of Siegen. And last summer, I had a fantastic time getting to know a group of Chinese exchange students as part of my job at the Center for Global Education.
Now, I am studying abroad myself. My experiences in Germany have shown me just how much it means to find a friendly face in a new place. So my advice to any incoming students would be, don’t be afraid to reach out to the international community. As TU students, we are very lucky to have so many enriching international opportunities on campus. Make the most of them!