The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Foreign students leave frustrations home for new start

By Sunita Sanjyal/reporter

The U.S. is a hub for thousands of students from all over the world.

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, some 671,616 international students attended U.S. institutions during the 2008-09 academic year, an increase of almost 8 percent from a year earlier.

During the 2010-11 year, TCC enrolled 940 international students.

When foreign students come to this country, they bring their culture and traditions with them.

Bipul Pandey, an international student from Nepal, said he came to the U.S. in hopes of peace and safety that he couldn’t find in his homeland because of ongoing political turmoil. 

“The feeling of frustration that I went through back home because of everlasting violence and a degrading educational system was too much to handle,” he said. “It seemed as if I was degenerating both in terms of emotional and intellectual aspects. That was the sole reason for me to head to a safer refuge, the States, where I could build myself.”

Pandey, who studies physics and mathematics on NE, said he finds the faculty and students friendly and “exceptionally” helpful, which makes him feel at home.

International student Sulemann Saleem came to the U.S. with the goal of becoming a chemical engineer. He plans to return home to Pakistan once he finishes his degree. Photo by Georgia Phillips/The Collegian
International student Sulemann Saleem came to the U.S. with the goal of becoming a chemical engineer. He plans to return home to Pakistan once he finishes his degree. Photo by Georgia Phillips/The Collegian

“I was afraid I had to start from scratch when I got enrolled,” he said. “I have a sound basis for my majors from the rigorous high school education back home. It would have been too much to give [up] all that.”

But faculty recognized his abilities and promoted him to higher courses solely on the basis of his merits.

Sulemaan Saleem, also an international student from Pakistan, has been studying on NE for the past year.

“I came to the United States three years ago,” he said. “I was fed up with the conventional teaching methods back in Pakistan. All that I learned in my younger days were to draw the figures of experiments and write chemical reactions. Soon, I realized that this wasn’t going to get me anywhere near becoming a chemical engineer, let alone a good one.”

But when he landed in this country and started going to school, he said the culture shock he received was enormous. Everything was different for him.

“My fellow classmates made fun of my accent,” he said. “And I was stereotyped just because I am a Muslim and I came from Pakistan.”

But he isn’t disheartened with any of these comments and stereotypes.

“I came here for a better education,” he said.

“Once I finish my degree, I will go back to my country and serve there.”

Alafi Onyango said her parents had to sell portions of their land and livestock in Kenya just to send her to a good school in the U.S.

“America is way different than Kenya. I grew up in a society where the fulfillment of basic needs was considered a privilege,” she said.

“America always was the land of dreams for people like me, a place where everyone gets a fair shot to compete for what they truly deserved.”

Onyango has not felt discriminated against.

“Meritocracy is the best thing about America,” she said. “People seldom care about my origin and my past. I can be myself here and be proud of it.”

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