The arrival of new international students may be something commonplace for many, but only few know the cultural and social difficulties those encounter when coming to the United States.
Jonathan Krolis, a senior studying pre-medicine at Missouri Southern, came to the campus from Curacao in the fall 2015.
“The process itself was usual, a lot of documentation and testing but without creating any particular stress,” he said.
Krolis said he grew up in a warm, culturally diverse family, without being financially well off.
From his younger age, he learned to rely on himself and depend on no one, which allowed him to overcome complications more easily when he arrived in the states.
Krolis said he always dreamed of living in the United States as a child. He wanted to experience the “American dream.”
Krolis said he was surprised, to learn after his arrival, several lessons in discrimination.
He said his accent caused him a countless amount of problems which lead him to experience racist comments.
“Several people asked me why I have a white accent if I am black,” he recalled. “Some of them even shouted to me that I should go back to my country.”
At times, Krolis said, the discrimination he experienced was non verbal, and based upon others attitudes.
Several people refused to greet him, or ignored him because of his differences.
“Only a minority take their time to have an interest in other countries and cultures, which is disappointing,” Krolis said.
Despite this social discomfort, he said he appreciates those who helped him during the integration.
“I’m more aware of nice actions now,” he said, adding he joined clubs like Southern Ambassadors, International Club and the Biology Club to help him forge a place of his own within Southern’s culture.