Time is one of those things that always catches me off guard. How quickly a day goes by, a week, a month, or a year. It’s hard to believe that half of the semester has passed and that it’ll be over before we know it!
Besides everything I’ve been learning in class, the thing I have loved the most about my short time at A&M is the people I’ve had the opportunity to meet. Living my entire life in the Rio Grande Valley is like living in a bubble and being out of that bubble means getting to meet a lot of different people. Hearing their stories of what brought them to A&M is something I find exciting and privileged to have the opportunity to listen to. In one class alone, I have classmates from 7 different countries. I’ve never had the chance to experience the diversity that I’m now experiencing, so it has been an exciting and eye-opening time for me.
Getting to learn about their culture and getting to share mine has truly been humbling. It has helped me put situations into perspective and created a deep admiration of our international students. I admire them because being away from home is hard for anyone, but especially for them. I've realized that I'm incredibly lucky to be in the same state and country as my family and a mere 6 hours away from home. Whenever I get homesick, I can jump into my car and be home by dinner time. Unlike me, they don’t have that luxury because their families are on the other side of the world.
In talking to some of my classmates, most of them only have the opportunity to go home once a year if they’re lucky. The cost of an international flight is easily over $1,000 which is an incredibly large amount of money for any college student. Some even said that they will have to wait until they complete their program before they get the opportunity to go back home, which could be several years from now. On top of that, adjusting to a place where your native language isn't spoken and trying to get settled is very challenging.
Their strength and fearlessness to uproot their lives, leave their home for a place that is different, and decide to live here for several years is something that I’m in complete awe of. Not everyone would be able to make the sacrifices and commitment that they have chosen to make.
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Jessica is a PhD student in the College of Education and Human Development