Journal Article: features of the foreign world
There are so many new and different things international students experience when they move away from their home country. Evident changes such as language, accents, climate come as no surprise but nobody warned us about less obvious things, like road rules and plug sockets.
All students are used to a variety of transportation means; some walk, some cycle, some drive and some get driven. This is no different at a university; however imagine the international students’ frustration when vehicles drive on the wrong side of the road.
Crossing the road becomes a backwards process- needing to look right then left as opposed to the ingrained habit we are used to back home. It is an everyday affair that all students must do to travel to George Square or Kings buildings, but, is a fear one must overcome.
Moving abroad, one also realizes how electrical items, and the plugs and sockets to charge them, have been taken for granted. Nobody told me that three pronged plugs were used here, and nobody warned me of the small fortune needed to buy adaptors or new chargers.
These differences vary from country to country and their reasoning mainly rooted in their colonial history, but there are other differences that, I as an international student, have noticed on, supposedly, less regionally specific items. Take for example the laptop and phone keyboards; on some European keyboards the ‘z’ and ‘y’ keys are swapped around, some have a distinctly smaller ‘enter’ key and others have more key options to produce the foreign accentuation and intonation on words.
On one hand these novelties take us by surprise, or even scare us, but, eventually, when we’re back home these differences will make us miss Edinburgh, our new home. And the laptop keyboards, well they’re just a small token of home that we can take with us around the world, reminding ourselves to keep in touch.