Before starting my first semester at Santa Monica College I had to go see an International Student Counselor. She went over my schedule with me, answered any questions I had, made sure I had housing and was doing okay and gave me some tips to make the absolute best out of the experience.
One of her tips was to join the International Student Forum to meet people just like me and make some friends. The Forum started meeting the second week of school and I was honestly a bit anxious about going. I had already made some friends through one of the girls living in the back house of where I was staying and I didn’t know what to expect.
I arrived at the designated room right on time and was astonished to find only standing room. The place was packed! There were students from every conceivable country in that one room. It was simply awesome. I made fast friends that first day, it was easy! We all had one huge thing in common: we were all new to the country and didn’t have family here!
Over the next months I gathered a very tight group of friends. We all helped each other figure life out in a strange place. We went and explored together, we had study groups and gossip hours, parties and club trips. I found roommates by joining the International Student Forum. At one point it was 7 of us in that apartment, representing seven Nations!
As life goes, people come and go. Some students only stayed a semester and went back to their respective countries, new ones arrived. But my core group pretty much stayed the same. We learned a lot from each other, different cultures, food, languages, religions. One of the biggest lessons I think was that we can all co-exist together and be each others support without war and violence.
I gained a handful of lifelong friends that I would not trade for the world out of that interesting student club at Santa Monica College. I am forever grateful to that counselor and the fact that I actually did go to that first club meeting!