By Valeria Saborio
Living in the U.S. has been an amazing experience already but if someone had told me that I’d be living in a house with seven other people from different nations, I would have never believed them. With a grateful heart I can now say that this is my reality, and I love it!
So how do students from all over the world end up in one house together? Through an amazing organization called the Reno International House! They are a group of people who run several homes that welcome international students to the Reno community. Most of us come to study at the colleges here, some stay for a couple semesters, others their whole college careers.
So what does living in an international house look like? In my house I’ve had housemates from Romania, China, France, Korea, Japan, Kenya, Bangladesh, Spain, Brazil... just to name a few! Even though from the outside our house looks like a tiny doll house, on the inside we have plenty of space and rooms for each of us. Our kitchen is labeled with our respective room numbers so we each have our own space. We all have chores around the house; we are responsible for keeping things clean and organized. Our common areas are welcoming and engaging, and we all love to spend time together here.
Even though there are eight of us living in the house, we are all busy bees running from class to class and trying to have decent meals and breaks in between. We usually spend time together on the weekends when we try to cook meals together and share about each other’s cultures.
Speaking of cultures, that is by far my favorite thing about living in this house: having the opportunity to learn about other nations and their unique identities is so mind-opening and such a fulfilling experience. I have learned so much about my housemates, and I’d like to say that I have tried to incorporate some of the unique traits from each of their cultures. For example, my housemate from Kenya is always cooking delicious meals with mostly natural and healthy ingredients. Some of his dishes are even similar to Costa Rica’s cuisine (my home country), so whenever he is cooking it makes me appreciate home-cooked meals even more.
Another trait that I have learned is from my Japanese housemates, and it is the habit of starting your day early. This might not work for everybody, but starting your day earlier than you are used to brings many benefits such as having extra time to prepare for your day, meditate or prayer, work out, getting chores done, and cooking a hearty breakfast.
One of my favorite memories is when we decided to redecorate our house. We brainstormed about what we wanted to change and off we went to Walmart and Home Depot to get plants, some decorations, and organizers. We moved a lot of furniture around, did some try-outs, spent A LOT of time cleaning and organizing, and hours later, the final result:
This made me bond with my housemates much more and after that we were so excited about the final result. Our house felt more like a home, the world map tapestry in our dining room made us all feel proud of our home countries; the comfy sitting areas, study spaces, and plants added life and color all around.
I am so grateful I get to live in this wonderful house with extraordinary people from all over the world. Sometimes I can’t believe we all grew up in such different environments because under our roof, we all feel connected and appreciated.
If you ever have the chance to have a multicultural experience like this, I encourage you to take it! You will grow in appreciation of all the diverse cultures around the globe and make life-long friendships with students from many countries. You won’t regret it!
Valeria Saborio is from Costa Rica and is pursuing her Industrial and Systems Engineering degree at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada.