CCI participants share impressions of the USA

The United States is home to millions of international students attending a variety of schools, at various levels, and pursuing various courses through specific scholarship programs. Kirkwood Community College is one such school, hosting international students on a scholarship basis. The Community College Initiative Program (CCI) is one such scholarship program international students can participate in. 

This year, 11 students from various parts of the world, ranging from Africa to Asia to the Caribbean, were admitted into Kirkwood for the spring semester. These students arrived in in January, when winter was bitterly cold and the ground was covered in snow. Coming from other countries with different climates and social lifestyles, these 11 international students had a very unique perspective of the United States and were amazed when reality hit them.  

Some of them offered to share their impression of the USA when they first arrived in their native languages and in English.  

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Name – Diana Pedroza 

Country – Colombia 

Language – Spanish & English 

Major – Information Technology 

Mi nombre es Diana Pedroza, soy de Colombia, hago parte del programa Community College Initiative y esta es mi primera vez en los Estados Unidos. Cuando salí del aeropuerto de Cedar Rapids mi primera impresión fue el clima, ya había leído en internet que estos meses son fríos, pero no me esperaba sentirlo tanto, estaba congelada. Estando aquí este par de semanas he podido apreciar que los estadounidenses son muy amigables, amables y acomedidos, he conocido muchas personas geniales. Hace unos días tuve la oportunidad de ir a un juego de baloncesto con mi familia mentora y noté que aquí las personas se toman los deportes muy en serio y eso es genial. Estoy muy feliz de estar aquí en este país, estoy emocionada de experimentar el invierno y estoy muy agradecida de estudiar en Kirkwood Community College, es increible. 

My name is Diana Pedroza. I am from Colombia. I am part of the Community College Initiative program and this is my first time in the United States. When I arrived at the Cedar Rapids airport, my first impression was the weather. I had already read on the internet that these months are cold but I did not expect to feel it so much. I was freezing. Being here these couple of weeks, I have been able to appreciate that Americans are very friendly, kind, and helpful. I have met many great people. I had the opportunity to go to a basketball game with my mentor family and I noticed that people here take sports very seriously and that is so great. I am very happy to be here in this country. I am excited to experience winter and I am very grateful to study at Kirkwood Community College. It is incredible. 

Student Name – Muthi Syahidah Arifuddin 

Country – Indonesia 

Language – Bahasar-Indonesia 

Major – Journalism 

Hai nama saya Muthi Syahidah Arifuddin dari Indonesia. Ketika saya pertama kali tiba di USA Kesan pertama saya setelah tiba di USA, rasanya seperti mimpi. Karena saya pernah berangan-angan waktu sekolah di SMA bahwa Negara yang pertama kali yang ingin saya kunjungi adalah Amerika.  Saya sangat senang, terutama saat saya tiba di The New York City. Hal yang paling mengejutkan saya adalah cuaca dingin; rasanya sangat menusuk sampai tembus ke tulang dalam karena saya tidak terbiasa. Saya juga terkejut bagaimana orang Amerika berbicara begitu cepat berbeda dengan cara kami berbicara di negara saya. Saya juga melihat bahwa mereka tidak sungkan untuk menolong, sangat ramah walaupun tidak mengenal satu sama lain sangat ramah dengan mengucapkan “Hi, Hallo, I appreciate it”. Kata-kata sederhana itu yang bisa membuat sayaterkagum-kagum melihat negara adikuasa ini. 

Hi my name is Muthi  Syahidah  Arifuddin from Indonesia. When I first arrived in the USA, my first impression, it seemed like a dream. Because I had dreamt of travelling abroad since high school, I was excited, especially when I got to New York City. The thing that surprised me the most was the cold weather; it was piercing me to the brim since I was not used to it. I was also surprised at how Americans spoke so fast and articulate; I also saw that they did not hesitate to help, they were very friendly even though they did not know each other, they were very friendly by saying “Hi, Hello, How are you?, sorry, thank you, I appreciate it.” Those simple words can make me amazed to see this superpower. 

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Student Name – Yakubu Hamdiatu 

Country – Ghana 

Language – Dagbani 

Major – Journalism 

N yuli Yakubu Hamdiatu, ka n yi Ghana na, Africa wulin Puhli. Nida paana USA n suhu daa palgi ya pam, di babahandi JFK alaplane yigna din be New York la. Binshagkam da nyela bela di ko ka che n ya dini. Dadam belma, saha, bendirgu ni di biehagu.N daa binign maamachi pam, dama n karim yela pam zan kpa silimtigna poi katina nkana gno oma. Amma, maasim maa ndaa gba dabeim. Di daa gmanla fringi puuni ka be zagn ma nign, n nign gbena daa bi to gi ndeeli. Acee maa daa che ka lu’gli kam pela, din ndaali palgi nsuhu ka che ka nyu ti’gn g’no. 

Hi, I am Yakubu Hamdiatu from Ghana, West Africa. When I first arrived in the USA, I was amazed by the JFK airport in New York. Everything was different from my country, the people, the weather, food and atmosphere. I was not really surprised because I had watched, heard and learned a lot about the U.S. My only surprise was the weather, it was beyond my imagination, my body could not stand it. But the snow made me love it because everywhere looked white and felt pure. 

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Student Name – Esther Okie 

Country- Côte d’Ivoire. 

Language- French 

Major- Project Management 

La première chose qui a attiré mon attention quand je suis arrivée à Cedar Rapids était la météo. J’avais fait des recherches sur les différentes saisons mais il fait très froid ici et je n’imaginais pas cela. En effet, la météo est complètement différente de celle de mon pays mais cela m’a permis de connaitre une nouvelle saison et de m’y adapter. Ensuite, j’ai fait la connaissance des personnes accueillantes, gentilles, aimables. J’ai aussi rencontré une famille merveilleuse avec laquelle j’apprends beaucoup de choses telle que la culture américaine

The first thing that caught my eye when I arrived at Cedar Rapids was the weather. I had researched the different seasons but it was very cold which I had not imagined. Indeed, the weather is completely different from that of my country but it allowed me to experience a new season and to adapt to it. Then, I met welcoming, kind, gentle people. I also met a wonderful family with whom I learn many things such as American culture. 

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Student Name – Nonkukoleku Mkhize 

Country – South Africa, KwaZulu Natal Province. 

Language – IsiZulu 

Major – Agriculture 

Mhlazane ngiqala ukuthatha uhambo oluza la eMelika ngangi novalo , ngoba angikaze ngiphume ngivakashele amanye amazed ,kodwa kwathi mhlazane ngehla e Detroit ngazizwa ngijabule ukuthi ngilandela amaphupho Ami futhi azofezeka , ngase ngazitshela ukuthi angivumele isimo ngamukele konke ukuze ngizosheshe ngijwayele impilo yakuleli lizwe. 

When I first came to America, I was so nervous because I had never travelled outside my country, so it was a big deal for me. But when I first landed at Detroit, everything was so exciting and amusing. The best part of it all was the fact that I have arrived, and I am following my dreams. So, I thought to myself to go with the flow and enjoy being here and adapt with everything around me. 

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Student Name – Jessica Satchet 

Country – Côte d’Ivoire 

Language – French 

Major – Graphic Design 

Bonjour, je m’appelle Jessica Satchet, j’ai 22 ans, je viens de Côte d’Ivoire. La première fois que nous avons atterri aux USA, j’avais envie de libérer un souhait que je tenais depuis un bon moment. J’avais bon espoir de parler anglais avec les gens. Puis j’ai vu Kirkwood le collège que j’allais fréquenter, mes yeux étaient pétillants, car je sais que j’aurai une super expérience bas et ça se passe déjà. 

Hi, my name is Jessica Satchet, I am 22 years old, I come from Ivory Coast. The first time I landed to the USA, it felt like releasing a wish I was holding since a good time. I was hopeful about speaking English with people. Then I saw Kirkwood College, which I will attend. My eyes were sparkling because I know I will have a great experience there and it is already happening! 

Student Name – Sithsaba Vincent, Majangaza 

Country – South Africa- Eastern Cape. 

Language – IsiXhosa. 

Major – Agriculture 

Iingcinga zam zokuqala xa ndandigxidika kwisikhululo seenqwelo moya eChicago, ndazixelela ukuba eli lilizwe lezinana omntakabani kuba ndibuka ububhanyabhanya nobukhazikhazi besikhululo seenqwelo moya kunye nezitalato zelo laseChicago. Kodwa ndithe ndaku galeleka eIOWA state Cedar Rapids ndibona iqabaka yonke lonto yabonakala isthintsha kwambatsha kwaye lona, wonke umntu kulendawo ubonakala white kwaye ekhathalele iindaba zakhe. 

When I landed in Chicago, my first impression was that this is a country for rich people only by looking at the flamboyant airport and the streets of Chicago. Then when I moved to the state of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, I saw snow. Then that impression I had changed a little bit, the state was full of snow and it was shady and dry everyone was minding his business. 

Images courtesy of Diana Pedroza, Muthi Arifudden, Yakubu Hamdiatu, Esther Okie, Nonkukoleku Mkhize, Jessica Satchet and Sithsaba Vincent, Majangaza

Categories: Feature