Pet Peeves of an International Student

Being an international student can be hard. You have the usual nonsense of long flights, leaving home, studying abroad, visas and other frustrating documents. But let’s be honest – you have been prepared for all this (somewhat). What you haven’t been prepared for, however, are the smaller (but nonetheless important) things: American lingo, no metric system, weird spellings. And believe me, these can all be a lot harder to handle.

This post catalogues some of my experiences as an international student that you might (or might not) relate to. Either way, I hope you’ll be left amused.

1. (Not so) fun CS projects.

My state of mind, courtesy of CS15.

Before coming to Brown, I though taking a CS course might be fun. I was wrong. CS15 did not involve fun. It involved struggles. It involved long TA lines. It involved relocating from my dorm to the CIT. One particular assignment, namely Litebrite, involved a fair amount of frustration. I remember how for the longest time, my code for this project simply refused to compile. I spent ages – hours, days – (it felt like years) – trying to figure out what I had done wrong. Frustration levels peaked when I realised my ‘error’ was spelling “colour” with a “u”, when it had been spelt without a ‘u’ in the support code.

Side note: CS15 was dropped soon after. (On the bright side, I did earn practically 10 hours of my time back. Per day.)

Worries of the past.

2. Awkward Conversations Ft. American Lingo:

i) Scenes at Best-Buy:

Me: “Hi, I’m looking for a torch.”

Salesman:“A what?”

Me: “A torch.”


Salesman: “Sorry?”

*exchange continues for a good 30 seconds*

Salesman: “Ohhh, you mean a flashlight…”

What Best-Buy salesman thinks I want vs. what I actually want.

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