EDLE 6583 Impact of College
December 5, 2009
Student Profile and Reflective Paper
Section I: Student’s Story
My name is FathiyaWaithera. I am from Kenya and living in the United States to study nursing at a community college. I received a scholarship from the Nurses for Africa program which requires me to return to Africa to provide health care after graduation (Dain, 2009). The rules about arriving in the U.S. are very strict. The scholarship advisors provided a list of the documents I would need and what was expected of me on arrival. I had to remember where to report and had to make sure I had my documents with me at all times. When I arrived, I presented my passport, the I-20 form, the I-94 Arrival-Departure form, and a customs declaration form. The officer inspected all my documents and asked me to state the reason I wished to enter the country. I remembered to tell the officer that I plan to be a student andprovided the name of the college and where it is located. After the inspection the officer stamped the I-20 form and the Arrival –Departure form (F/M/J Nonimmigrants). An International Student Services (ISS) staff member from the collegepicked me up at the airport and drove me to the campus. She stayed to help me find my room in the dormitories. After she left, Iunpacked and waited to meet my room mate. She was from Denmark and I supposed we were placed together because she was also an international student. She spoke English and I spoke English but it didn’t seem like the same language to me. We tried to make the best of it, but it was almost impossible to communicate. The weekend before classes began, the dormitory staff held orientation events for the students. There was a cook out, some social activitiesand a band. I couldn’t understand the language, the food was inedible and I was too embarrassed about my English to take part in the activities. I came to the U.S. believing I was very good at English. I made good grades in this subject and was surprised to find that I couldn’t communicate in the U.S. The other students used so many slang words that it took a long time for me to gather a general meaning and then I couldn’t put together a response. By the time classes began, I was tired, scared, and hungry. The classroom was confusing to me. Some students came to class late and interrupted the professor; others were noisy and kept up their conversations after the professor arrived. The professor reviewed a syllabus and spoke at length about academic integrity. I was unable to understand much of what she said. They all spoke so fast, spoke at the same time and used terms I was unfamiliar with. After attending a full day of classes, I returned to my room. I was tired and hungry but the thought of eating something from the cafeteria made me feel sick. The food looked, smelled and tasted horrible. I would have done anything to eat something prepared by my mother. I hadn’t been able to sleep since arriving in the U.S. The dormitory was noisy and although I was used to a lot of people and a lot of noise at home, this was a different type of noise and I couldn’t shut it out. My roommate seemed like a nice person but it was so difficult to communicate that we didn’t really try. I was homesick and lonely. My classes were very hard at first. I wasn’t used to speaking up in class or asking questions. The other students were so casual and seemed disrespectful when addressing the professors. Many of the assignments required me to work in groups. I was embarrassed about my English when I had to ask someone to repeat what they said or explain what they meant. I had to explain how my name is pronounced over and over. Most of the time, the other students were kind and patient with me, but I knew I made the assignment more difficult for the group. Keeping my grades up, learning the course content, and attending class were my...