Living on Campus since my freshman year has given me an incredible opportunity to get involved around campus and to get to know a lot about the American culture. One thing that I think I would have regretted is if I had decided to live off campus and commute to my classes every single day. The experience of living on Campus at St. Ambrose University has been amazing so far and I would like to share some things that I really loved about Campus Life.
Arriving at the Campus Housing:
It was my first time travelling to America and one thing that stressed me a lot was whether I would face issues getting to my campus housing or not. Throughout the whole journey, I kept in touch with the Center for International Education at St. Ambrose University giving them all the details about my flight and my arrival status. Soon after I arrived at my destination, I was picked up by one of the International ambassadors at St. Ambrose University and was brought to campus. It was late in the night and I was very tired from the journey so as soon as I was brought to my room I slept.
Experiencing the Campus Life:
The first few days that I lived on campus was much more exciting than I thought. I met a lot of new friends through events organized on campus and through socializing with friendly people surrounding me. One of the things that I really enjoyed at the early stage of my experience about campus life was how welcoming everyone on campus was. People were very excited to learn and know about me, my culture and it felt like I wasn’t different from them. Seeing the campus for the first time was amazing, it was my first time experiencing a campus so big and so green. It felt beautiful, thanks to the policy at St. Ambrose International students were allowed to take pictures of the campus so I shared those pictures with my family, and they loved the campus as much as I did. I walked around campus all the time to make myself familiar with it or to just enjoy the view from some places on campus. The first couple of weeks were amazing but I started feeling home sick but the center for International Education has helped me in every step. Every time I felt homesick, I had people to talk to and in no time I started transitioning and getting used to the place. Soon after that, I found out that there were so many clubs and organizations that would be willing to help me represent my culture so, I immediately joined the International Student Organization club. This club wasn’t only for International students but for everyone else that wanted to get involved and to learn about different cultures. I got engaged in the club and have received tremendous experiences about different cultures either by helping to organize cultural events and/or participating in them.
Campus Life has given me a wonderful experience and was the best decision I have made. I always thought living on Campus with people that are so different from me would be the hardest thing I would ever have to do but being around these people and experiencing their unique, yet amazing culture has taken away all my fear. Although it was hard to get used to the hours in the cafeteria due to the difference in meal timing back home, I have always found the cafeteria to be the best place to socialize. There were times where I would end up sitting and talking to my friends for hours during the weekend. Living on Campus has made my experience transitioning to the American Culture a lot smoother than I have imagined. Getting to events and attending the meetings on time was very easy since I lived within walking distance. The first two years I lived in a traditional housing where I shared a room with a roommate and the bathroom with a suitemate, after getting used to the place and loving everything about the place whether it’s the food at the cafeteria or the workout session at the gym, getting to class on time or socializing with friends in the halls, I decided to continue living on campus housing to gain more experience.
On my third year at the University I was offered to be part of the University Life Committee where I was sharing my opinions to make student living better. The life on campus has been amazing so far, every year I decided to continue living on campus has brought a different experience, I have made more friends, became better at socializing. However, this is my last year at St. Ambrose University, while I am excited for life after graduation it saddens me that I have to leave my second home. St. Ambrose University will always be a part of me, it has taught me a lot and has made me realize that every year is different so live it differently. The Center for International Education has never made me feel different, I was always welcomed. It also gave me the opportunity to still remember my culture while gaining a lot of knowledge as well as experiencing the American culture. I can’t wait to see what more experiences and knowledge this year will bring.
Aweys Ahmed Aweys of Somalia, is studying Finance and Marketing at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa