International Student Adjusts to Eastern

Jinseong Kim is an international student at Eastern New Mexico University from South Korea. He decided to attend ENMU after talking with some friends who attended two years prior. The Chase photo: Zack Santos

Starting school at Eastern New Mexico University can be a nervous, new and exciting time, but for our international students, it can be a completely different ball of wax.

For Jinseong Kim, an international student in his junior year from Seoul, South Korea, school in the States is “Pretty much completely different.” Kim sticks to a regular schedule to keep a sense of normalcy to help adjust to coming to a university so different from what he is used to in Seoul. Kim starts every morning at 7 a.m. by eating breakfast, either in his home at San Juan Village or in the dining hall at the Campus Union Building. After the most important meal of the day, Kim checks his syllabus for class, then begins his classes at either 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. every day. Kim is a business major and hopes to begin a career working for a bank. Kim has even applied for an internship in Korea to continue his experience after this semester. “I was always busy in Seoul, so things are more relaxed here because I am only taking twelve credit hours,” said Kim. Kim continues his schedule by going to the gym three days a week on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. “I always go to the gym because all the food here is perfect to gain weight, so that’s why I try maintain my weight,” he said. “I work out for two hours every day, then go home and rest or maybe take a nap, then time for dinner,” said Kim. He spends his free time doing homework with friends he’s met from organizations he’s joined, or other international students.

Coming from not only a different school but also a vastly different country and adjusting to a new culture was in itself a major task. “My schedule in Seoul was always busy so I would have to eat lunch quickly to get to the next class,” he said. “Here, we spend a lot of time sitting and talking between classes.” Coming to a new university located in what some would consider a rural community also brought some new challenges as well. “In Seoul I can go anywhere I want just by walking or taking the subway, but here everything is spread out,” he said. “I have to get rides from friends if I want to buy groceries for me to cook for myself.”

The biggest difference according to Kim was the classroom dynamic here at Eastern. “It might be an Asian thing, but all the students are always extremely polite to the professor, so we don’t ask questions or question them if we think they are wrong, but like here, students and professors are more open minded to hearing opinions.”

Kim began his thoughts of education at Eastern after talking to some students at his school that had already been to ENMU two years ago as international students. They explained to him the affordability and overall community that ENMU had to offer. Kim maintains weekly contact with his parents and loved ones back home via video chat, but plans on making the most of his experience while he is a Greyhound. “If I didn’t join organizations or meet other international friends, I would just stay in my apartment every day,” he said. “But luckily, I made friends so that makes my time here good.”

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