Studying Across Borders

English: BR-267, an highway in the Brazilian s...
English: BR-267, an highway in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul. This section is located between Bataguassu and Campo Grande.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Study abroad isn’t simply vacation time for Jocelyn Robinson and Luis Luft, two students who embraced the challenge of adjusting to a new culture in addition to taking demanding college classes.

“I find American politics interesting because I feel like it controls Western politics,” said Robinson on her American history and political sciences major. “All news is focused on America here, whereas I feel we hear more [in England] about world politics.”

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An ocean and half a continent separates Robinson from her rainy home in England. Colorado’s lack of rain is an upside for the British foreign exchange student.

“The people are really friendly here. I like the weather in Colorado because it doesn’t rain — It’s nice for a change,” Robinson said.

Robinson is no stranger to travel. She has visited most of Europe, as well as Africa and Turkey. Robinson finds opportunity now to travel with CSU’s lacrosse team, of which she is an active member. The team is extensive in its destinations and competes in places such as Texas, Utah and Santa Barbara.

Luft has been in America for almost two months. Although the weather is much colder than his native home in Brazil, Luft enjoyed snowboarding in Colorado.

The Brazilian foreign exchange student hails from Mato Grosso do Sul, Campo Grande. He is a civil engineering major and will be attending CSU for a year. Despite being far away from home, both students have adjusted well to American culture.

“I have a lot of favorite things [about America]. Things work here, everything is organized,” Luft said.

According to Luft, America is wealthier as a nation in comparison to Brazil. In Brazil, the first language is Portuguese with English as its second language. As a Brazilian student, Luft speaks three languages: Portuguese, English and Spanish.

“We like to hug and kiss,” said Luft when discussing cultural differences. “People are hard to open up [in America].”

As far as comparisons in education, Luft believes that it isn’t easier or harder to study in America, it’s just different.

“The way professors teach is different. Like here, professors tend to be more general about subjects,” Luft said.

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Though Jocelyn Robinson’s home is in Liverpool, her home university is Swansea University in Wales, which is smaller in size than CSU.

“We only have 6,000 students,” Robinson said. “There’s more homework here [at CSU], so I guess time management here is harder. There’s no interaction in Britain.”

Schools in England start to specialize subjects at around age 17 for students. Students cannot go into a British university undeclared, unlike most American schools. As a senior in high school, Robinson’s classes were solely focused on politics, history and English.

Both students have had their fair share of strange experiences while studying here at CSU. For Luis Luft, it was strange watching the Super Bowl, an event that undoubtedly plunged most Coloradoans into years of despair before the game even ended. In Brazil, American football isn’t nearly as important as it is here in Colorado.

For Robinson, she finds it interesting that Americans tend to find foreign accents fascinating.

“People ask me funny questions,” Robinson said. “This girl asked me if my parents spoke English in England. A lot of people also ask if I have an accent and think I’m Australian.”

Collegian Entertainment Reporter Anna Groeling can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com.