By: James Lamb
International student travels to U.S. to experience global ‘American Dream’
Name: Anum Amin
Hometown: Peshawar, Pakistan
Home University: National College of Arts (Pakistan)
Year Level: Senior
Q: What made you want to come to the USA to study?
A: In my country we’ve [heard] a lot about America, we see it in all the movies and all the shows. People talk about it a lot because of our relations with America. So I thought, rather than confining myself to a pre-described description of how America is, I should see it for my own self, see how it really is. At home, America is described as very [ideal]. The American Dream is not just the American Dream. It’s a global dream that everybody wants to achieve. I have relatives here, and even when I hear them talk, they say [America’s] like the perfect place to live in because everything’s so organized and so perfect.
Q: Is American college life like what you expected? How does it live up to/differ from expectation?
A: It’s not exactly how I expected. [What I expected] was what I saw in movies, and they always pick out the most fun and interesting part where everything is always happening. It is kind of the same but a little bit mellowed down. There’s a lot of homework that I get that I don’t get back at home. The workload is a lot compared to what it is back at home.
Q: What is a typical day like back home? How does it differ from a day here?
A: I live at the dorms back at home, and we have a warden. She’s a senior person who lives at the dorms with you, and she makes sure that nobody’s doing anything that’s not allowed or whatever. She is my alarm clock. Because I’m a senior, she knows me really well, and she knows what time I’m supposed to get up. So starting from 7 o’clock to 10 o’clock, every hour, she’d go around the corridors and tell people to get up and not skip their classes. When I hear her, that’s how [my day] starts. We have like an automobile rickshaw, it’s like a very cheap form of a taxi. It’s pretty chaotic; it’s pretty open. I have to grab one of those to get to college, and there’s usually like a traffic jam on the way because of my timing. So, I get that, I get to college, and then I take my classes, and then the day ends. After that, I grab another rickshaw, and I come back to the dorms. I have to fight for my food because our dining system is not that organized, and then we play some games. We usually don’t have that much homework, so I’m free for the whole day and can go back and hang out with friends or go to sleep. Whereas over here, you get up nice and easy, you take the bus to your class, you’re done with class, you take the bus back to Mrs E’s, you get your food, whatever you want, then you come back to the dorms. I’d say that [in America], things are more subtle. If I consider ‘a day in the life,’ things are well-managed, and everything is on-time. People are going on about their way the way they’re supposed to, whereas at home, things are much more chaotic, nothing is ever on time, and you have to fight to get to whatever you want.