Adjusting to the United States: Six years later

Adjusting to the United States: Six years later


Eric Karita | Contributing Writer

Home, a four letter word with a lot of meaning. Where is home for you? Is it the place where you lived before moving to college? Is college now your home? Or have you not considered a specific place? For me, home will always be Rwanda, where all my loved ones are. Even though the transition was tough at first, I have been here six years, and I have learned that wherever I am, I will make the most of my experience.

I came to the United States as a young high school student. It seemed to be a really great place, and I felt that I had a great opportunity for new experiences and a better education. The education system here is much better than it is at home, and I feel that I have reaped the schooling provided for me here. Life here isn’t always easy. I have definitely overcome many hardships, but I have learned to keep my head up and complete what I came here to accomplish.

It wasn’t always fun and games, the transition at first was very tough. The weather here is much different in Iowa than it is in Rwanda, and at first, I hated the cold. Now that I have been here six years, I still don’t like it, but it has become more manageable because I have gotten all the attire and know how to keep warm. Also, another thing that is much different is the food here. Our food is Rwanda is much tastier. Everything else seems to have been fine or at least gotten better in the last six years.

For me, going home to Rwanda is always hard. It is a completely different experience because when I am gone, things are still rapidly changing. The first time I went home was about a year ago. It is very expensive to make the trip and the transitioning when finally arriving back is also pretty tough. Instead of being home on holidays, as many people are able to do, I stay here on campus or go visit friends and family in the United States. During the summer, I also stay on campus and am fortunate to work here. It is tough to see others enjoying their loved ones, but I know that someday I will get to experience it again. It really makes me appreciate the little things in life, which I won’t take for granted when going back home.

Since being in the United States, I have become very grateful for the little opportunities and leadership roles I have gotten to have. Being a Residential Advisor is one of the biggest roles because I get to help out my fellow students while promoting safety and leadership through the resident’s halls.

Even though this still isn’t home, I do plan on staying in the United States after graduation, but I do plan on moving back to Rwanda in the future. I feel that the United States is a great place but still not where my heart is. Graduate school is my main focus after graduation from Buena Vista. I am very glad I made the decision to come here because it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I got to learn about all the diversity and many different cultures I would have never experienced at home. My overall advice to everyone is to just keep involved the whole time you’re at Buena Vista because there is so much to experience in such a short amount of time, just embrace and enjoy everything.