From Albania to Zimbabwe: Why It’s Great to be International

Hi! My name is Nitya Sudarshan from Mumbai, India. I will be writing about what Brown is like as an international student, and my many experiences that helped me make Brown my home really far away from home.

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There are many reasons why people are scared to be ‘international students’ at any college. Having a different accent, speaking English slightly differently, using different vocabulary, having different academic backgrounds. There are so many reasons why being labelled as ‘international’ doesn’t matter because Brown is accepting enough as a community to make the integration seamless. There are so many times when I can’t believe how much pressure I put on the idea of being international and being ‘different.’ But this time, I want to talk about how being international is actually a good thing, and highlighting those differences can actually help you seem more a part of the student community.

The first reason is that people are genuinely interested in the place that you come from. When you come from a different country, and when home is so far away from Brown, there’s a lot of ideas that other students associate with the country that you come from, and they want to know if those notions are true or not. I have made so many friends at Brown simply because they were interested in knowing about India, in knowing whether all Indian food was actually spicy, in knowing how Hindu religion works and in knowing what it’s like to live in such a densely populated country. I have made friends because when people hear me speak and notice my accent, they are interested in knowing how I was taught English. They want to know how I heard about Brown from across the world. They want to know about what it’s like to live so far away from home, and how I was strong enough to choose a college that was so far away from my family.

Brown prides itself on it’s international community because it makes the college so diverse. With students from different places comes a whole new perspective and a whole new set of experiences associated with Brown, and a whole new takeaway from Brown when one graduates. Talking to students from other countries and learning about their homes and how their country has influenced their lives has been a big part of my experience at Brown. So, while sometimes you may feel like not being ‘international’ and trying to fit in, it can be that ‘international’ aspect of you that helps you fit in.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me at nitya_sudarshan@brown.edu

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