The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Should I room with an international student?

Why having an international roommate has been one of the most beneficial experiences in my college career
Photo by Madison Moris
My experience with an international roommate has been amazing.

For many first-year college students, including myself, this is the first time we are sharing a room with another person. We no longer have a room to ourselves like at home.

I had started enjoying the idea of having a dorm to myself when my first roommate let me know that she was moving to Chancellor’s Hall for the spring semester. I was not only excited for her to have her own room and nicer amenities but was looking forward to having my own space too.

However, I was notified in early January that I would be assigned to live with an international student for the upcoming semester. While this wasn’t upsetting, it was a bit annoying since I had requested to not room with an international student. 

I only selected this option since I thought I was going to be with the same roommate for both semesters. This is when some nerves started to kick in.

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I had talked extensively with my fall semester roommate Lauren before we both decided to live together. I have heard some roommate horror stories from fellow UW-Eau Claire students, so I was nervous about the upcoming change.

Despite my initial anxieties, I would say having an international roommate is one of the best things that has happened thus far in my college career. 

When I returned to campus for the new semester, it only took a few minutes of conversation to become friends with my new roommate Liza, who is from Ukraine. 

She even gifted me a Ukrainian-made beaded loom bracelet, which is becoming more popular as a form of cultural resistance in Ukraine’s war against Russia. I was excited to learn about her culture and I loved the gift so much. 

That same day, we went to a painting event where my friend Amelia and I met other international students who came to UW-Eau Claire through the same program as Liza. 

We met more of these international students afterward, whom I probably would have never interacted with if it wasn’t for my roommate. It has allowed me to make more friends and be a part of experiences that I might have not found on my own. 

My new living arrangement has, without a doubt, improved my college experience. It allows me to view my everyday college life in a new light, as my international friends do not have the same experiences at their home universities.

I feel a greater appreciation for opportunities to get involved on campus and create more relationships than I did last semester. Through some of the international students, I have also met new people from the United States who will return to Eau Claire in the fall. 

My fall semester was not the best, as there were several things that occurred that were out of my control and I started college with the mindset of transferring as soon as I could. 

I am still not sure where I will end up next year, but I am focusing on living in the present moment and enjoying as many experiences as I can with all of my friends. 

I truly cannot imagine what my spring semester would be like without my new friends I probably would have never had without the international student program assigning Liza to live with me.

Moris can be reached at [email protected].

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