Features

Inside the life of an international student

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Entering another culture can be challenging for some, but rather simple for others. For sophomore Joana Gomez coming to Bethel was always her plan for college. She grew up in Tegucigalpa, Honduras with her mother and father and two sisters. She spoke English to her mother and Spanish to her father making the language barrier most international students experience much easier for her. Both of her parents also attended Bethel, and her father served as a residential director for Oakwood/Slater Hall. Her two older sisters followed in their parents’ footsteps and attended Bethel. Besides her obvious decision to come to Bethel, the psychology major has experienced a few tough times. “I think (international students) get homesick and lonely at times,” said professor Katie Weakland. “They mostly need good friends who will be there for them when they are in need, or are lonely, or when they simply want to have fun.” Gomez made it clear that her hardest challenge was being away from her family and dealing with everything alone; however, Gomez has “American parents” as she calls them. They are friends of her family and they were always there for her and allowed her to call them when she needed help or had questions. Gomez also has a group of four friends that she calls her best friends. “We go to the movies, bowling, sport events, most of us are in a bible study together and it could be just simply sitting together and talking.” These are the times that will save Gomez when those feelings of loneliness and missing her family come to her, but this coming Christmas Break Gomez won’t have to face those feelings. She is in the midst of planning a trip home. “It’s gonna kill me,” said Gomez when she talked of going home. Gomez has worked very hard to try to get her flight home. She will have to leave a week before break starts and come back a week after the spring semester starts. This means she will have to take all her finals early and have catching up to do when she returns a week late. Gomez is determined to finish her years here at Bethel then go on to graduate school. Moving back home will depend on what the political issues are at that time as for now she has her friends to keep her going and doesn’t regret her choice of Bethel College.
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