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Foreign students adapt to life at La Verne

Michelle Nunez
Staff Writer

International students are an important and ever-growing part of the La Verne community.

Yet as these students leave home and enter this new environment, there are things they must get used to here.

“Los Angeles is a very modern city,” said graduate accounting student Pengfei Lei, from China.

“La Verne is very beautiful,” Lei said. “People here are friendly, the University life is very colorful. (There are) lots of activities here, the food in the cafeteria is cheap. I like it.”

“I have no problem adapting to the United States,” said Sophomore Alex Beltrol, who moved to La Verne from Spain to earn a degree in business management and play on the men’s water polo team.

“My water polo team has helped me by introducing me to people and giving me rides everywhere,” Beltrol said. “Everyone is friendly. I plan to go everywhere when I can. So far I have been to Pomona, Rancho Cucamonga, USC, and will be going to Sacramento and San Francisco soon.”

Learning about new food is important when getting to know a new home, Beltrol said that he has come to enjoy burgers.

“My favorite is In-N-Out,” Beltrol said.

While some students have adapted to La Verne, others found transportation in Los Angeles troublesome.

“L.A. is nice but there is lots of traffic,” said sophomore public adminstration major Salem Almaamari from the United Arab Emirates.

“The government should work in the city to make something new,” Almaamari said. “The roads are bad.”

Some students, like freshman business administration major Xiucheng Zi, say they like the academic dedication of ULV students.

“(It is a) nice school and peaceful country. Students here like to study.” Xi said.

“I can concentrate on my studies here,” said freshman Azusa Mashima, who hails from Japan. “It is hot here, but the climate is more comfortable than Japan,”

Mashima added, however, that she finds food in the United States tends to be unhealthy.

“America is friendly,” said freshman Hiroshi Yoshikawa, also from Japan.

Kristina Granados, a graduate student and resident assistant for the international floor at the Oaks dorm, has noticed that international students adapt to American college life in different ways.

“It varies student by student, but there have been no problems. Their transition period has to happen fast since most are here for a short period of time in the dorm,” she said.

What is common to American students is not necessarily familiar or even legal for students from the other side of the world.

We take for granted such rights as Internet access and free speech.

“Many of them do not have access to Facebook or Google,” Granados said.

“For some it is illegal where they are from,” Granados said. “Some students would ask me the bus route information, and I would tell them that I didn’t know off the top of my head but that they could Google it… They didn’t know what Google was.”

Granados said that in the beginning, in general she found some international students liked to keep to themselves and were timid, but eventually they warmed up to her.

“I know they feel comfortable with me when they friend me on Facebook,” she said.

Michelle Nunez can be reached at

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