Emilie Vandeputte is a freshman economics major who was recruited all the way from Belgium to play field hockey.
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Why did you decide to come to America for school?
My friend did it last year. She went to Chicago. Her sister did the same before too, and she also really liked it. She said she had so much fun and that it was really a good experience. So I said ‘let’s try it!’
What brought you to Quinnipiac specifically?
Well, they found me on the internet and they were very interested in my field hockey so they kept pushing me to do well on my SATs and TOEFL tests because they really wanted me on their team, so I chose them.
How do you like it here so far?
I like it because this campus is really beautiful and I love that it’s small. People are nice here!
We’re glad to hear it! Was it hard adjusting to a new country?
Well, first when I came here, the time difference was hard for me because I live six hours ahead in Belgium. Clothes and food are different; I still have to adjust to that. I think our way of living is the same though. The way of playing field hockey here is different. Some of the rules are different; I still don’t get some of them. They’re more strict over here than in Belgium.
Was it hard to meet people?
I’m not the most social person so it was kind of hard to meet people, well, it still is. I’m kind of afraid to talk to people. You know, foreign language, I’m afraid to make mistakes. I don’t want people to laugh at me! But everyone is really nice; they help me when I don’t know something.
Nice! How do you like your classes? Are they hard because it’s a different language?
Well, I don’t really like my classes because I think they’re boring. I’m taking English 101 intensive because I wanted my English and essay writing skills to improve, but we’re only reading and writing and I’m not learning anything. For my economics classes, it is sometimes hard to understand what they are talking about, but if I don’t understand, I look it up and translate it later. But most of the time I understand things.
Do you miss Belgium?
Yeah I do and I definitely miss my friends. They started college a week ago, and it’s weird to know that they’re going to college without me. And I miss my teammates from Belgium the most because we were really good friends.
Do you feel comfortable here yet?
Yeah! Well, everyone’s nice here and they’re all very open. If I need something, I know they’ll definitely help me out.
As an international student, what would you say your biggest problem is?
Being far from home. Many people can go home on the weekends and see their family and they’re like, “Oh I had so much fun!” but I can’t do that. I can only go home for Christmas.
Is there anything you want to share about your experiences here so far?
Well, I think that it’s really good that they organize events for international students. We all feel the same because we’re all foreign and far away from home so at these events we can all come together.