Over the course of last semester, I created a Digital Story as part of my role as the Global Ambassador for the Trinity in Barcelona and Trinity in Cape Town study abroad programs. Through this experience, I was also fortunate enough to learn about the experiences of my peers who had also had transformative experiences in the respective cities and countries that they had spent time living and studying in. Simultaneously, as part of my International Studies Senior Seminar, I wrote a paper that was focused on the makings and unmakings of identity. What I realised as I curated both of these projects, was the profound impact that choosing to attend university in a country that was not my own, the United States, had undeniably had on the person I have become over the last four years, and how it will undoubtedly shape my life for years to come.

This encouraged me to think holistically about not only my experiences, but those of my international peers. As a biracial woman from London, my experience in America has probably been influenced by the identities I present. Race has played a huge role, however, I am aware of the privilege I hold in English being my native language, and many of the cultural signifiers, which, even if I do not identify with, I am at least easily able to understand as Western. As my time as an undergraduate student draws to a close, I would therefore like to document the experiences of international students here at Trinity. Drawing from the positive, the negative, the exciting and the overwhelming, I would like to present a podcast that provides an insight into what it is like to be an international student in a small liberal arts college on the East Coast of the United States. 

Recording the main audio of the podcast, the interview with Hamna, was something I really enjoyed. The nature of the topics we discussed were at some points difficult, bringing up uncomfortable memories of being First Years and recognising that the difficulties I had faced were reminiscent of part of the story of what it means to be an international student. It also exposed the separation between perceptions and realities of what we thought our experiences would be. I couldn’t help but feel naive. However, this demonstrated to me the power of solidarity, realising that, whilst we international students come from many different places and backgrounds, the experiences that we all share are very much unifying and that there was support to be found within one another. Furthermore, working with Hamna was also a welcome reminder of the resilience of what it means to be an international student; I was inspired by Hamna and the experience felt very cyclical in wrapping up my time at Trinity.

This podcast I hope will serve as an honest insight, one that may give a prospective international student more of an idea of what it is like to attend university in the United States. 

This projected is associated with the course: INTS 399

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