The Auburn Family is what makes Auburn what it is today. You always hear people talk about the Auburn Family, but what you may not always hear is what that journey looks like for international students. For many U.S. students, a lot of the journeys look similar.
I grew up an Auburn fan, both of my parents or grandparents graduated from here, it was the only place I applied, I heard about it, visited and fell in love with Auburn, so I decided to make it my home. All of these stories are typical for many students. For others, becoming part of the Auburn family looks completely different.
According to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services, “Each year more than 900 students and 300 scholars from more than 80 nations participate in the Auburn experience.”
For many international students, the first time they step onto Auburn’s campus or even into the United States is for their first day of class. They have to quickly adapt culturally, emotionally, physically and psychologically to a new place.
Auburn seeks to help them become a part of a family that may stand in place of their actual family. Typically coming to college from overseas means leaving all your friends and family to further your education. (Photo/ Lauren Tanner)
Lingling Yang is an international student and fellow member of the Auburn family. Yang is a 32-year-old woman from China. She heard about Auburn and decided to come, although she had never visited Auburn before and knew practically nothing about it. “I came here just to follow my advisor. But I realized it was a big surprise and gift to me,” Yang said. She began pursuing her masters in civil engineering at Auburn in the fall semester of 2014.
Adjusting to the city of Auburn is not very hard. Auburn has a welcoming atmosphere and beautiful campus. “It was so pretty and such a big campus. It still impresses me every day by great landscape, nice and creative people, and Auburn culture,” said Yang. Yang also describes Auburn as a “free and quiet atmosphere good for learning.”
The people of Auburn come in all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and personality types. But they seem to all have one thing in common. They love Auburn. Whether it’s the beauty of the campus, the athletics or the academics, the people that go to Auburn, love Auburn. Yang describes the people of Auburn as very friendly. “They follow rules but are full of creation and energy,” Yang added.
Although the city, campus and students tend to be a welcoming comfort to international students, it still takes a while to make it feel like home and feel like a family. Moving so far from home is easier for some than others. Although Yang describes moving to Auburn as an easy transition, there are many elements she misses from home. The biggest one of these is her family. Yang is married and has a young daughter. Fortunately, her daughter is here with her, but her husband is still working in China. Being separated from her family has been the hardest part about coming to a school from another country.
Whether the transition is easy or more difficult, one thing is for sure, international students experience Auburn in a way that the rest of the students cannot. They take in every aspect and enjoy all Auburn has to offer. Many of them will return to their home country after completing their studies here, so they try to get as much experience as they can. Yang says the best thing about coming to Auburn is “to learn the entirely different things, knowledge, lifestyle, culture, to explore the diversity of the world and meet more amazing people.”
The Auburn Family is very special for anyone that is a part of it. This rings especially true for international students. They feel a part of this new culture they are submerged into and are in need of a family to feel a part of. “I love Auburn, it will be a treasure all through my life,” Yang said.
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