The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

UWL international students talk: “I am dedicated to what my purpose here is.”

Manoj Khadka. Photo taken by Hephzibah Ohihoin.

The student body of the University of La-Crosse consists of students from 36 states and 30 countries. The Racquet Press interviewed various students who attend UWL who are not from the United States to hear about their experiences.

“I love the community of UWL, I love how friendly everyone is and I love how UWL lecturers especially are very amicable and welcoming as well,” said Joseph Louis, a first-year, transfer student from Malaysia. 

Louis transferred from his previous college in Malaysia to UWL due to the university’s good reputation. As a biomedical science major, he was attracted to the school because of the Prairie Springs Science Center which was constructed in 2017, and the reputable science lecturers that the college boasted about, particularly in biology and chemistry. 

Computer science major Manoj Khadka who is from Nepal also gave a similar reason for his choice to go to UWL. While searching for colleges that were good for computer science majors, he discovered UWL. 

“It’s a pretty good school and it’s also cheap,” said Khadka. “One thing that really impressed me is that the professors will discuss about the exam or quizzes the day before we have the exam so that we can have an idea.”

Something that surprised Louis about the UWL student body was how independent they were. “It’s a very independent culture, students want to get out there into the world and make their own experiences,” said Louis. “Back home students very much were family-oriented, they preferred to stay with them [family] and go to school locally. I’m trying to observe the best of both worlds.” 

Regarding his feelings towards the education he was receiving, Khadka said, “It’s pretty easy here. Professors are generally very heartwarming and welcoming and they really care about you if you care about your studies.” 

Louis said, “Back home your lecturers act more as teachers whereas in the U.S. you do have to be proactive; you have to come and see your lecturers during office hours, you have to take the trouble to go to the tutoring center as well so you have to be a lot more independent and take a lot more initiative.” 

He continued, “In spite of what I’ve said that you have to be more proactive, the lecturers are very welcoming they take huge amounts of time out of their day to see you, to just work with you on certain difficulties that you have.” 

Louis’s advice to prospective new students was to avoid isolating themselves. “Nothing is more detrimental to your mental and your physical health when you don’t socialize with your lecturers, with your friends, with the campus staff and anyone because it’s only through them that you can form meaningful relationships,” said Louis. 

Khadka expressed his gratitude for being able to study at UWL and said that he had mentally prepared himself for his time here before coming. “I am dedicated to what my purpose here is, I came from Nepal all the way just to study here so I’ll be doing everything just to make sure that I am studying better,” he said.

Khadka continued, “My parents back home, they work hard and they care about me and I don’t want to be doing anything that makes them feel sad. I just want to make sure that I’m doing everything that makes them happy and also myself.” 

Hiroki Nakashima, who is a foreign exchange student from Asia Pacific University in Japan said that not only has he had more chances to speak English but he has also been able to explore other cultures while at UWL. 

“I have more chances to communicate about our culture and experience their culture as well. They’ll ask about the common rumors in that country and ask if it’s true or not,” said Nakashima. “I feel that the education here is more active than in my country. I feel like I am participating in the lectures and I have more chances to talk to others.”

Nakashima said that studying in English has been his biggest challenge while here, but said that UWL professors had been of great help. He said, “If I told them I am an exchange student and this is my first time studying in English they’ll be really kind and say ‘Oh feel free to come to my office’ or ‘I’ll respond to anything if you tell me’.”

Josefine Pazdecki who is from Denmark shared a similar sentiment regarding her struggles with studying in English, but explained that she had a much-varied response from her professors. 

“I was kinda surprised that some of my professors will allow me to use a dictionary for exams and others just really won’t,” said Pazdecki. “They kinda expect me to be on the same level language-wise as the people coming from America and I get that but I feel like some of my exams the questions that I have gotten wrong is because I don’t understand one or two words in the sentence and I was surprised that that would be an issue for some of the teachers.”

When asked about her thoughts on the education she was receiving here Pazdecki said, “I feel like I’m spending so much time doing homework assignments and I feel like a lot of the homework and assignments that I have doesn’t really contribute to my learning.” 

She continued, “I’m not doing the assignments or homework wholeheartedly, I’m not putting as much time and effort in it as the professors want me to, and even though I’m not putting in a lot of work I still get pretty good grades which in my head makes it okay that I’m not really working that hard. I’m used to working really hard and really intense and here it’s just like ‘Oh I’ll just write a few words about this’.”

Nakashima discussed an interesting observation that he made about the UWL student body regarding diversity. 

“When I go to Whitney I see that every race is sitting together,” said Nakashima. “For example I am Asian and I am always eating with Asian people/friends and white students are eating with white students and Hmong people are eating with Hmong people, I just rarely see other races getting together and doing something.” 

A shared criticism made by all the international students interviewed was the quality and variety of food they had access to on campus. 

Khadka said, “I knew the food wasn’t going to be the same as I used to eat back home. For example the burgers and the tenders, it’s not our main course, they kinda feel like snacks.” He added, “We gotta be eating snacks all the time. It’s hard to adapt to something that you don’t eat often.”

“The healthier options aren’t appealing,” said Pazdecki. “Then you go to the salad bar and it’s the same thing every day, every lunch, every dinner.”

“Whitney provides American-style food,” said Nakashima. “They say they are providing the homestyle food and they also say that they are really putting focus on the international students but in the respect of food I don’t think that they’re putting that much power on that.”

With an exception to the food, Nakashima says that UWL is the best place to sophisticate yourself because they provide a high level of education and also a good environment. 

He said, “Wherever you go they teach the same thing but when you go to a higher level the people around you are also higher level so you can be really competitive and you will have more chances to improve yourself. I think it’s the best place to improve yourself.”

Khadka said, “It can be challenging to figure out our passions but pursuing something we genuinely enjoy and feel confident about makes a real difference.” He continued, “One thing I will always remember is that worrying wouldn’t make things any better. Follow your goals and be thankful for whatever you have.”

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About the Contributor
Hephzibah Ohihoin
Hephzibah Ohihoin, General Assignment Reporter
Year at UWL:  First PGPs: She/Her Hometown: Sabongida-Ora, Edo State, Nigeria. Major: English Minor: Legal Studies and Creative Writing Other Campus Involvement: Xi Alpha Ministry, Cru, ALANA, Pre-Law Organization and BSU Future Plans after Graduation: Law School Favorite activity in La Crosse: Playing badminton and pickleball
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