Touring Wayne State College through the eyes of an international student

Kathryn Vlaanderen, News Editor

As a child, after watching how the United States of America was portrayed, Quirina Nicholaas, a Wayne State College junior, knew she wanted to come to the United States of America for a better opportunity at a higher education. 

“I was in search of the American Dream, not necessarily [the] nuclear family American Dream, but better than what I would have been able to accomplish back home,” she said.   

Nicholaas comes from Curacao, an island situated between Africa and the United States. Like many international students, Nicholaas said that in Curacao, there is a heavy, cultural importance to respect your elders, even when they might be wrong.  

“I guess I didn’t expect the divide between younger people and older people,” she said, “… there is that all over the world, but over here it is much more prominent, because there is kind of a hatred towards generations”  

During her first day of living in Wayne, Nicholaas found the opportunity of seeing snow, different than the warm climate of Curacao. According to an article titled, “Curacao’s Weather, Forecasts and Climate,” published on, “Curacao has a warm, sunny climate year-round… the average temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius (mid 80s Fahrenheit.”  

“[Some of the] experiences that I got that first day was an international student showing me around where she could because the academic buildings were closed,” Nicholaas said.  

 Like many students who come to the U.S; Nicholaas said that it was hard to be able to make friends with American students, during the first, few months.

“At first it was really hard to find friends,” Nicholaas said.I didn’t have any American friends, [and] now I have like one.”  

  Similar to American students, international students, do not have the same experiences or find the same things shocking when coming to college for the first time, in the U.S.  In contrast to Nicholaas, Imani Lamla, a WSC freshman from South Africa, a country located at the southernmost tip of Africa, said that her experiences at WSC have been good so far. 

“It has been a good experience so far… I think it is because I have good people around me,” Lamla said. “…People who want to see me thrive here and there are a lot of South Africans around, so it feels like I never left home.” 

Lamla said that one of the noticeable differences between South Africa and the U.S is how American students are open to share their entire life stories with any individual that they meet.  

“Back home, people are friendly,” Lamla said, “but [here] people are very open and very quick. We [in South Africa] share things a bit later… it’s not, ‘Tell me your family story’ on the first meeting.”   

However, despite the differences between Lamla and Nicholaas’ experiences, it’s the smallest things that happen day by day that make the biggest differences to an international student such as walking down the Street in Wayne NE. or paying for things at the grocery store.  For example, one of the celebrations from Lamla’s culture, is called a “Braai” which is a South African comparison to an American barbecue.  

According to an article titled, “Why Study in the USA? 5 Reasons and Benefits Make USA the Best” published on a study abroad counseling website called “International Education Specialists,” studying in the U.S, provides a lot of reasons why it is better to study in the United States such as a great support system to international students, a flexible education system, and most importantly, an element of cultural diversity.  

Like Lamla and Nicholaas; many students who have traveled to WSC come from countries such as Curacao, the Netherlands or South Africa; making the campus a melting pot for diversity for future wildcats worldwide 

The process of these future wildcats is quite similar to any American student that decides to study at WSC. However, the differences come in the form of documents that are needed for travel.   

“International students need to submit a handwritten essay, official transcripts, a copy of their passport, proof of English language proficiency and a financial form showing the ability to pay,.” Amy Gade, WSC Director of Admissions, said.   

Once the future wildcat’s paperwork has been approved, they are invited to a virtual new student registration to sign up for their semester classes and plan transportation to WSC for their first semester as a new Wildcat.