As an international student fresh off the airplane from India, the first time I set foot on BU campus was when I moved into Warren Towers before the last orientation session. To say I was overwhelmed would be putting it politely. Not only was it my first day in Boston – and on BU campus for that matter – but I was expected to “settle in” before I’d even had a chance to catch my breath!
What is home? Is it that place you go back to at the end of the day? Is it where your family is? Is it the culture you grew up amidst? I’d prefer to think of it as an amalgam of elements from all of the above, cut and pasted onto the corkboard of our individual universes. And to have all of that transplanted to a different environment altogether can often be a difficult adjustment. You are suddenly almost uncomfortably aware of every difference, be it the big ones in food, clothing, and language to the more subtle ones like the commercials on T.V. that all your peers grew up watching, but are completely – for the lack of another word – foreign to you.
In order to assimilate, you could either seek out elements of you culture, completely immerse yourself in this new one, or a little bit of both. Whichever way, BU is prepared to accommodate you within its diverse microcosm which forms one of the largest international student populations of any American university. It’s only human to want a familiar face in a foreign land, and organizations such as the Boston University India Club and the Asian Student Union are only a couple of examples from a host of cultural organizations that cater to every international student’s need for a slice of home. From celebrating international festivals to hosting gatherings, every culture forms its own network whilst simultaneously branching out as students interact outside of them.
I think everyone can agree that you never feel lonely or homesick if you don’t have the time to, and one of the most important aspects of life on campus is to GET INVOLVED in one way or another. It could be with one of the aforementioned groups, or with another extracurricular group in theatre, dance or music. The list is endless, and can be found in its entirety over at YouDo@BU. I joined Boston University Stage Troupe, one of the theatre groups on campus within the first few weeks of freshman year, and really appreciate the mental break from classes. More importantly, it gave me the chance to meet a group of people I normally probably wouldn’t have interacted with had we not been united by our love of the stage.
Yes, BU is swarming with people (to put it mildly), but it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. It’s important to realize that the ease with which you get accustomed to life in a new place is entirely in your hands. BU is teeming with opportunity, but it’s up to you to take it.