Each month, global view will feature in international student at Michigan State, and share their insights on life at home and abroad.
Barbara Kotei took a path that includes not only highways and streets, but also oceans when she first arrived at Michigan State University.
Kotei, a molecular biology freshman, is an international student from Ghana, located in West Africa.
Kotei said she was already familiar with MSU before she became a student.
“I met with the admissions office [before choosing to attend MSU],” said Kotei. “I had a couple of friends here, and I even came here with another boy from high school.”
In addition to the friends that Kotei knew before she came here, she said she appreciates the friends she has made on her floor.
Kotei said she made friends on the floor through intramural soccer and has made more friends at MSU from going to salsa dancing classes.
However, she also said that although her American friends are generally receptive, a lot of them don’t fully understand where she is from.
“People don’t know much about Africa,” said Kotei. “I have to explain that [Ghana] is a country, and that Africa has countries.”
Kotei said that Ghana is a unique country with many different cultures and languages, with many of those languages being a tribal dialect representative of Ghana’s diverse culture.
“I can speak three languages: Gha and Twi, which are tribal languages, and English,” said Kotei. “Many people are unaware that English is actually the official language of Ghana.”
Kotei said that she also tried to study French in school, but found her experience to be difficult and uninteresting.
Kotei lived South Africa for two years, and she said the culture of both countries was similar.
She also said that her hobbies at home are not much different than those of average young Americans.
“I like to hang out with my family and friends a lot,” said Kotei. “I really was able to bond with my friends there, as well as my family at home.”
The major difference she noticed in American culture upon arriving at MSU was the freedom of expression.
“People express themselves a lot more freely here,” she said. “The dress is different, there [are] transgender individuals, too.”
Kotei also said that this freedom of expression applies to language as well.
“The way [Americans] speak in general […]at home, it’s rare to see people cuss so much,” she said.
However, Kotei said that her experience in America and at MSU has been a good one so far.
“People have been very receptive; it’s been a good time so far,” she said.