Networking workshop for international students

Purdue CCO will host a workshop for international students who want a career in the U.S. Topics that will be discussed are, for example, how to develop contacts and grow your network.

The workshop will take place tomorrow 6 p.m. in Stewart 314. Can’t make it? Don’t worry, I will be live tweeting at the event. Follow me on in order to take part of the live tweet.

I hope to see you at the event or on my Twitter.



Preview: “Greek life” event for international undergraduates

There are things about the college life that Americans take for granted. They don’t reflect over them or wonder why they’re there. You may or may not like them, but they are still a natural part of campus. In many countries, they don’t even exist. What am I talking about? Sororities and fraternities.

When international students come to America, they might not know about the “Greek life” on campus. Or if they do, it’s possible they don’t have a full understanding of it. International Programs want to change that. Together with Student Activities and Organizations and Fraternity, Sorority and Cooperative Life, they will host an event for international undergraduate students.

  • What? International Fraternal Connection.
  • Who? For international undergraduate students.
  • When? March 2, 4:30 p.m.
  • Where? University Hall, room 217.
  • How? Register in advance.

At the event, sorority and fraternity student leaders will talk about the traditions and service of the “Greek life”. There will also be a free dinner. From the event, there will be transportation provided to visit a local sorority or fraternity. The spots for this event are limited, so make sure to register.

Take the opportunity to learn about a very American tradition.

Chi Omega is one of the sororities on campus.


How to approach Americans


My sister, who studied in the U.S. for a year, gave me a false picture of Americans. She said strangers come up and talk to you for no reason because they are nice and open-minded. So when I first came to Purdue, I expected random people to start conversations with me, and in that way become friends. That didn’t quite happen.

I think many of us international students want to make Americans friends, but we are not always sure how to do it. Waiting for them to take the first step is obviously not the right way, at least in my case. So I took the matter in my own hands and asked a few American Purdue students how to approach them.

All of them said they’d love for international students to approach them. Matthew Jordan from Los Angeles thinks the best way to initially get to know Americans is to have a casual conversation with them, and when things get more comfortable, you can do activities together.

“People need to focus on stepping outside of their comfort zones and going into a conversation with an open mind and a willingness to learn more about a person and their culture,” Matthew said.


Yohana Beraki from Indianapolis said she really likes talking to international students. She prefers that they take the first step because that shows her that they are interested in learning from others. She said she likes when people have the courage to just come up and talk to her, and that basically every American would be happy to have a conversation with an international student.

Gavin Fritz from Fort Wayne agrees with Yohana; it’s nice when international students approach them because it means that they have a wish to understand the American culture. He said he has classes with international students, so the best way to approach him is to talk to him after class.

Both Matthew and Yohana think Americans and international students have a mutual fear of approaching each other – a fear due to language barriers or cultural differences. Both sides want to interact, but both sides wait for the other to take the first step.

Personally, I think it’s less scary to approach other international students than Americans. I guess that’s because we’re in the same boat; we all know what it feels like to be away from our home country, and we sort of find comfort in each other.

But now, knowing that the Americans are as scared as we are, I will try to approach them more. That should go for the Americans, as well. We wouldn’t think you’re weird for coming up and talking to us – it would make our day.

Spotlight: Jennifer and France

Purdue is one of the most diverse universities in the U.S. Thousands of  international students come to Purdue to start a new life. What makes them want to come here? What are their Purdue experiences like? We will find out in “Spotlight”, where we focus on different international students and their home countries.

Jennifer Pouplin, an aerospace engineering graduate student, left her home in France last fall to become a Boilermaker. She chose Purdue because it’s the best university for aerospace engineering in propulsion and astrodynamics.

In the beginning, it was hard to adapt to the American school system. In France, Jennifer didn’t have any homework, only exams and projects. Her advice to other European students in order to adapt easier is to not worry too much about the academic part – the great education system in Europe has prepared you well for the classes at Purdue.

If you would have any concerns about your academic performance, Jennifer thinks the opportunity to get help from TA’s and teachers is amazing. That kind of resource doesn’t really exist in France to that extent.


Regarding the American culture itself, Jennifer didn’t have any problems adapting. But there are some aspects of it that are very different from France. For example, she thinks roads and cars here are really big.

“And why do you want so much ice in your drinking water, even in the winter?” she said laughing.

The best thing about Purdue, according to Jennifer, is the college and sport spirit. But that doesn’t stop her from missing home sometimes. What she misses the most is food: cheese from Italy, meat from Spain, chocolate from Switzerland – the list goes on.

Jennifer said international students, especially exchange students who spend limited time at Purdue, should enjoy their time here because it goes by very fast. Find friends and go on trips during the weekends, for example, to Chicago or Indianapolis. She also suggests to get involved in clubs and sports to make the most of your Purdue experience.

“For people that are here for more than one semester, get a sports pass for the whole season – so worth it!” Jennifer said.

Purdue has 27 different programs in France; some of them are exchange programs for one or two semesters, or over the summer. Many of the programs don’t require any previous French classes, but a few do. Do you want to spend the summer or fall studying in France? For the most programs, apply before March 1.

Strasbourg is one of the cities in France you can go to on exchange. Source.

Career benefits of study abroad


About 1.5 percent of American undergraduate students study abroad. That is a surprisingly low number, given you hear all the time that studying abroad benefits you in different ways: you develop as a person, you make friends from other countries, you get to see the world and so on.

One of the most important things of studying abroad is the career benefits. I found an article that said people who study abroad have a higher likelihood of being employed after graduation. The reasons are probably many, but here are some of them that the article provided:

1. Stand out. A study abroad experience sets you apart from other job candidates. If you don’t have the opportunity to go during the semester because of various obligations, you could take a shorter study abroad course over the summer.

2. International experience. You expand your cultural awareness and understanding of the world, and this gives you new skills within your field. Be able to articulate what these skills are and how they make you employable. Your international experience also makes you learn to work with people from different countries, which is important in the global job market.

3. Communication skills. Not only do you improve your communication skills by talking with people from other countries, but you might also learn a new language. I don’t know any job where you don’t need to be able to communicate well.

4. “Soft skills”. These are, for example, confidence and adaptability. The soft skills are gained simply by spending time in another country for an amount of time. Being able to adapt is a quality many employers value, and you learn how to adapt by experiencing another culture.

5. Problem-solving. Employers look for people who can solve problems, and this is a skill you learn when you face challenges and have to take care of yourself in another country. You start from scratch when you go abroad, and this usually means you have to solve problems.

It’s nice to see that studying abroad is beneficial in other ways than just the personal gains. When I applied to Purdue, I didn’t think about how that could affect my future. But knowing how it benefits you when you’re applying for job, and how to articulate these new skills, can make you land a job.


Fun facts about Purdue students


During my time at Purdue, I’ve come to notice a few patterns about Purdue students. I acknowledge these patterns because they take me by surprise; I haven’t seen them in Sweden to this extent, so I guess they are part of the cultural clash I experience in the U.S. Let’s refer to these patterns as “fun facts”.

You might agree that a few of them are indeed something you haven’t seen so much outside of Purdue, but some of them might not be as chocking for you as they are to me. Here we go, here are my fun facts about Purdue students:

1. Resistant to cold – Purdue students seem to be resistant to cold. It doesn’t matter what season or temperature, every day you see people wearing shorts. Why? Do they care more about fashion than comfort? I come from a cold country where comfort is high priority, so I’m not ready to take on this Purdue tradition.

2. Backpack lovers – Along with the shorts trend comes the love for backpacks. Everyone has one. Imagine how left out I feel walking around with my messenger bag. The love for backpacks is something I’m willing to take on; I hear they are good for your back.

3. Guys like dancing – I can’t say this applies to every man on Purdue campus, but in general, guys here like dancing a lot more than in Sweden. In the salsa club at Purdue, there are more men than women, which is a nice surprise to me. Some say guys only join to meet girls, but I don’t care what the reason is. Keep up the good work, guys.

4. Drivers rather hit you than stop for you – OK, this might not be a fun fact, it’s actually quite sad. Drivers are supposed to stop for people on the crosswalk, but instead, they step on the accelerator. I’m glad I didn’t learn this lesson the hard way…

5. Polite – Despite the fact that they want to kill you on the crosswalk, at the end of the day, Purdue students are polite. They open doors for you and say “excuse me” when they bump into you. That would never happen in Sweden, where people tend to not acknowledge strangers.

My fun facts show both ups and downs with Purdue students. We might want to work on dressing warm when it’s freezing, and obeying the law of stopping for pedestrians on crosswalks, but Purdue students are awesome. What patterns have you noticed in Purdue students?



Now on Pinterest

I hope you’re doing great this cloudy but warm Wednesday. Check out my new Pinterest board. There you will find tips and insights about being an international student.

Thank you for following my blog so far. Later this week I will post fun facts about Purdue students. You don’t want to miss that.

My bucket list for you

The other day, my roomie and I were writing a bucket list. As seniors, we want to make the most of our last semester at Purdue. As we searched the Internet for things to put on our list, I realized that I’ve already done many of the things people suggest a Purdue student to do before they graduate. So I’m going to share my favorite moments at Purdue so far for you to put on your bucket list.

1. Tailgate. Before every home game of football, there is a big tailgate on Slayter Hill. It is the best combination – a lot of food and a lot of friends. I remember sitting in the sun eating Italian beef, just observing my friends when they were talking and laughing. I was so happy.

Denmark, Sweden (me), America, Chile and Germany represented at tailgate.

2. Road trip. Don’t stay on campus during the breaks; go on a road trip! My roomie’s family invited me to their home over Thanksgiving. We visited Turkey Run State Park, which is a beautiful place 1.5 hours from Purdue.

Turkey Run State Park.

3. Sports. Purdue has a lot of sports that give you plenty of opportunities to go cheer for the Boilermakers. Sure, you have to go to a football and/or a basketball game, but don’t forget the sports that are not as big, like wrestling and swimming. It’s a lot of fun!

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Purdue wrestling takes on Ohio State.

4. Learn something new. Purdue has almost 1,000 student organizations. Instead of going with the interests you’ve always had, why not try something new? I joined the salsa club because I wanted to learn how to dance with a partner, and I meet a lot of international students there.

Time for salsa dance!

5. Explore the CoRec. This gym is like a playground – there are so many fun things to do! Bring some friends and play volleyball or badminton, go rock-climbing, or just relax in one of the swimming pools. Fit and fun at the same time!

Reaching for the top in the gym.

I hope this gave you a couple of new ideas you could put on your Purdue bucket list. Check this out for more inspiration. Do you have other ideas that go on the bucket list? I’d love to hear about them. Please, leave your comments!

Our beautiful accents


Do you have one of those friends who constantly makes fun of your accent? I do. Although I know it comes from the heart, it can be frustrating to always be identified with your origin. Despite that, I think accents are charming; they bring variation and richness to the world.

I found an article that said people’s accents have an impact on how others respond to them, how they are perceived and treated. Some receive positive responses due to their accents, and some, unfortunately, negative.

It’s sad that some people get discriminated because of their accents. I agree with the article that there should be an effort to reduce this kind of discrimination, like discrimination based on, for example, gender and race. If you are a Purdue student and experience negative responses due to your accent, I suggest you turn to PUSH’s support group for international students that deals with issues like that.

According to the article, people often assume that the reason why individuals have an accent is lack of intelligence. That is absurd; speaking several languages is – to me – a sign of intelligence, not a lack of it! So I choose to believe the more scientifically proved reason the article provides, which is that it’s simply difficult to get rid of the tone and intonation of your first language.

I think we should embrace our accents. The world would be boring if everyone was and talked the same.