Yesterday I sent an e-mail to my fellow international HCI students. I asked them to meet me at Warner Hall at 7:50am, and I included a photo, so they’d be able to find me. I got a reply from Gabriel, who said he’d be there.
And so I met Gabriel this morning. Gabriel is Costa-Rican, and he did his undergraduate (triple mayor in Computer Science, Software Engineering and Math) in the US too. He’s a soccer-fan, and he actually knows more about the Dutch competition than I do :D. The great thing about having someone like Gabriel around, beside the fact that he’s a cool guy (:P), is that he kinda already knows what’s out there. He showed me exactly which parts of the orientation program are useful for me and which aren’t.
The orientation program itself was okay. I mean, it was a bit boring, but quite useful, and the speakers did their best to “spice it up” a bit. The part about US culture was even mildly funny. It was however a shame to find out that I was the only Dutchman in the entire room! Well, Gabriel was the only Costa-Rican too. Most students where from India and China.
When the obligatory part of today’s program ended, I ran into Ajay (well, actually he saw me first, and recognized me from the photo I sent). Ajay is from India, and his undergraduate major was Computer Science. We went to the carts together to have lunch, and I got Basil Chicken which was really HOT! By the way, I have to keep in mind that a “small” portion in the US is just like a “large” portion in The Netherlands :D.
[I will include a photo of Gabriel, Ajay and me here as soon as they send it to me!]
We fixed up for tomorrow, and Gabriel even gave me a ride home, which is really kind.
Yesterday Mark asked me how I was feeling about being in the US. I told him that it was all still a bit unreal for me and that I’d probably skip the whole comprehension phase and get straight on to being used to it. I found out today that this is, in fact, not true. Of course, I’m not even close to seeing all this as my “normal life”, but when I got home from orientation today I sort of scratched the surface of realization. I mean, I just had this feeling like: “wow, this is actually really cool, me being here and all”. This is probably a feeling that will fade eventually, but I should remember it and think of it when I have any difficulties. Because yes, this is really cool, I am very lucky to be here, and I will have a great time here, no matter what!