My adopted country is just exotic enough to be enticing, and AtSU cannily markets itself as an oasis of Anglo-Canadamericanism amidst a local desert of institutional disorder. But what these scholars find on arrival cannot possibly live up to the hype. Computers that were high technology when I was an undergrad. Facilities that were built well within my under-four-decade lifetime, yet have already fallen into startling disrepair. Students who are at least as apathetic as the ones they left behind.
Some of these temporary colleagues manage to have a blast, mostly by spending their time as far from campus as possible. It's like junior year abroad, redux, with an actual salary to fund travel involving actual hotel rooms instead of backpacks and youth hostels. One colleague whose department is hosting a fellow this year marveled at how upbeat their guest has been, "but that's probably because she doesn't actually have to live here." True dat.All I ask is that these international fellows stay long enough, or look hard enough, to notice that the grass over here has its own distinct patches of brown. Sometimes they are the same shape as those back home, but sometimes they take on forms so new or unusual that one might first think them green. Remember that your temporary annoyances are our more entrenched struggles. We welcome you among us, but you aren't quite one of us.