From Albania to Zimbabwe: An ‘International’ Family Weekend

My temporary parents, Andrew and Lia
My temporary parents for the weekend, Andrew ’17 and Lia

Hi there! My name is Akira Camargo, a freshman hailing from Tokyo, Japan who will try to crack funny jokes and puns from time to time as I write posts for From Albania to Zimbabwe, the ins and outs of being at Brown from an international student’s perspective. Through my posts, you’ll be able to learn more about all things international here, ranging from international events at Brown (cool guest speakers, festivals and parties) to my thoughts on living in America for the first time (!!!), and a bunch of other interesting stuff as my first year at Brown unfolds. Hope you enjoy reading them!

Hey readers,

I hope everyone’s weekend was great. This weekend at College Hill was a special one; it was Brown’s Annual Family Weekend! In the past couple of days, the campus was full of excited, confused and overall eager parents and family members of fellow students. The school and its many organizations set up awesome events and seminars for families to learn more about Brown.

I remember waking up on Friday from my weekly afternoon naps (yes, I take naps now. Welcome to college) and looking out to the quad and seeing so many adults. It was strange seeing so many older people on campus because most of the people here are students.

As an international student, Family Weekend was a very peculiar time especially because most of our parents were not able to make it from the other side of the globe. Many of my international friends joined other families for fancy dinners around Providence. It was funny seeing students have “surrogate parents” just for the weekend. The photo above is of my sister and my friend Andrew, who posed as my “proud parents” as we took a photo in front of the Van Wickle gates.

As for me, I was lucky to have my sister, who is a year older, visit me for the weekend. She goes to school in Boston, so it was super convenient for her to come to Brown. I was really excited to see her because it had been almost 2 months since the last time I spent time with another family member. We were able to catch up on a lot of things, shared great stories from school, and spoke about our mutual homesickness for Japanese food.

We also went shopping and explored Providence a bit more, which was also great. We visited the many cool stores and neighborhoods around College Hill and downtown Providence. Although I was meant to be the tour guide, I was discovering so many new places that I was exploring more than guiding (oops). Also, we were able to Skype my mom in Tokyo. It was like having a small virtual family reunion (yay technology!).

It was an awesome experience spending the past few days with my sister. But most importantly, this weekend made me realize how important family is in the grand scheme of things. Although college is a very independent endeavor, Family Weekend made me realize that much of the reason I am here today is because of the family members that continue to support and care for me, even if they are on the other side of the globe. It is important not to forget where you come from, and Family Weekend was a great reminder of that.

If you have any more questions, comments, suggestions of what I should write about or just want to chat, feel free to message me at 


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