By Harry Pearse
“I’ve seen Chinese, Japanese, English, Welsh, Indian, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Spanish, Italian and a student from Australia. This shows the diversification of students at Post, allowing a multi-cultured vibe and atmosphere anywhere you go on campus.” Sound familiar? Well this was actually from my first column I wrote for The Pioneer and not only do these different nationalities bring a diversification of languages, but they also bring multiple cultures.
We international students aren’t just a pain in the bum, a nuisance with language barriers (which I spoke about last week), and people who dress funky. No! We actually bring different philosophies, crazy beliefs and courageous ideas, which Americans may not have experienced or known about. In fact, it’s not only Americans who may not have been exposed to these overseas ideologies or notions; it’s the international students as well. I have been amazed at the ways of living and everything that goes with a person who has lived in a place you’ve never been before. This is what I wanted to explore this week.
As I explained last week, discovering different ‘lingos’ and words from different people of many origins has been fascinating so far, but this week I am going to go more into what cultural benefits have migrated with the internationals, and what has already been imbedded with the American culture. For example, my good friend Dusan Gargurevich, a senior soccer player from Quito, Ecuador, took me to a pizza restaurant in Glen Cove during my second week of being in the might county of Nassau. This meant that I hadn’t yet tried this Yankee adopted delicacy—pizza. I went in as a boy and returned a man, who loved every part of his 20 minutes in there… I have never been the same since. And, I have my Ecuadoran friend to thank for this.
Being exposed to these vast numbers of different cultures and beliefs at LIU, to me, is not a burden in the slightest. I am lucky enough to be part of an amazing and courageous group of lads that is the LIU Post men’s soccer team, with a huge number of different nationalities. I have been able to witness many different cultural experiences, which I could never have imagined unless I made that huge step over the ‘pond’. There are some interesting parts of playing on a team where there are two Welshman…Tom Bowen, a graduate student, and Jason Lampkin, a freshman student (who, by the way, I mentioned last week). Their banter is incredibly weak, and to me it can be embarrassing. No. I am just joking. If I didn’t have these guys, whom could I fall back to on a day-to-day basis?
The men’s soccer team, renowned for their stunning looks, fantastic soccer ability, and their Scandinavians. Since I have been here, the Norwegian, Swedish and, I guess, Icelandic (but if you asked the Scando’s they wouldn’t say Iceland is part of their region in Europe!) have been great at teaching me a few of their ways, some of their dialogue and their music, which at first I was reluctant to hear.
A few of the boys took me to a concert in the city not too long ago to see a DJ called Kygo. As you would guess, I wasn’t at the time terribly interested in going, but I went anyway, with an open mind. We got into the venue and there was a resident DJ playing. I thought, “Hey…this isn’t too bad.” As the night went on, they began to announce the arrival of Kygo… he started to play and I was ecstatic; the music was incredible, I completely loved it (and I must admit I did cut a few shapes!). Ever since that day, I haven’t stopped listening to it, and if I am going to be totally honest, I will tell my friends back in England about this guy and claim I found, “a great DJ, from Norway!!!”
Another delicacy these well-dressed, well-mannered and well-groomed Scandinavian gentlemen have introduced to me is the ‘Marabou, Mjolk Choklad,’ which to all English-speaking people is known as milk chocolate. Alfred Lindberg, a junior International Business major and my house mate, showed me this chocolate, and as soon as I tried it, I was instantly hooked. I have bought it every week I have been here, and if I run out of it, I completely panic! If you want to try this phenomenal Swedish heaven, you can get it at Ikea (p.s. I would definitely suggest it!)
So, the reason that I have shared these great stories of my experiences with different cultures is to show you guys how I have embraced every moment and every type of culture this school and this journey has to offer. Make sure you get to grips with how other international students, as well as how these wacky Americans, live. You will become a better, more well-rounded and multi-cultured person!