International students bond over shared experiences

Students from across the globe shared coffee, brownies and cookies while discussing their experiences at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) on April 7. Otters took advantage of this opportunity to bond with their fellow exchange students and talk about their similarities. 

“I’m really enjoying [CSUMB], I love it here. Monterey is very beautiful and the people are nice,” said Ryko Aoyama, a fourth-year from Japan.

International Coffee Hour is held once a month in the west lounge of the university’s Student Center and is meant for students like Aoyama and others “to connect with each other and share about their cultures and experiences living and studying abroad,” according to the international program’s Instagram page.

“There’s so many things that have been surprising,” said Moena Matsuda, a fourth-year student also majoring in global studies. While Matsuda and Aoyama are enjoying their time at CSUMB, the pair said there have been a few things that have taken some getting used to. 

“We don’t usually live in dorms (in Japan), so that’s been a little weird. Also, the school is huge to us. Everyone else says it’s not, but for us it is,” explained Matsuda.

Matsuda went on to say that another culture shock she experienced was Monterey’s public transportation system. 

“I  was surprised that public transportation is pretty poor here compared to where I’m from … in Japan it’s easy to go from the North to the South of the country and here the transportation takes so long,” she said.

According to second-year Yuna Nakao, the breezy Monterey weather has been difficult to adjust to. 

“In California it’s supposed to be really warm, but in Monterey it’s a little cold for me. I always need blankets and jackets with me,” she explained.

“Coming to America was one of my dreams,” said Aoyama. “I’m really satisfied with my life here.”

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