International students cope with being away from home during college


Kyle Schlichting/Iowa State Daily

Monalisa Pati, right, and Devanshi Mehta, left, talk in the Multicultural Center on Wednesday. Pati, a graduate student in community and regional planning, and Mehta, Masters in Business Administration, are International Students who are staying in this Ames this summer.

Katharina Gruenewald

Many international students cross long distances to get to Ames, making quick visits home over breaks much more difficult.

Monalisa Pati, graduate student in business administration and international student from India, has not been home since she arrived in Ames last fall and she will not return until the next winter break.

She said she has not been truly homesick, not even when she initially arrived.

“I call my parents at least once a day over Skype,” Pati said. “Therefore I haven’t been that homesick, I just continue calling them.”

Pati said she feels quite integrated into Ames. “And people here are so nice. If they can they will help you so much.”

Pati has met a lot of friends both from India and other places at Iowa State, which she said is an important factor in not feeling homesick. She said she really misses the food from India though.

“I started to put up recipes or Skype with my mom while starting to cook these dishes,” Pati said. “My culinary skills have improved a lot after coming here.”

Devanshi Mehta, a graduate student in community and regional planning and international student from India, said she also misses Indian food.

Mehta spent one year as a student in Buffalo and has since transferred to Iowa State, making this her second straight year away from home.

She said she occasionally experiences homesickness, missing not just the food but also the way of life in her home city.

“I come from a larger city. I miss seeing people around,” Mehta said. “Here if I go out at seven, it is pretty much dead. I kind of miss the social life.”

Mehta most often communicates via facebook with her mother.

“It is rather expensive flying to India and it is a very long flight,” Mehta said. When Mehta grows homesick, she also cooks Indian food or her friends will cook the food for her.

“The Indian Student association organizes a lot of events. That helps too,” Mehta said.

Adli Adnan, senior in industrial engineering and international student from Malaysia said he also misses his home food and culture.

Adnan has not been home since the summer of 2012. And he will not return this summer either.

“I also miss my grandmother,” Adnan said. “And my little brother, who is going to be 13 now. I’m missing his childhood. My sister just finished high school and will go to college. So I am missing that as well.”

To work against his occasional homesickness, Adnan likes to spend time with fellow Malaysian students and cook Malaysian food as well.

And as Pati said international students have a reason for coming to the States, remembering that reason might help in case homesickness arises.