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Breaking Boundaries: An exchange student’s perspective on life in Monmouth

September 12, 2014

I have been in Monmouth for about three weeks and I hate it.

No, I am kidding. Monmouth is absolutely beautiful and everyone is very friendly. Sometimes they’re too friendly; for example, when I am crossing the road people will stop 10 feet away just to let you cross. Back in Africa crossing the road is like a battle: run or die, basically.

I am exaggerating. I don’t want you to think that Africa is uncivilized. It’s amazing the kind of questions that people have asked me regarding Africa. Africa is a continent, by the way, and not a country. It’s not a jungle out there; we do not have lions as pets.

However, I cannot judge because I had some misconceptions about America when I got here. I thought all African Americans looked like Chris Brown… I wish.

The campus is absolutely beautiful and the town in general reminds me of the small towns I have seen in the movies, where it’s always sunny and everyone is smiling. The wooden houses are also very attractive; they’re much better than the clinical brick houses in Africa.

The food is also very interesting; the portion sizes in America are ridiculous. No one should eat that much food. This is just a theory but I am positive that Americans were created with bigger stomachs. It is the only way I can explain how they can eat so much food in one serving. I miss home cooked meals. Meals made with love and flavour. Sorry cafeteria staff. It’s not personal.

I went to Starbucks for the first time and although I thoroughly enjoyed it, I had glorified it so much in my mind and it was a bit of a let-down because coffee is the same everywhere. Dairy Queen, on the other hand, exceeded my expectations. I had a blizzard and it was heavenly. I am being biased because I have a sweet tooth.

It’s funny because when I went to Dairy Queen, one of the girls working there told me that she liked my accent, which is something I have heard a lot since I have been here. I told her I was from Kenya and she proceeded to tell me about some relative she had that used to live there. Every time I tell someone where I am from they always feel compelled to tell about a relative that used to live in Kenya or a holiday they have had there. I guess it’s a way to relate to me.

I am extremely grateful to be here though. I love the opportunity I have to learn about a new culture and about new ways of doing things. It’s a privilege to be here and even have the opportunity to share my views and opinions. It’s tough for international students because of the pressure to conform to the “American way” of doing things. But I am proud of being African and that will never change.

Cynthia Kamurigi
Contributing Writer

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