International students adjust to America


Rubi Gallegos

Edwin Yemoh comes from Ghana. The super sophomore plans to major in engineer once he gets a four year university.

Being a new student can feel stressful and cause anxiety being in a completely new place surrounded by new people, new classes, new everything. But now imagine being in a completely different country.

Seward County Community College has several international students attending and they each have unique reasons for being here and unique opportunities ahead of them. These international students had to adjust to American culture, the American education system, and to a new environment entirely all while attending class and trying to receive an education.

“I didn’t have a hard time adjusting to America except for the awkward interactions with people,” Patrick Blanc said.

Blanc is from Haiti and is a recent graduate from SCCC and currently comes to the school library to take classes online at Fort Hays State University.

“In my country people are more social compared to here, even strangers,” Blanc said.

Different cultures have different standards for social greetings and kindness. European students say when they come to America they find American students to be extra friendly. However, Blanc says when he came to America he found the people to be actually less social than in his country, Haiti.

SCCC’s International Map: More than 20 countries are represented on the SCCC campus. Hover over the map to see what countries current students call home. (interactive map created by Michelle Mattich)


Haiti has two socio-economic classes, the rich and the poor with no in-between. Haiti is a beautiful country that has suffered natural disaster and government corruption. Blanc says there are both beautiful places and ugly places in Haiti but most focus on the ugly because that is where help is needed.

“I found out about Seward through a missionary who visited the school I was working at. Originally I was working at a school and studying school administration, but that is not what I wanted for my life,” Blanc said. “Getting a degree in America is a great opportunity, so I came to SCCC to study accounting.”

Blanc grew up in the lower class in Haiti but said he could afford food and school unlike some of his peers.

“My favorite part about America when I came here was the weather, Haiti is so humid and I don’t mind the cold here,” Blanc said laughing. “My least favorite part about America was the food because things are more processed here,” Blanc said.

Blanc is married to his wife, Patience. He plans to finish his bachelor’s degree and stay in America.

Rubi Gallegos
Patrick Blanc is from Haiti. He graduated from SCCC last year but uses the campus library to take classes with Fort Hays. Whenever, there is some free time Blanc enjoys reading reality books. Blanc said, “I don’t like fantasies books because they are fake.”

Assimilation in another culture is a process that takes a lot of studying, trial and error and simply just observation.

Sitting down with people from other cultures one would quickly realize the vast amount of ignorance that is shared in American culture about other cultures.

“People ask me, ‘how do you know english so well?’ and I find it funny because we speak english in my country, I have been speaking it for years,” Edwin Yemoh said.

Yemoh is from Ghana, a country on the west coast of Africa. English is spoken there frequently because the British colonized the area during the era of Imperialism.

Yemoh has been at SCCC for three years and already has an associates in science and is almost finished with his associates in engineering. He is very intelligent and great at science and mathematics and is planning on becoming a pilot someday.

“I come from a big city in Ghana so it is well developed and a lot like the cities in America, so, assimilating was not hard for me accept adjusting to a small town was different, but I prefer small places,” Yemoh said.

Many international students come to community colleges because they are cheap. International students get no federal aid because they are usually here through visas and whichever state the visa is through is where they usually will study.

“I like the small classrooms and the one on one I can receive from my instructors and it is very affordable compared to going straight to a university,” Yemoh said.

Yemoh described where he is from to be very warm and humid and said that they get quite a lot of rain where he is from and coming to this climate was his biggest adjustment.

“I love the sun and trees and here it is very cold and not that many trees,” Yemoh said.

“Culturally it was not that hard of an adjustment, different cultures have more in common than what people think, the part that I miss the most from back home is probably the food, my favorite dish is called fufu,” Yemoh said with a smile.

Click/touch on the photo to see full gallery and caption:

International students are active in all areas of campus. Many of the athletic teams intermingle languages from around the world.