If you're a Caribbean student studying in the U.S. you already know that it is not an easy road (pun intended). As if CXC, CAPE, CSEC and applying for a student visa wasn't brutal enough, students still have to face the following struggles in the U.S.
1. While Americans complain about arriving an hour early for domestic flights, for Internationals it’s three hours. This does not include the time it takes to deal with customs, rearrange your luggage that is overweight, and then recover from jet lag the days after.
2. Mentally converting everything including currency, temperature, time, spelling and the side of the street you drive on.
3. Anytime you complain about having to adjust there's always that American that reminds you that you are in America now and “corrects” you for using the wrong system. Our bad for using the system that 99.999999999 percent of the world uses (statistics not verified).
4. Scavenging for food that slightly resembles your Sunday home cooked meals and the snacks you bought at the shops down the street. Not even down to KFC or even the fruits in America are the same.
5. So, eventually, you realize you have to resort to hiding food in your luggage in order to get a taste of back home.
* By now I think it’s time we start sending off care packages/barrels up to college students in the U.S.
6. Hunt for friends that do not continually offend or annoy you.
Offensive and annoying statements include:
Wow, you speak English sooo well!
I can speak Jamaican!
Do you live in a hut?
Do you have internet?
Where is your accent?
How are you Jamaican but you look Chinese?
How are you Guyanese but you look Indian?
How are you Caribbean but you are so white?
Teach me how to whine please?
7. Whats App becomes your most sacred app.
8. Being carded to drink the less potent version of drinks you've been sipping on for years. Or worse, not being able to drink it because of the difference in drinking ages.
9. Realizing how drastically different the parties are. That’s where you realize what it means to "not be able to hold your liquor." Then you try to to convince people that whining isn't as hard as it looks and that the DJ should incorporate more Caribbean music. Which he then plays the same outdated, played out songs.
10. When you finally return back home you realize you aren't up to date on the latest gossip, politics and music.
11. And you get comments from grandparents saying you're too thin, you need to eat more, and yet your aunt says you're fat and blames the American food. Let's not forget the cousins asking if you get rich and "turn big woman/man now." Or the fact that everyone wants to know if you found a husband/wife yet.
12. And remember when you had to mentally transition to think like Americans? Well it shows in your accent and now everyone back home is mocking you for how "American" you sound.
13. Hey, at least you still got to go back home and enjoy the beach.
14. Unless you didn't have the time or the money to go back home.
15. In those instances, there's always a relative in New York or Florida you can stay with during the breaks.
16. Or group up with internationals from other countries (who are usually STEM majors) and discuss third world country problems, student visa paperwork, OPT, fear of deportation, traveling everywhere with your passport because you don't have a state id, and the occasional bashing of Americans.
17. And the jokes about marrying someone for a Green Card get a bit more serious the closer you get to graduation.
18. Lastly, getting excited when articles like these discuss Caribbean issues, so you share it for laughter and so others can understand the true struggles of a Caribbean International student.