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Jocelyn Hsu / Spoon

What Studying Abroad at Scranton Feels Like

Hello, my name is Catalina, but you can call me Cata. I’m from Bogota, Colombia and I’m 20 years old. As of this semester, I’m an exchange student at the University of Scranton. The first thing I get asked after introducing myself is “Why did you come here?”


I find this question really interesting; it seems as if everyone who asks me thinks that Scranton isn’t a place interesting enough to come to. Yet, that’s where they’re wrong. I came here looking for the opportunity to merge myself in the American college experience. Also, I could have gone to Miami or San Francisco, but as a girl coming from a big city like Bogota, I was really interested in knowing what living in a small city would feel like, where (almost) everything is within a walking distance. To be fair, I have only been here for a month, so maybe at the end of the semester I will give you a final thoughts article.


I would like to begin with the people. Everyone around here is very amicable and polite; they are very attentive to whatever you need. The first time I met my roommates, besides telling me how excited they were to meet me, they made sure that I was comfortable and offered help if I ever had an issue. 


Furthermore, I thought it was very special at how after you meet people, they begin to include you in their activities that give you the push to meet other people and make other friends. Also, as a foreigner, people gather an interest to get to know you better, at least ask where you’re from, and after realizing you’re from far away they make you know that you’re very welcome in this new community. I would like to make an honorable mention to the international students whom I have met, and have been a great support system that lets me know I am not alone in this new experience.


Moving on to campus life, and the university as a whole I’m very impressed at how everyday there is always something to do. Just this Valentine’s day, there was an arts and crafts activity, along with making cake pops and tasting chocolate, sponsored by one of the university’s clubs. In addition, there was a snow tubing trip organized by USPB, that gave me and many other people the opportunity to try a new activity for the very first time. The way the university encourages student involvement is very surprising. If you’re good at anything, I’m sure the university has something for you.


I would also like to make a positive mention to the university academics, I’m a psychology major and came to take some psychology classes and I am very pleased to see the quality of the classes and the professors that the university has. For example, this semester for the first time I saw an electroencephalography cap and tried it on, something that wouldn’t have happened back home. I am very happy to see that I’ve come to the right place to expand my knowledge and take it back home.


Finally, it would be the turn for me to talk about the city, but I don’t think I have seen enough of it to give my thoughts about it. However, I feel that the first time I went out and about around the city which is until downtown, because I scared I would get lost, I was pleasantly surprised at how the architecture looked so classical and how everything is so peaceful and simple around here. I look forward to explore it in more depth and hopefully travel to the famous surrounding cities like New York, Philadelphia and maybe Boston. 

From Bogota, Colombia with love.
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