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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The second impressions of an international student

This time as a mentor, not a mentee
Autumn Driscoll
International Student Services hosted the annual International Orientation on Aug. 22, welcoming students from around 30 countries.

A year ago, I wrote my very first piece in the Chronicle about my first impressions as an international student. 

A year ago, I came to this school like a lost puppy. Quite literally wandering around, my metaphorical tail between my legs, asking myself why I thought it was a good idea to move across the ocean by myself.

I still ask that question multiple times per week. Mostly before midterms and finals.

I remember moving in a week before the start of the fall 2022 semester, three days before the rest of my class. My Global Partner mentor walked me over to my dorm, Irmagarde Tator Hall, in pouring rain as we both cowered under a shared umbrella.

The day of my international student orientation — on what must’ve been the hottest day of that year — I spent my day in the Mount Carmel Auditorium with no air conditioning and a silent wish for a plane ticket back home. 

This year, as the global partner student coordinator, I was the one in charge of the new lost puppies from all around the globe and I wanted to make sure their experience differed from mine. 

Please don’t misunderstand; I wasn’t being tortured last year. I wasn’t crying myself to sleep every night. I was just alone. I wasn’t on any of the sports teams, knew no one in the area and was so shy I could barely talk to myself in the mirror.

Somehow, somewhere over the past year, I grew up. Don’t ask me how that happened, because I truly won’t be able to tell you. But it did give me the right motivation to welcome the new class and make sure no one would feel that alone.

Of course, I’m not going to be there to hold my mentees’ hands throughout the entire year, but I don’t need to be. Everyone manages to find something for themselves eventually, just like I did. I started writing for the Chronicle, attended SPB’s Bingo Nights and made friends along the way. 

Their experience hopefully won’t be much different. For now though, they need all the help they can get.

Compared to this year, my class had very few international students, and I was one of the only students who wasn’t an athlete. 

This year, there were so many more incoming students, both undergraduates and graduates. Coming from around 30 different countries from around the world, this group included first years, transfers and graduate students alike. 

As a European, I was overjoyed to see faces from countries like Poland, Hungary, Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Spain, United Kingdom, Italy and even the Slovak Republic — my home country.  

While the majority of the international student body comes from Canada — and really, how international are they — the international class of 2027 is a rich tapestry of various cultures and languages, as well as reasons for choosing Quinnipiac for their college experience. 

“I chose to come to Quinnipiac primarily because of the geography,” said Danielle Burney, a first-year political science major from Germany. “I wanted to go to a place that had all four seasons, and I also enjoy watching hockey. I was more into it when they weren’t the National Champions, but that doesn’t hurt either.” 

Moving an entire ocean away like I did is no easy task. It’s stressful and takes a lot of mental energy and patience while going through the process. Naturally, there are also fears associated with coming to the United States. When you see an article once a week about school shootings across the U.S., it doesn’t exactly scream welcoming. 

I’m not the only one who thinks that. Burney admitted that before moving, pretty much everything she knew about the U.S. came from the media, and in her words, it “wasn’t exactly good.” 

Thankfully, I haven’t had an experience yet that would make me pack up my things and hop on the next plane back home, and I sincerely hope I and no other international students ever will. 

I did have people ask me, when I told them where I’m from, if I actually meant Czechoslovakia, to which I would usually respond with a death stare and a silent need to tell them to look at a map from this century. 

As Burney noted, sometimes even college-educated U.S. citizens “lack knowledge about places outside of the U.S.”

Dramatics aside, Quinnipiac is actually a decent place to be at as an international student. All the struggles I have mentioned? They seem quite insignificant after some time. Quinnipiac offers much more opportunities for getting involved than I would’ve had if I stayed at a university back home. 

I’m not just saying that because I’m biased and managed to settle here already. The university, mainly the International Student Services staff, really tries to make the experience as uncomplicated for us as possible. 

That’s what the Global Partners program was created for: to connect current students, U.S. citizens and internationals alike, with prospective Bobcats. Global Partners are there to help and guide them, as well as just being a friendly face in the crowd. 

While most partners are in charge of just their mentees, as a Student Coordinator I oversaw all of the new undergraduate students as well as all of the undergraduate Global Partners. That meant most of my summer involved writing emails and bossing people around. My kind of fun. 

Sitting in on presentations about student visas, twice in less than two weeks, is much less fun, but worth it. This year I even got to sit on a student-run panel, answering questions about my life here at Quinnipiac.

But if another Canadian athlete asks me what my favorite alcoholic drink is, I might pop a blood vessel. 

Regardless, I’m glad I got to be a part of this program. To be the someone for somebody new, the someone that I didn’t have last year. The Global Partners program has grown so much in just a year and I’m proud that I got to contribute to that. 

“Quinnipiac was very welcoming towards me being an international (student), so I think that made my transition to college that much easier,” Burney said. 

As a Global Partner mentor, hearing a student say that makes me feel like my job this summer has been accomplished. Who doesn’t enjoy the occasional pat on the back after putting in a lot of work? 

I ended my first article with the rhetorical question: “It could always be worse right?” 

I’m going to end this one with the answer: Yes, but it’s not going to be. 

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Alexandra Martinakova
Alexandra Martinakova, Editor-in-Chief

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