An ode to international students

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I’ve never been one to do things half-heartedly. I’ve always been one to live by the motto ‘go big or go home’. However, as an international student, I’ve never had the comfort of being able to choose the latter – home is 9501km away. 

At home, you fit in by being different – united by the fact that everyone’s background and upbringing varies by accent, ethnicity and nationality. However, at university, I stick out like a sore thumb the second I open my mouth for people to hear my Americanized accent (thank you, international school system), a jarring juxtaposition to an English accent. This usually makes for an alienating experience where no one can quite work out where I’m from. 

However, being an international student also has its perks. It has forced me to use the skills I learnt from my unique upbringing to navigate my way through a sea of unfamiliarity. There isn’t a day that goes by where I’m not pushed outside of my comfort zone and I have been so lucky to build connections with people not only from the UK but from different countries, languages and cultures. Whilst it may be challenging at times to be living in a different time zone from loved ones, I have the incredible opportunity to expand my worldview and broaden my horizons.  

Like those in Latin America, international students navigate unfamiliar terrain with a smile on their faces, seeking to find common ground amidst numerous cultures and languages

You’re understandably wondering, what does my experience of being an international student have to do with Latin America? Well, Latin America, with its rich tapestry of cultures, languages, and traditions, is a shining example of the beauty of diversity. From the the serene landscapes of the Andes to the vibrant streets of Rio de Janeiro, Latin America is a melting pot of influences, where indigenous heritage mingles with European influences and African diaspora. As an international student, I find inspiration in the resilience and creativity of the people of Latin America. Despite facing numerous challenges, they continue to celebrate life with passion and joy. Whether it’s through music, dance, art, or cuisine, Latin America offers a myriad of ways to connect with others and embrace the beauty of difference. Like those in Latin America, international students navigate unfamiliar terrain with a smile on their faces, seeking to find common ground amidst numerous cultures and languages.

So, whilst I may stick out like a sore thumb at times, I take comfort in knowing that I am part of something bigger – a global community united by both our similarities and differences. As I finish the next half of my degree as an international student, I am grateful for the chance to grow, learn and connect with people from Durham and beyond. 

In this edition, we shed a spotlight on Latin America. Music explores the music of Daniela Andrade, Food shares traditional Latin American cuisine whilst Film & TV sheds light on Coco and día de los muertos. If that doesn’t take your fancy, Travel explores a year abroad in Colombia whilst Stage delves into Colombian theatre traditions. 

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