As you can tell, that means hello in Portuguese. Today I was planning on doing my final segment of college tips since school is starting for pretty much everybody this week. But, I lost the paper with all the tips on it. So that put an end to my college tips I thought. As I was thinking of topics to do my boyfriend asked me if I would be talking about college experience from an international stand point. I hadn’t planned on it since I am not an international person. But I decided to go ahead and do so.
My boyfriend is Angolan, meaning he is from the lovely country of Angola, which is in the western part of Africa. He came to the United States to pursue a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering. It is a program that he and a lot of other Angolans are apart of. So with his help and others, I am going to share tips and things that they feel need to be known.
1. AFRICA IS A CONTINENT NOT A COUNTRY
This is the number one tip for everyone around the world. There are over 50 countries in Africa. Please put forth the effort to learn about the specific country that one is from. Yes they can be considered African, but they are Angolan, or whichever country they happen to reside from. If you do not know their country, ask about it. Look it up to learn more about it.
2. Not all of Africa is a jungle
This is for those people who assume all Africans live the life of Tarzan and live
with wild animals in the forest. Many Angolans that I know have never even seen a wild animal up close until our church took a trip to the St. Louis zoo. I will go on to say that Africa even has cities. Crazy, right. Speaking specifically on Angola, the main capital is Luanda. It is a city and looks like any other city would look. This is a picture of the capital at night-time.
3. Friendships are true
What I mean by that is in Angola, when you call someone your friend you mean it. Making friends here in the United States can be difficult because we tend to be not as friendly and slightly standoffish compared to their culture. But for Angolans, a friend is someone who you say more than hi to or give a sideways glance to as you pass them in the hallway. You engage with them and have real conversations with each other.
4. Explain cultural terms
This tip can also be a big one. I know all around the United States, there are different ways of saying the same thing. For instance you can say someone looks nice in about 10+ ways: cute, beautiful, dapper, fancy, not too shabby, etc. The list could go on, but an international may only understand a few of them. I know I myself say dapper a lot and internationals stare at me like I called them ugly to their face. So explain terms to those who aren’t from your area. It may be common sense to you, but not to those around you.
5. Life can be hard if you are alone
Speaking more towards internationals, beginning a new life in a different country can be difficult. My boyfriend came here with a group of friends, there are tons of Angolans all over the US and Europe, many studying mining engineering. He has friends across the globe to connect with. It is good because he does not have to go through this experience alone, but it does hinder him at times from making American friends when he already has his group of friends set. If you came here alone, don’t be afraid to get involved. Many universities will have events all year round for you to attend. Make friends, it can better your experience and make your time here more enjoyable.
6. Invite internationals to events
Now speaking to Americans, invite internationals to things. There are tons of things to do, but an international person may feel nervous to go to an event where they know absolutely no one. You could use this opportunity to help them around campus, build friendships, and learn about a culture different from your own.
7. Never assume
This goes both ways. Internationals, don’t assume you know what Americans are like based off of some TV show you watched, and Americans vice versa. Some of my international friends notice that Americans can be quick to help but it is not because they are being kind, but simply because they assume that internationals do not know the simplest of things. Contrary to believe, colleges and universities do exist outside the United States people.
8. Wondering if someone is not from the US?
It may feel awkward to assume that someone is international without speaking directly to them. You may feel uncomfortable asking. Easiest way to spot an international? By the way that they dress. If you see a person walking to an 8 am class dressed like this, there is a 100% chance they are not from the United States of America. This is the lovely Dario and he is Angolan. I gave him the American name, Jeffrey. This was a picture from a wedding we all attended, but that isn’t the point. Simply put, internationals dress to impress. Who they are impressing exactly, I still don’t know.
Until Next Time.
Thanks for tuning in once again to my blog, All Things Tiara. Until then, God Bless:)