Some students travel further than others for an education at Texas State. Many Bobcats are only a short drive away from their hometowns, but some crossed borders, oceans and language barriers in order to have the college experiences they always dreamed of in the United States.
The Texan way of life can be a culture shock to many international students. For Thibault Gehin, a 22-year-old finance junior from Mellecey, France, the Lone Star State was overwhelming after only a week in San Marcos because “everything is so big.”
Gehin said every time he goes to campus, it is like a workout. He has been in the U.S.for two years, and was a student at Collin College in Plano before attending Texas State.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to go away and experience the world,” Gehin said. “I feel like I am accomplishing my dream. Coming to the U.S. changed my life. I am so proud to be a student at Texas State University.”
Some of the things Gehin found odd about America were the large cars and students wearing pajama pants on campus. He also said the people are friendly and open to making new friends.
Like Gehin, Edith DeLeon, who is from Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico, was also taken aback by some things at Texas State. DeLeon, a 24-year-old material sciences graduate student, said she was surprised she was the only female in a class of about 10 to 12 students.
“In Mexico, it is about half and half,” DeLeon said. “Research is more for women than men because most of the boys in Mexico finish their bachelor’s degree and find jobs.”
When DeLeon applied to Texas State for her Ph.D., she never imagined the university would be the way it is. She also described the landscape of the university as big, beautiful and very clean.
DeLeon said there are many opportunities offered at Texas State and the chance to meet people who are experts in her field and exchange information and techniques is one of her dreams. Soon, DeLeon will be a doctoral graduate assistant at Texas State and will be able to teach her own lab.
Becoming accustomed to American cuisine was difficult for Arda Onkol, a 19-year-old industrial engineering junior and San Saba Hall resident assistant.
Onkol said he found it surprising that dining hall soft drinks were unlimited. It was also hard for Onkol to get used to American food, because everything is greasy and fried, which is not typical of Turkish fare. After coming to the country, Onkol said he has gained almost 10 pounds.
Onkol first came to the U.S. in 2009 from Ankara, Turkey for his junior year of high school as an exchange student. Onkol said his first time in the the United States was difficult, especially in high school, because everyone knew each other and had a lot of memories together.
“Despite these things, I feel like this is home,” Onkol said. “There is a lot of hospitality on and off campus. San Marcos is a pretty city first of all, but Texas State makes it even prettier.”