International Education Week highlights students’ challenging and exciting college experience


Courtesy of Domitille Robin

Southeastern’s International programs bring many different cultures from all over the world to SLU.

Going to school abroad is an incredible opportunity to explore another country, learn about another culture and shape yourself through adventure. It’s also a great way to see a different part of the world before settling down and starting a career. 

Interacting with other students and peers allows international students to network around the world. Students who choose to study abroad not only meet other international students at their U.S. college or university but also get to know locals, learn about American culture and see what it’s like to live in a country far different from their own. At Southeastern, students from the world over are here on campus.

Despite many exciting moments of studying abroad, being an international student can be challenging and tough. Being alone in a new country away from your family can be difficult and stressful. Struggling with the language barrier and fear of being in a new place are common feelings for international students.

Pantchakorn Suanarsa, an international-student athlete who came to Southeastern this year, said she is excited to be a part of the tennis team and experience college life. 

However, she has faced some challenges at SLU, including problems with understanding since so much can be lost in translation.

“The language is the main difficulty for me. If you get sick, for example, it’s hard to explain how I feel because they have specific words here that I don’t know,” Suanarsa stated. 

Food options are another major challenge for international students in adapting to American culture, with many noting food in the U.S. is mostly fried with a lot of added sugar and artificial flavors. 

Domitille Robin, an exchange student from France, came to Southeastern for one semester and said the food here was the biggest culture shock for her.

”The food in the USA is not the best and that is what I miss most about back home, besides friends and family of course,” Robin said. 

Robin pointed out the International Student Union has helped her to meet friends and kept her interested in campus life. She liked that they held activities every Friday to have fun and enjoy her semesters here.

Various events are held for internationals throughout the year, along with International Education Week, which is this week. Anyone can meet representatives from other countries and learn about their cultures and traditions. 

Panatchakorn Suanarsa, an international student at SLU, won the singles draw at the Jackson State Invitational Tennis tournament (Kate Oborina).

Cultural exchange is an important experience U.S. students do not always get to participate in, so Southeastern provides this valuable opportunity to them by holding these events on campus. 

Timothy Kunin, an international student from Russia majoring in music, came to the United States when his dad got a job here.

Kunin explained, “I was exposed to the American lifestyle previously, so I did not have to adjust too much.” 

However, everyone needs assistance and help from time to time and as Kunin pointed out, Southeastern helped him to find supportive friends who created a healthy environment throughout his college life. 

“All of us form a strong group of culturally diverse people who always support and encourage each other. So far, one of my best experiences about SLU was engagement with people from other countries,” Kunin said. 

One of the major events for this year’s International Education Week is “International Student Night” in which international students can share their cultures and traditions by singing national songs, dancing and performing in native languages. There will also be an international buffet, so attendees will also be able to sample food from around the world.

There will be an international cultural display on Nov. 17; students will present posters about their home countries to share a piece of their culture. 

It is an opportunity for people to get familiar with multiple countries in just one day with the chance to ask internationals questions about their life abroad and experience in studying in the U.S., as well as get to know what they might be going through studying abroad. 

Domitille Robin shared her biggest challenge as an international student at Southeastern. 

“The language was a problem for me at first because I couldn’t understand everything, but students here are very friendly so it helped me a lot,” Robin said.

Being an international student is an interesting experience requiring independence and a resilient mindset in order to face many challenges and cope. 

Composed of both fun and educational events, SLU’s International Education Week is meant to highlight the university’s dedication to creating community on a global scale.

Other International Education Week events will consist of:

  • Find the Globe, a scavenger hunt around Garrett Hall, Meade Hall and the Computer Science Technology Building from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Nov. 15.
  • International Dance Classes in the REC Room 225 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. on Nov. 16.
  • International Cultural Display in the Student Union Breezeway from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Nov. 17. 
  • International Karaoke in the Tinsley Lounge from 6 – 8 p.m. on Nov. 18. 

To see more information on each event, check out the MISA’s Instagram page @southeasternmisa and continue to keep up with the Lion’s Roar Instagram for our posts on these events, @lionsroarnews.