DARRAOUX: Life as an international student

Hurricane Erika /Courtesy photo

Unlike most stories that begin with a happy scenario this one does not. However, the result of this scenario brings opportunity. On Aug. 25, 2015 Tropical Storm Erika struck my home country, The Commonwealth of Dominica, leaving us homeless and jobless. Luckily, I graduated Spring prior the storm that year and had already began working at a new business.


Have you ever heard about this or seen on any social media platforms? If not I dare you to Google: “Commonwealth of Dominica Tropical Storm Erika,” and have a look at the breath taking views we woke up to that morning, with your expected screams and crying.


I didn’t cry or feel lost until three weeks post Erika. If you’ve ever lost someone close to you, you’d know. By then my expectations were to effectively keep my mind involved when the nation was in the groove again. A month later I was utilized at an insurance agency however my vision was to seek after my four-year certification. I went and connected to various schools, Grambling State University being one of them. Guess who I chose? 


Thankfully, amid that period the legislature of the nation offered grants to understudies keen on concentrate abroad.


I moved from Dominica to Grambling in August 2017. I arrived on the Greyhound all the way from Florida, which took an entire day (not including all the bus delays).


The greatest struggles since I’ve been here is having people understanding me when I speak since I speak quickly, understanding my ‘language’ or knowing where Dominica is located. To clarify, I don’t speak a different language, but I do have an accent and the ‘Commonwealth of Dominica’ often abbreviated Dominica is not the same as the Dominican Republic, which is a completely different country.


Anybody else could account for this, but the food here is terrible. During my first year at GSU I made it a priority to avoid the cafeteria since it resulted in disappointment in the taste of the food, the quality, the smell, the aftertaste, or no taste at all or worse, falling sick. Like most students I constantly bought food at the express until the point where my Tiger Bucks would be gone by the first month or two.


If you are from a country or city where it’s usually nice and sunny as it usually is on the Commonwealth of Dominica you definitely won’t enjoy the weather here; unpredictable: wet, cold or dry. Classes are easier giving you a better chance of scoring a better grade. The professors which I have had thus far made it their priority that you reach your full potential.


People are friendlier here than in most states. At first the goal was to get here and get done but after being involved on campus I’ve met people who have made this college experience a dream.


After attending a discussion with GSU President Rick Gallot, I can conclude that changes are expected to take effect soon and hopefully most of the issues that we as international students go through will cease to exist.