Do you remember when I didn’t have a roommate and I felt lonely last semester? I’m not sure if I shared with you, that I chose to have an international roommate. I love learning about different cultures, and meeting new people, and I know this list is made a bit early yet into the semester, I thought I would share with you (in hopes that it will change) some pros and cons of having an International roommate.
My roommate sleeps a lot. She’s from Japan, and a trip from Japan to Wisconsin takes about a full day of travel. Napping a lot was to be expected in the first week or so. Naps in the room make me feel so bad about coming back from class and waking her up with the clicking door…oh well, I have to get in.
*Tip: If you’re the one doing traveling, make sure you get into your host countries timezone as soon as possible. When I went to Italy, my mom made sure we all knew not to sleep until it was at least 9pm Italy time, even though that meant staying up 24 hours, it honestly helped a lot.
You learn about another culture. This one is kind of a given, you live with someone who can barely speak the native language fluently, but still want to tell you all about their home life from time to time.
This one may be a personal one, but…they want to try new food…and asking to do so may not be the first thing they think of. I walked back into the room after going down the hall to fill my water bottle to my roommate standing on a chair with her hand full on in my cereal box…without asking.
*Tip: After this incident, I had to have a roommate talk with my roommate to tell her I would rather have her ask than just help herself. She hasn’t eaten my food since. I also put half the cereal in a separate container for her. It’s important to have communication
If an international student, like my roommate, is from a non-english speaking culture…there will be some big language barriers. My roommate has a very thick accent and sometimes doesn’t use the correct words. There was a time when I thought she said “I like laundry” instead of “Lingerie.” Along with coming into the room from a downpour and saying “I got caught in the rain.” only to have her reply with an enthusiastic “Yes!”…alrighty… or when she had messaged me when I had gone home for the weekend asking for a ‘sawing’ kit instead of a ‘sewing’ kit. Little bit of a difference.
I wasn’t sure if this was a Pro or a Con, but they might not even try to talk to you. My roommate is so talkative when my parents are around, but when it’s just us, we might not even talk all week. Just come and go as we please. This is kind of nice in a way because it’s quiet when I want to study, but at the same time our conversations are 5 maybe 10 word sentences…it’s like she doesn’t know how to ask a question back. Oh well. (Someone remind me that I’m not invisible)
You might not get a lot of private time. I wish I could just come up to the room after class or meetings and just relax and watch television. But 98% of the time my roommate is in the room. I love when she leaves to take her hour long showers or meals. Those little bits are heaven to me.
*Tip: Plan trips home! I love going home this semester just for that private time where I can
They might not even try to be friends with you. They might stick to their friend group from their home country and that’s okay. It might be disappointing if you looked forward to befriending your roommate and having adventures with them. It’s okay though, I’ve made friends on my floor and in classes. It all works out.
Whenever I do need to talk to my roommate about something important, such as turning the lights down at a certain time, or not eating my food and touching my stuff, I have found that I tend to ask other people that what I am saying isn’t rude or completely arrogant, because I want my roommate to have a good experience…but not at the expense of my lack of sleep and food. I must confess though, that it is really nice to not only go home and sleep in my big comfy bed, but to also get away from my roommate! I know some of my family members might want to meet her, but I am in no way obligated to bring her home. I’m not her mother, she’s here with her friends and has her own schedule. (Getting up at 7 am to eat breakfast at 8 am, studying all day long and never leaving the room). Like I said in the beginning, hopefully my list will change. Also shout out to Anna
for listening to my complaining about my roommate whenever she wakes up before the sun. (and everyone else you’re all rockstars too).
Have you ever had an international student living with you before? How was it?
Any tips for me? Hope your weeks are all going great! Sorry this post turned out to be quite wordy…
Here’s some cuteness to brighten your day!