33 International students on the most surprising things about America/Canada.

As an international student, the question ‘Where are you from?’ is often met with astonishment and surprise. Generally speaking, American students are very excited to learn about students from other countries and the quirks and eccentricities of their cultures. However, not many consider how foreign and bizarre American culture can appear to visiting foreigners. So for your education and entertainment, I have compiled a list of responses to the question, “What was the most surprising thing about America/Canada when you came here for school?”

  1. M . 22. Ukraine. Bathroom attendants.
  2. F. 21. Ukraine. That it is a financial strain to eat healthy.
  3. F. 19. Lebanon. Portion sizes.
  4. M. 24. Montenegro. Twerking*.
  5. M. 19. Ethiopia. The cold weather.
  6. M. 19. Scotland. Drive-thru pharmacies.
  7. F . 22. Finland. Lack of sidewalks.
  8. M. 24. Ghana. Racism.
  9. M. 22. Nigeria. Buffalo wings, what the hell is going on? Bagels and cream cheese, I loved it. Unlimited pizza. Ice machines.
  10. F. 23. Finland. The food is tasteless. Not enough hot guys.
  11. M. 24. Saudi Arabia. Four seasons.
  12. M. 18. Albania. The parties.
  13. M. 19. Zambia. The girls are crazy.
  14. F. 21. Myanmar. Competitive spirit.
  15. M.  22. Saudi Arabia. Girls wearing pajamas in class.
  16. M. 19. Argentina. So many different cultures.
  17. F. 23. Ethiopia. Seeing white people doing construction and janitorial jobs.
  18. M. 20. Tanzania. High cost of living, high multiculturalism, high Catholic religiosity, conservatism.
  19. F. 22. Kenya. Opportunities for people of all ages.
  20. F. 21. Gambia. People getting annoyed at calling fries, chips, calling soccer football and calling parking lots car parks.
  21. F. 24. Rwanda. Lack of privacy, lack of boundaries.
  22. M. 23. Kenya. Girls being harder to hook up with [Than they show in movies].
  23. M. 24. Finland. People dressed like bums in class. People being so polite.
  24. F. 22. Finland. There’s not that many fat people. People here are so nice.
  25. F. 24. Finland. Healthier food.
  26. M. 22. Egypt. Subway more prominent than McDonald’s.
  27. M. 21. Ghana. Cupcakes being 2/3rds frosting and 1/3 cupcake.
  28. F. 22. Kenya. The obsession with trends.
  29. F. 20. Kenya. Adjusting to the South’s slang and accent.
  30. M. 22. Kenya. The friendliness of the people.
  31. M. 22. Zimbabwe. The hotness of the women.
  32. F. 18. Eritrea. Everything is huge.
  33. M. 22. Zimbabwe. How relaxed everyone is in regards to drugs in Vancouver.

*By far, the most common response to this question was twerking. My personal response to this question would have been, like many above me (Removed for the sake of redundancy), twerking. Having grown up in a fairly Western household, and having visited the US twice before I came to university here, I was quiet familiar with American culture. However, the one phenomenon I had not been exposed to was twerking. For those that do not know what twerking is click on the hyper-linked text.

My first contact (Literally) with twerking came in the form of an abrupt collision. I was a freshman attending a fraternity party off-campus. There in that dim-light basement I made my way through the crowd of people only to be struck square in the thigh by a rogue shoulder. Astonished and bemused as to why a shoulder had hit me in the middle of my leg, I looked down to see a scantily dressed young woman engaging in the aforementioned act on another even more scantily dressed woman, who in turn was twerking on a rather pleased looking gentleman. I was dumbfounded by the level of efficiency displayed in such a depraved act. It was after collecting my lower jaw off the floor, I realized that I had just received my very own culture shock.


8 Tips for Incoming Freshman

I sit here on my throne of having reached the pinnacle of my college experience as part of a few elite. I’m a senior; I belong to the wisest and most experienced few, in all affairs that are collegiate that is. Here are a few tips to help navigate the murky waters for the uninitiated (Incoming freshman, I’m looking at you).

1. Ditch the lanyard. This is the easiest give away, by far.

2. If you are sitting in the front row of a class and have your laptop out, bear in mind that everyone behind you can see you updating your Twitter or stalking your ex on Facebook. You pay to go to school, so pay attention.

3. Under no circumstances brag about your ACT/SAT score, barring the admissions office- no one cares.

4. Understand the type of person you are, and plan your schedule accordingly. If you are a night owl, taking 8.30’s everyday of the week will only set yourself up for catastrophic failure. Conversely, if you are an early riser, those three-hour night classes might encroach into your bedtime. Be wary.

5. If you’re the shy type, join student organizations, go to seminars and meetings hosted on campus. Join a team if you are of the athletic persuasion,  or go Greek. Once that seasonal depression hits and your roommate is the only person you have socialized with for the last half of the semester, you’ll be thankful you did.

6. On roommates, don’t room with close friends. Every healthy relationship needs some degree of separation. If the only person you hang out with happens to sleep 7 feet away from you, frustrations will arise and friendships could potentially be irreparably damaged.

7. Forget high school; this is your chance for a fresh start. Freed from the mundane social imprisonment of high school, you have the chance to blossom into the person you were meant to be. Or you can hold on to your past accomplishments and let them shackle you and never grow.

8. Skip the burger and fries combo. The freshman fifteen is a real and cruel mistress, transforming cute coeds into unrecognizable blobs over the course of two semesters. Wise up and eat heatlhy-ish, and work out. Your body will thank you for it.


How to Survive the Final Stretch of the Semester


If you recorded the amount of stress you have throughout each semester on a graph, it’d probably look the same every time: a short, gradual slope that suddenly shoots up into a steep, ever-increasing mountain. That’s because the assignments become more frequent and more involved the deeper we dive into the semester.

Since we’re at about the 3/4 mark, you’re probably dangling somewhere near the top of the highest peak right now. Not only are you in over your head, but you know you’ve still got more climbing to do before relief is in sight. This is probably your face most of the time:


I need you to keep hanging in there though. Winter break is just around the corner, and you’ve got this.

Here’s what you can do to keep your head above the water for the remainder of the semester:

  1. Don’t shut down. When things are really overwhelming, it almost feels like you can’t do anything at all, so you want to give up. But instead of losing all hope, try to get just a few simple things done, and you’ll be amazed at how relieved you feel. I did the dishes the other night, and it felt completing a marathon.
  2. Don’t look too far ahead. This one is tricky because you don’t want due-dates to creep up on you. But if you look too far in advance, you’re going to get overwhelmed by the amount of work you still have left. Instead, try just focusing on the next two weeks and say, “Okay, what do I need to get done this week? What can wait?”
  3. Make study guides now. Do you need more than just your notes to study? If you’re like me, you like flashcards and study guides for test prep. However, putting those aids together can be more time-consuming than the actual studying. So, put together as much of your studying material as you can now so you can focus on the actual studying when finals come. A great site I love to use is Quizlet, and there’s an Quizlet iPhone app too. It lets you create electronic flashcards and offers different ways to study them. It’s much more efficient than paper cards.
  4. Check those midterm grades. If you aren’t satisfied, and you want to work on bringing them up, now is the time to do it. Wait any longer, and it might be too late to make enough of a difference. Don’t let yourself be surprised at the end of the semester. Or, if you’re happy with your grades, at least you don’t have to stress about raising them. Just make sure you maintain it!
  5. Create incentives. Tell yourself, if I get this paper done, I can go out with my friends on Saturday, or, if I study for this test for the next couple of hours, I can watch my favorite show tonight. This psychological tactic will motivate to get things done and out of the way.

Those are my tips. What do you do to survive the dreaded final quarter of the semester?