BY CAMILA DONOSO
I finally received the letter: the SNC acceptance letter! I had never heard of De Pere before I started searching for colleges to apply to in the United States. I found St. Norbert College and fell in love with it because of the renowned professors, excellent Communications program, interesting classes and a campus that seems to be the setting of a movie. I was so excited, I just wanted to immediately buy the airplane tickets and come here.
One of the first things that really surprised me was how kind every single person in De Pere was. At the beginning, I thought that it was just how members of the St. Norbert community would act since I was a new foreign exchange student, but then I realized that everybody was like this. For example, a lady at the store on the first day I arrived didn’t understand my English because I had not practiced it for two years, but she still tried so hard to help me find what I was looking for. Another thing I noticed was how the drivers actually stop their car just to let me cross the street; that is something very uncommon in other cities.
A lot of people ask me what the major difference is between the U.S. and my hometown and country. Besides the weather of course (I have never seen snow), I have to say that living alone is the biggest change for me. My university in Quito doesn’t have dorms, so I lived at home with my parents. Living here alone, in a different country and with another language is very challenging.
Despite the hardships, it has been amazing! I have been here just for a month, and I already love this place. I have met so many people. Some of my friends are from Germany, Taiwan, France, Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia and, of course, the United States. I can´t wait for the vacations so I can travel and discover other parts of this beautiful country. I know that it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I really want to enjoy it.
I know that SNC has a lot of study abroad programs. Coming from a foreign exchange student’s perspective, I would highly recommend each one of you take advantage of them. Getting out of your comfort zone is very difficult and scary, but it’s a wonderful sensation. It´s a whole new experience.