By Rosalie Wain
Union College is beautiful. The campus is literally out of a movie. I can hear the old church bells ringing and the crickets starting to sing, and every person I’ve come across is, if anything, too friendly. The heat has meant that my little English self is in extreme need of aloe vera, but it has been lovely just to bask in the American sunshine and drink a very odd version of iced tea.
I feel able to say that, on behalf of all the international students, Union is the most welcoming place I’ve ever been, including my home University of York St. John. When I first arrived in Schenectady, after what felt like a year’s worth of travel, Union had sent a student representative to pick us up who was very helpful and showed us all to our houses. I was so tired that I just fell straight to sleep, though I’m not sure whether it was the intense amount of travelling or the inevitable toothpaste explosion that did it, but I left all my unpacking for the next day.
The actual journey itself wasn’t too bad; however, the cultural differences between America and England were starkly obvious straight away. I had the shock of my life when I realized that the police officers were all carrying guns in the airport. I already knew that this was allowed in America, but I’ve never even seen a gun or any weapon in real life, so it was quite unnerving. Also on my list of shocking occurrences—the toilets all flush on the opposite sides.
Confusing cultural differences have been, and will proceed to be, a frequent occurrence. However, instead of its initial unnerving and somewhat nostalgic effect, I feel as though Union is an environment in which I can only be encouraged to learn from these differences and perhaps even embrace them. I find myself only excited for the weeks to come.