By | Ahmed Al-Sakkaf
* Ahmed Al-Sakkaf works as front desk student assistant for the Center for International Programs
The Center for International Programs hosted a farewell party on Saturday for international exchange students who are going back to their home countries. They are leaving with unforgettable memories they’ve made here at Humboldt State.
Sonja Willigerode is a German exchange student studying Business. During her semester at HSU, Willigerode took a sustainability-focused business class.
In Germany, Willigerode studied economic theory which was “just about money and trade,” she said.
At Humboldt she learned how to apply that same theory in an environmental context.
“I studied economic theory in Germany and it was just about money and trade,” Willigerode said. “But here you learn how you can apply it to environmental context.”
This is Willigerode’s last semester of study and she chose to spend it abroad here in HSU.
“It was the best semester in my whole studies,” she said. “I’m so thankful that I can be here and stayed this semester.”
Linus Kaminski is another exchange student from Germany. He’s majoring in Water Resources Management. Kaminski loves Humboldt and thinks it’s beautiful.
“I like the area here. It’s so beautiful. The ocean the forest it’s beautiful,” he said. “There aren’t many places where I can see deer and raccoons on just my way walking from my dorm to the library.”
Kaminski celebrated Thanksgiving for the first time this year. He celebrated it with the family of one of his American friends. He also played American football for the first time.
“This year it was my first Thanksgiving and it was really cool, I really like it,” he said. “There was so much to eat. I also played football it was my first time playing American football and it was so much fun.”
Ruby Saint a bilateral exchange student from Australia. Students in the bilateral exchange program pay their tuition fees at their home university and study abroad at another university. Saint grew up in Tasmania and previously studied at the University of Tasmania in Hobart. This year she also celebrated Thanksgiving for the first time. She and her friends had a Friendsgiving celebration.
“That was interesting , we had like a Friendsgiving,” she said. “It was interesting to kinda experience Thanksgiving.”
Saint thinks Humboldt is “kinda quirky and interesting,” she said. Saint arrived to the U.S. few days before the beginning of the fall semester. She flew to San Francisco and took the Greyhound bus to Arcata. She was shocked by the smell of weed in the bus.
“I was like shit where am I,” she said. “Marijuana back home is a big no-no. If the police smell it on you’re done.”
Here in Humboldt Saint discovered her love for Pumpkin pie.
“Pumpkin pie, I need to take back and make a thing there.”
Yasmina Umarkhanova an exchange student from Kazakhstan studying Psychology. When she first arrived in the U.S. at the beginning of the fall semester, she was amazed by the redwood trees.
“I was really amazed by the redwood forest,” she said. “I really like the fact that I’m living in a forest.”
Umarkhanova is going back to Kazakhstan in two weeks. She going to miss the redwoods the most.
“I’m going to miss the forest,” she said. “When I’m walking and looking around, it’s meditation every day.”
As Umarkhanova reflects on her semester abroad experience at HSU. She thinks it’s the best “chapter” of her life.
“Humboldt for all international students was one chapter of our lives,” she said. “For me, this chapter of my life is the best.”