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BG Falcon Media

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April 18, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

International students find community on campus

“Bowling Green gave me the space to actually grow,” said neuroscience senior and international student Sanjhi Gandhi.

The University is home to 1,116 international students according to Sara Smith, assistant director of International Partnerships and Programs. This includes Gandhi, who has studied here for her four years of college.

She was originally born and lived in India, but she also grew up in Nairobi, Kenya. She always wanted to study abroad, but she had to make the decision between the U.S. and Canada. After making the decision for the U.S. option, she chose Bowling Green because of its moderate size. That way, she could showcase herself with more visibility and grow as a person. She said a larger university made her feel like she would be a “nobody,” especially because this was her first time studying abroad.

Gandhi is an ambassador for International Programs and Partnerships, where she represents the international students on campus. She and her fellow ambassadors are voices for international students and an interpersonal resource for them.

She is also the president of the India Students Association. This club meets to celebrate the diversity of Indian culture and keep it alive, according to the OrgSync page. Non-Indian students are welcome, as well. She also participates in World Students Association.

Gandhi loves that she gets to meet a lot of new people. “You get to experience their culture,” she said. “Just, like, what they love doing. I love the new connections I make with everyone. That’s the best part of studying abroad, just learning so much about everything.”

She was also clear about the challenges of studying abroad.

“OK, my least favorite is the food. I feel like it’s literally my biggest challenge. Just because, when you’re at home, your mom is cooking for you. Especially in an Indian household, mom is always there to cook for you. I’m used to eating, Indian food but I had literally no access to that,” Gandhi said.

She experienced culture shock when coming to America. “So when you meet someone, people smile at you, but back home in India and Kenya, it’s not a very common thing. There’s a difference in culture.”

She also said, “There is more independence here, a lot more freedom to do things here than back home, in both the countries.”

India, China, Saudi Arabia and Canada are from where most of the University’s international students hail.

“International students enhance BGSU by creating a diverse learning environment through sharing of their cultures and backgrounds,” Smith said. “In addition to promoting diversity and a greater sense of global knowledge, students are able to learn and practice different languages and think about different perspectives through conversations and relationships developed both in and outside of the classroom.”

The University also arranges the Global Village, a learning community for first year students that are, according to the community’s web page, “American or international in any major or college. The main requirement is a sincere interest in meeting and learning about people from different countries and cultures.”

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