By Sherab Dorji ‘22, International Orientation Student Participant
If I could summarize the night of August 8th in one word, it would be unforgettable. I arrived at the bus stop with my parents, tired and very irritated. To make things worse, there were no cabs available, and I was very close to bursting into tears. Luckily, I was able to contact an International Orientation Leader (IOL) from Myanmar, Win, who generously dropped me off at the ELC to officially check in. I was extremely nervous to meet the International Orientation Assistants (IOAs); they were the people that could potentially make or break my impression of Bucknell. Various thoughts ran through my mind: What if they were mean? What if they thought I was weird? What if they did not like me? I felt nervous, scared, confused, and honestly, a bit of everything.
In midst of my fear, came the welcome.
It really isn’t every day you see twenty-one strangers running towards you, ready to engulf you in hugs and cheers while Beyonce played in the background. ‘Hellos’ and ‘nice to meet yous’ rang in the air as people came forward to introduce themselves to me.
Despite being overwhelmed during International Orientation (IO), the names of these “strangers” were immediately etched into my mind. From the high of the endless dance parties and the roller-coasters at Knoebels to the lows of the endless periods of waiting for bank deposits and Social Security, the names continued to be inscribed into my mind over the next few days.
Eventually, the strangers who rushed to hug me when I first arrived at ELC, now became the same people I love and cherish. They are the community that will calmly listen to me as I share my worries and hopes with them. It was IO that gave me this.
I do admit that I am not yet ready to say goodbye to the hill in India that was my home for the past two years, however, what I took away from this program was a home. A place where I could make memories, both good and bad, right here in Central Pennsylvania.