Spain, Australia and Egypt. Most Elon students think of these countries as popular study abroad locations for themselves. But what is often overlooked are the 110 international students coming from these countries to Elon. Two international students shared their opinions about life as a foreigner in "the bubble."
Ala Eddine Maaref is a senior from Tunisia, a small country located in Northern Africa.
According to Maaref, the hardest part was leaving his homeland.
"Once I went through the borders," he said, "I was like oh, I'm going. There is no way I'm coming back now, like I'm on the plane."
Maaref said international students have different expectations of Elon than American students.
"Here, American students come here, they know what they are expecting," he said. "For me I didn't know anything. When I came here, when I came to Elon it was my first time in the U.S. I didn't know anything about it. I was here."
Adjusting to college isn't easy, even when the U.S. is home, because of meeting new people in a different setting. Because he is not from the states, Maaref said he definitely struggled socially.
"It was hard at the beginning," he said. "Especially with the language. I wasn't very good with English. Especially speaking. I couldn't really hold a conversation very well."
But Maaref isn't the only international student making the transition to Elon. Sophomore Ana Sofia Adames is from Panama, and she said coming to Elon was a culture shock.
"In panama you always say hi to people, no matter who they are-even if they are strangers, by kissing them on the cheek," Adames said. "So when I came to Elon, I started kissing everyone on the cheek. And they didn't like that very much!"
Elon University's Global Education Center is a home away from home for some international students, and Dean of Global Studies Woody Pelton understands that the transition isn't always an easy one.
"We do try to share with them the expectations of the classroom in the U.S.," Pelton said. "But it's one thing to hear that and it's another thing to do it. So we try to offer them that information but it probably takes some students a while to feel comfortable in doing that, if they are coming from an environment where that is not typical."
Maaref said even though being an international student can be difficult, he doesn't regret it.
"Just give it some time. Get to know people. You'll learn to like it"