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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA through the eyes of an international student

    Jesus Barerra

    Engineering freshman Khaled Aljabali reads a book on Thursday, Sept. 8. Aliabali is an international student from Kuwait whose favorite thing about the UA is his professors.

    A fresh influx of sweaty faces, all attempting to squeeze perfectly packed boxes into minuscule rooms—so went move-in day for students all across the UA campus.

    Among these bright-eyed newcomers was smiling Meiling Jin, a pre-business freshman from Suzhou, China.

    Jin’s desire to study business compelled her to come specifically to UA, but she said her sister inspired her decision to leave China as well.

    “My sister came to America, she’s two years older than me,” Jin said. “She is studying at Michigan State University.”

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    Jin explained how living in the states has been a large adjustment from Suzhou.

    “It’s totally different,” Jin said. “I’ve only been here three weeks, so I’m not quite familiar with everything. I’m just familiar with school.”

    Jin said not only the academics, but also the culture of the U.S.—and Tucson in particular—have been new experiences as she settles into her first semester.

    “Less people walk on the streets, I feel like I don’t see people outside school,” Jin said. “In China, outside you can see many, many people walking, but it seems empty after school here in Tucson.”

    Adjusting to new people, let alone a new country, is a big undertaking. Jin has juggled the excitement and nervousness of it all, but some things remain unchanged.

    For example, when she gets hungry, Jin opts for rice, passing up the Cup Noodles and Easy Mac that flood the shelves of Highland Market and most dorm rooms. And despite the dining options throughout campus and the opportunity to make quick meals in the dorm kitchens, for Jin, nothing compares to home-cooked meals.

    “The biggest adjustment has been food—it’s all fast food here,” Jin said. “I don’t know how to cook—my mother always cooked for me—but I’m trying to learn.”

    But beyond the culture shock and notable differences that she faces every day, Jin remains optimistic about the next four years, and feels lucky to have found a new home over 6,000 miles away.

    “My favorite part about being here is that people are very friendly,” Jin said.

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