American Culture 101: Fulbright Edition
After waving goodbye to family and friends, having four layovers during a 28-hour flight, and losing some of my luggage (of course this would happen!), North Carolina greeted me with open arms. My fellow international students were already waiting to pick me up from the airport.
During the last two months, I have learned so much about the American culture — from music, to dance, to food — and I’ve had so many excellent “first-time” experiences!
Attending an American Football Game
Lesson learned: Americans take football very seriously.
Little did I know that a football game does not start in the football stadium, it starts WAY before that. The enthusiasm was all around, and students had prepared a day ahead of time by camping on campus! I tailgated with my IFP family (International Friendship Program) before the big game. Needless to say, the Mountaineers won.
Seeing a Country Music Concert
We went on a picnic with a bunch of other international students to hear country music at a local concert. During that time, I also experienced great local North Carolinian food with Cheerwine, North Carolina’s beloved drink.
Taking a Trip to the Outer Banks
The Outer Banks had a lot to offer on our four-day camping trip! From crystal clear beaches, sand dunes, the Wright Brothers National Memorial, and one of the oldest lighthouses in the States, my Outer Banks trip was truly an unforgettable one! We also got to make a special southern dinner called a ‘Low Country Boil’.
Hiking Along the Rough Ridge Mountain
Fall is beautiful in my home region of Lebanon, but I never considered it my favorite season. In Boone, North Carolina, the beauty of this magical season is an understatement. After hiking on Rough Ridge Mountain and seeing the Blue Ridge Parkway from the top, I was in awe of the incredible colors.
Spending Fall Break in Charleston
During fall break, I decided to take a five-hour road trip to visit a Lebanese friend in the beautiful city of Charleston,South Carolina. We got to visit the Pineapple Fountain, Charleston City Market, and went on a water taxi tour. I truly loved the beautifully painted buildings in downtown Charleston, and I enjoyed being a tourist there for a couple of days.
Eating a Homemade American Dinner
More than a million international students study in the US annually, yet some of them never get the chance to visit a real American home. One thing that I love about the Boone community is their southern hospitality and welcoming aura. Along with other international students from different regions and continents, I was invited to eat a homemade American dinner where we played games and got to share about our culture afterwards.
The past 2 months have flown by and have been filled with so many sweet memories, created lifelong friendships, and enlightened me with so much academic and cultural knowledge. I truly feel like I have spent time in a home away from home!