Being an International Student at Geneva College - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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January 15, 2016

Being an International Student at Geneva College

I am somewhat of an unconventional international student at Geneva College. I hold a (well-used, thoroughly stamped, falling apart) passport from the United States. I was born in the United States, have documentation from the United States, have all the legal benefits of being a citizen of the United States.

But I’m an international student at Geneva College.

I came to college straight off the mission field—my family currently resides in Hong Kong. I moved around Asia every few years. South Korea? Lived there. North east China? Done that. North Korea? Oh yeah.

Seeing as my home address is some unrecognizable format from Hong Kong, I was quickly drafted into the group of international students here on campus. It was a great way to make friends, especially during my first year. I met my post-freshman year roommate because we were both international students (even though she,too, holds an American passport).

Being an international student is great. There are a lot of perks. We can speak a few different languages. We’ve tried the strangest of foods—and liked it. We’ve traveled, we’ve met interesting people, we know exactly the sights you need to see when you visit our home countries, and we have plenty of great stories to tell. We get to spend Christmas breaks outside of the United States.

International Student

But being an international student can be tough. Family Weekend is depressing when our families can’t come. We have to figure out somewhere to go for spring break and Thanksgiving break, because the dorms close but there isn’t enough time to fly home. Speaking of flying home, a round-trip ticket will cost us about $2,000, depending on the time of year and where exactly we are going.

Geneva understands the highs and lows of being an international student, and they do their best to accommodate. They organize and plan events for us to go to throughout the semester, so that we have a chance to hang out and talk with other students who go through similar struggles. For those who can’t find somewhere else to go for Thanksgiving, International Student Services employees invite them into their homes for Thanksgiving dinner. They drive us to the airport whenever we need rides. They help us find places to store our things over the summer, since we can only cram so much into a suitcase. They give us care packages during finals week, they write us cards for our birthdays, and they stand in when our families can’t be here for something.

Being an international is a lot of fun, but it comes with its own set of challenges. Geneva College makes sure that I assimilate into the student body, but also gives me a chance to meet with other students who come from similar backgrounds. They try (and succeed!) to fill in the blanks that so many of us international students arrive at Geneva with, for which we will thank them in as many languages as we know for years to come.

Are you a prospective international student? Learn more about the International Student Services that Geneva College offers.

—Mikayla Covington ’16

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