Truckee Meadows Community College Student Blogger Begins Her Second Year
It’s hard to believe how fast time flies. It’s almost like I just came out of the womb yesterday! Funny how much experiences change your perspective of time. Like a three-hour math class doing trigonometry takes about twelve hours of your day while listening to your favorite song is only 30 seconds. How is that for school, though? After a year of studying in the United States, not only have I uncovered the trenches of American culture but developed my individuality — some people call it “maturity” — as an international person, further deepening the Filipino-ness inside me.
The semester started on August 21st for me. I barely remember waking up and changing, grabbing the first thing that latched onto my hands. Physics was my first period, and this time, there were actually a few familiar faces in class! Unlike last year when I had my outfit laid out the night before — a pink-stripe, long-sleeve top (I saw it today, reminding me of my own first day), a classic pair of black jeggings, and white shoes, going into a class where I was curious and eager to know e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e in it because I knew no one at all!
As an International Peer Mentor at Truckee Meadows Community College, I was one of the facilitators of this year’s new international student orientation. I saw myself in the seats they were sitting in, remembering how eager I was to start my new journey — and a year later, now I’m in the middle of that journey, helping students begin theirs.
Over time adjusting to American culture became a lot easier, as interacting with professors and schoolmates alike happened often enough (it’s a canon event). I no longer get shocked seeing students wearing clothes on campus that are different from how students in the Philippines dress. Calling professors by their first names started to feel more comfortable. Though, food is the part I still struggle with and may never choose to adapt. I still crave my rice three times a day!
There are social norms that eventually caught up with me — the unspoken rules; like small talk is something everyone does, even if you’ve never participated in that before. Touching, like tapping someone, is something you always have to ask about because everyone has different comfort zones so you wanna be sure to respect that and avoid any faux pas. I’ve struggled with laughing but not being able to do the Filipino slap! (Don’t worry, it’s just laughing so hard your arms flail around and you don’t know what to do with them so you slap/high-five who you’re laughing with.)
Fortunately, I was able to visit my home country, the Philippines, this summer. It was a surprise visit! Not even my siblings knew until I got home with a wet look from the dense humidity of the Philippines. It was refreshing to be around the culture I grew up in, despite the numerous changes that have happened.
We have a little Frenchie, and his name is Dumbo. He absolutely loved that I was there to bother him for 3 weeks. My sister—who isn’t a baby anymore?! — just tell mom that she’s going to use the car for the gym! And, get this, my mom says “Okay, have fun!”?!?!?! I went to an island with only my sister and our cousins, and I was shocked that we were allowed to go.
Nonetheless, there were good-old-motherland reminders that helped me realize that I was back home. The biggest reminder is religion; I was at the store in the mall with my mom, and the Angelus played in the speakers. This is a prayer done every 12 PM, 3 PM, and 6 PM, commemorating the death of Jesus. That, and I had to go to church every Sunday with the whole family, except for the pets.
Coming back to the United States after the visit solidified the Filipina inside me, and how I can adapt to the new cultures I learn along the way without forgetting who I was before. Just like the Filipino saying, “Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makararating sa paroroonan.” — “He who does not know how to look at where he’s from will never reach where he’s headed.” — I won’t be forgetting my roots anytime soon!
This fall, I am still eager to explore more. I am determined to grow more looking back at where I started and seeing where this journey takes me.
|Alaine Obra from the Philippines is studying for an associate’s degree in computer science at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada.
Check Out These Schools
Start your U.S. adventure with Study in the USA
Learn About U.S. education financing, housing, and more
BECOME SMARTER IN JUST 5 MINUTES. Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed and entertained, for free.
Summer plans suspended because of COVID-19? The deadline's approaching for TheInternGroup's virtual/remote global internship program. Gain professional experience, grow your network and make your resume shine from wherever you are this summer.
SURE offers hassle-free renters insurance that'll protect your clothes, furniture, and even yourself from unexpected damages and injuries. The SURE team will get you set up with a free quote and the correct coverage that you need!
Learn about American culture and education direct from our experts at Study in the USA. Read more