International student reflects on his time at CSUSB

International student Jounghun Kim experiences great culture shock as he moves from South Korea and into the states.

International student Jounghun Kim experiences great culture shock as he moves from South Korea and into the states.

By Jounghun Kim |Staff Writer|

I came to CSUSB from Seoul, South Korea.  on Jan. 8, 2012. It was my first day in the United States and I have been attending classes here as an international student for about a year.

While I have been living here, I experienced that the U.S. has so many more different cultures than Korea. I can point out several other things that are different.

First, I must throw away my trash all at once in America. In Korea, we have to separate the garbage, cans, bottles, papers etc. into separate bins. However, the most wonderful thing that I miss is the food crusher. It is so convenient to use.

Here you have the “to go box.”

In Korea, people usually do not pack their leftovers. It was little bit awkward when the server asked me whether or not I needed a box, but it has become natural to me now.

I can rarely find a drive thru restaurant in Korea, but I can buy hamburgers here at the drive thru in my friend’s car.

One time I was craving a hamburger late at night. My friends and I got on our bicycle and we headed to Carl’s Jr. They did not take our order because we were not in a vehicle.

However, we did not want to give up, so we went to Taco Bell and they took our order and gave us our burritos on our bicycles.

Last, I think most Americans are more open minded.

When I walk on campus or on the street, people always say hi to me or nod their head.

When I first came to America, I was walking on the campus, and then someone said hi to me. I was so embarrassed and I asked him, “Do you know me?”

I felt pretty bad afterwards. I had no idea about the American culture at that time.

The hardest part of living in America is using English.

I can understand most conversations, but it is still difficult to express what I’m thinking, especially on the phone. It is hard to understand and communicate back.

I miss my parents and friends. I always call them. It is sad that I cannot see them often.

I use to always meet up with my friends and go to the bar, but I’m still underage here in America. In Korea, you can drink at 19. Since there are no buses at midnight, it is tough to go to a bar with my friends.

In Korea, I can go outside late at night and most of the stores and restaurants are still open, but not here.

Most of them are closed after 10 p.m. and there’s no one outside late at night.

On the contrary to this, in Korea, there are many people meeting their friends late at night.

Usually, people are dancing in the club, drinking at the bar until the sun rises.

At first, it was a little hard to adapt to the American culture, but now I have made some friends in America that help me get through everyday life and now I have no problems with living here.


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