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Goucher is made up of many different types of people: jocks, geeks, hipsters, to name a few.
One particular type of student that is overlooked is the international student. Goucher has hosted many different people from around the world, from countries near and far such as England, South Korea, China, and Australia. This semester Goucher is hosting two students from Down Under. Sophomore Kahlia Johnson is studying for her Bachelors of Science in psychology and junior Samantha Jones is studying for her Bachelors of Business, majoring in marketing and public relations.
Both students arrived to campus the same day as everyone else to begin their semester-long Goucher journey. Both girls come from The University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, on the eastern coast of the continent. Unlike at Goucher, where study abroad is required, The Sunshine Coast doesn’t require it of their students. Both, however, had similar reasons for choosing to study abroad.
Kahlia said, “I wanted to be able to experience a different culture. I also wanted to learn psychology from the American point of view.” Like Kahlia, Samantha also wanted to study with a new culture and felt that America could help with that. Samantha said she “wanted to broaden [her] outlook while gaining experience. I had been to America before and wanted a chance to live in here for an extended period of time. I chose America for a number of reasons, a few of which are, I fell in love with America when I was here before, and because you speak English, that helps to make the transition easier.”
In the Admissions office, countless prospective students are asked, “Why Goucher?” Why come to Goucher and spend your semester here? Samantha opened by saying that she chose Goucher because not only did it have a similar area of study for her bachelors, but also that “it was also in a city. There were four main schools that we could have gone to and Goucher looked the most appealing. Finally one of the biggest reasons that I wanted to come to Goucher is that having international experience and classroom lectures looks great on a resume of someone going into business.” Samantha continued on to note that because study abroad wasn’t required for The Sunshine Coast, a student is highly regarded if they have studied in a foreign country.
Kahlia said that from the start she wanted to study here at Goucher and was “not taking no for an answer” when she went to talk to the study abroad advisor in Australia. She also had looked into the schools she could have attended and compared them against location, number of students, and how the campus looked. Goucher was the winner and the rest is history.
In the week that both girls have been here, they have had some passing first impressions about the school, the people, and the classes. Samantha’s response was that she really loves it. “It has been a big culture shock socially and academically.” Both said that even after just one week of classes and being on Goucher’s campus they have noticed the ‘Goucher bubble.’
“Another thing that was a big shock were all the cliques, whereas in Australia, the social lives aren’t divided up by jocks, and nerds but by the commonalities that certain people share.”
Samantha mentioned that, when in the classroom, she didn’t expect to talk as much about the American cultural divides as they have been. One of the best things that she mentioned was that when she got off the plane there was snow on the ground, which she had never seen before.
Kahlia had this to say about her first impressions of America and schooling here: “America has been really warm and welcoming, and it seems like nothing is too much trouble. I felt like I was coming home and this was the right place for me. As for the snow and the weather, I love it, the cold and the winter. While at Goucher it sometimes feels like I need to speak out in order to not be seen as ‘just another member of the crowd.’ Lastly, Kahlia wanted to say that, so far, the experience has been very surreal and that she and Samantha are really looking forward to the rest of the semester.