Students reflect on their year at K
At the end of every year, K students must say farewell to our visiting International Students who have served as our language Teaching Assistants and new, but good, friends. Visiting International Students Marta Gilete from Spain, Juan Diego PazyMiño from Ecuador, and Marilou Jeandel from France share their reflections.
For all three students food from back home is something that cannot compare to Kalamazoo. “Spanish food is one of the most missed things here in Kalamazoo,” Gilete said.
The first thing Jeandel will do when she arrives back in France is eat a baguette and some cheese, even if it does sound like a cliché.
PazyMiño cannot believe it’s been a year since he’s eaten Ecuadorian food.
The smaller size of K’s campus is something that stood out to these students.
“Since it is a small school, professors take care of students. As well as the advisors,” Gilete said. Jeandel noticed the same phenomenon as Gilete, but she feels that since campus is so small she has seen everything there is to see on campus. Jeandel will miss the people that she’s met in Kalamazoo.
“I keep on meeting interesting people and I wish I could stay longer to get to know them better,” Jeandel said. She added that she is not the spokesperson of all French people, but she notes that friendships happen differently in other countries and cultures.
“French people tend to be kind of cold at first, but once they appreciate the person, it is real.” She finds it to be the reverse with Americans, “At first, [Americans] are very enthusiastic, but the excitement about the friendship lessens after a certain time,” Jeandel said.
Along with the relational differences, Gilete faced incredible culture shock and often found herself feeling misunderstood. Now, she says that studying and being a Spanish TA at K has enriched her life and left her with an increased love for her home in Spain and its people.
PazyMiño found his main group of friends at K to be other visiting students, and he wishes to keep in touch with them.
“I have mixed emotions because it was a year full of great experiences, but at the same time I am happy to go back home,” PazyMiño said.
In her goodbye to campus, Gilete said, “Thanks to my friends, classmates and students, all of you are the best reason for loving this challenging and rewarding experience.”