CSU international students discuss homesickness and the college experience

Haleigh McGill

Global Village in Parmelee Hall is the on-campus home to many of Colorado State University’s international students. The Collegian sat down with three international students living there who opened up about homesickness, culture shock and adjusting to American life.

From left to right: Diego Velez Lebrun, Rachel Edmunds, Frank Axt.  (Photo credit: Haleigh McGill)
From left to right: Diego Velez Lebrun, Rachel Edmunds, Frank Axt.
(Photo credit: Haleigh McGill)

Rachel Edmunds, originally from Wales, is a junior studying American studies for one academic year at CSU. Frank Axt, from southern Holland, is a freshman business major who plans to study at CSU to complete his degree. Diego Velez Lebrun, from Columbia, is also a freshman studying business for four years at CSU.

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How often do you get homesick?

Edmunds: “I don’t get homesick too frequently. On occasion it hits me pretty hard. I prefer life here, but (I get homesick) for certain people.”
Axt: “It really depends. The first two months I didn’t feel homesick at all, then two of my best friends’ birthdays passed and I knew they were having fun without me.”

What do you miss the most about home?

Lebrun: “At home I live in a bubble … there’s always someone that can help me .. I don’t need to worry about anything. I miss the food from home – the healthy food. I’m not used to eating this kind of food so frequently.”
Edmunds: “I miss the closeness with my family, and the food. I really miss British food.”

What do you struggle with the most here at CSU and living in Fort Collins?

Lebrun: “Sometimes (domestic) students don’t mix well with international students. A lot of people are living in their comfort zone – they haven’t gotten out of it.”
Edmunds: “The amount of work that I’ve had since I’ve been here is a lot different from my university at home. The work load there is more manageable … I’ve learned a lot but it’s a bit too much.”
Axt: “I have to do everything myself. At home I didn’t have to maintain my visa, get an apartment, pay rent, pay my phone bill. I didn’t have to get vaccinations for a gazillion diseases that like only two or three people in America have.”

How often do you talk to your parents?
Lebrun: “Every day … when I have time, I FaceTime them. Sometimes it is annoying because my mom doesn’t get that I’m starting a new life here and sometimes it’s hard to stop for 20 minutes to talk to (your parents) because you’re doing your thing.”
Axt: “I think I text my parents probably every other day.”

What did you do for Thanksgiving break, and are you sad you weren’t able to go home?
Lebrun: “I went to my friend’s house with some other international students. I don’t understand the meaning of Thanksgiving, but I respect the culture. I’m not sad I didn’t go home, I like that this experience is challenging me. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”
Edmunds: “I went to St. Louis to visit family friends. I’m not sad I didn’t get to go home, I was excited to have Thanksgiving and participate in an American holiday.”
Axt: “I drove down to Colorado Springs to spend Thanksgiving with one of my friends. I was kind of sad seeing everyone post on Facebook about going home. I wish my family lived in America, but I was having fun. It was all good.”

What is going home for winter break going to be like?
Lebrun: “It will be good to go home this winter, but I’m starting to get used to it here. I cannot be thinking about missing home all the time, I need to get used to this culture. My mind needs to be here.”
Edmunds: “I’m very excited to go home and see my family and my boyfriend and my friends. I know it will be tough to come back here but I need a month at home to recuperate for next semester.”
Axt: “I’m excited to go home and see my family again, but I can’t think about that all the time because it will drive me crazy. It’s like going on a vacation because [Fort Collins] is my home right now.”

Are you going to be sad when your year/four years is over?
Lebrun: “If I make good friends here, then probably yes because once we get out of here everyone will separate from each other.”
Edmunds: “Yes, I will be sad. I’m having a wonderful time and I’ve waited for this opportunity since I was young.”
Axt: “I think I’ll be sad when it’s over, even though I’ll probably stay here. I already made friends who I’ll miss terribly.”

Collegian Reporter Haleigh McGill can be reached at news@collegian.com, or on Twitter @HaleighMcGill.

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