Work in ISO serves as comfort, reminder
Being a student worker at Gannon’s International Student Office has been an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience; one that continues to grow with every working hour I spend at the office. Gannon’s International Student Office is my home, and the home of many other international students on campus.
It is my home because the people I work with and for treat me and each other like family. They are welcoming, kind, open-minded and critical when need be. Without them, I and every other international student would be at a complete loss in this new and foreign land.
I don’t love the office just because it’s welcoming, but because it is also giving. My job gives me the opportunity to take part in international students’ transition to another country with all that it entails, like speaking the language or learning the customs.
Being an international student myself, I see myself in the students who left their homes, families and friends to pursue a better life and education for themselves.
Making the transition to another country does not end with the physical dislocation of the body, but it actually starts there.
I remember my own transition to Erie. I was disoriented and overwhelmed. The change was instant; I had no time to process it or think through it.
I had to speak English – a language I learned at home but rarely practiced – instantaneously. I had to get accustomed to Americans’ eating habits and lifestyle. I had to push myself to learn how to rely on myself, knowing that those whom I normally counted on are 5,912 miles away.
Working at the office, I get to observe students making their own transition to Erie in their own way.
I find comfort and joy working at the office because I know that my own experience enables me to relate to the experiences others are going through and helps me realize how I could best help them.
My favorite part of the job is getting to know people from other cultures. My job allowed me to meet and get to know students from Japan, Singapore, Russia, Croatia, Iceland and South Africa – an opportunity hard to come by in any other place.
Seeing the effort the office puts in to integrate international students into the American culture and educate themselves about other cultures in the process makes me extremely thankful for being a part of their community.
My work gives me the opportunity to engage in other students’ lives and makes me realize that I can make a change in someone’s day just by doing something as effortless as saying “hello” in his or her language.
Short URL: http://www.gannonknight.com/?p=4991