America through the eyes of an exchange student


Kinza Fatima, international exchange student from Balochistan, Pakistan, smiles outside University Center East. Fatima is studying at the university for the Fall 2021 semester.

Kinza Fatima, Guest Contributor

I am honored to be studying in the USA this semester as a cultural exchange student. Even though I am here studying for just one semester, I got to learn, relearn and unlearn so many things that have overwhelmingly changed my life.

I hail from a small valley of gingerbread mountains of Balochistan, Pakistan. Since I was very young, I have loved studying maps, history and the undiscovered places of the world. Reading about countries has always fascinated me. Therefore, I decided to choose International Relations as my major.

Since I came here, I have been excitedly curious to discover the United States. Who wouldn’t like to go to New York, Florida, Chicago, Los Angeles when you come to the USA? I traveled across the country side of the US on the train. The landscapes of the US are heaven on earth, filled with great plains, meadows, farms and cornfields.

I toured around the West Coast, which got me in awe of how magnificently diverse the US is. I experienced the lifestyles of people living on the West Coast and East Coast. 

Campus life at USI has given me memories that I could use to write an ode to the beautiful people and friends I have made here. The campus is surrounded by the scenic beauty of nature, and it has always fascinated me. The plethora of trees, gardens, flowers and lakes are therapeutic.

I have also joined many student clubs like the Sociology Club, Philosophy Club, International Club and Student Christian Fellowship. Once a week, I join in intellectual engagements with my professors to enlighten our minds. 

I also volunteered at the Evansville Rescue Mission and Thrive to teach kids about art, history, science and develop our cross-cultural understanding. I also went to church to learn about the religious rituals of Americans. I made some good acquaintances there.

I believe that I have been experiencing many cool things living in the midwest state of the USA. It is fascinating for me to witness actual American cultural values and the lifestyle of people. I have felt so connected by sharing my stories and culture with my American friends, who are always curious about Pakistan. I have made countless memories here so that Evansville has become my second home sweet home. I now have a whole new perspective about the world. I have fresh ideas about my future, and when I go back to Pakistan, I will teach people about the things I learned in the United States. 

This exchange program has increased my understanding of how we all are connected and how we could bridge the gap by creating cultural acceptance without compromising our history or traditions. The exchange of culture has always inspired American life. 

My American teacher told me the practice of Halloween came from Irish people. Another American teacher said that the bicameral government of the United States came from the British. One of my American friends told me the tradition of Christmas trees came from Germans. 

Being a cultural exchange ambassador, you don’t just know others well, but you know yourself too—the authentic self. By sharing our stories, we can enrich the lives of others.

About the writer: Kinza Fatima is an international exchange student from Balochistan, Pakistan. Fatima is in her third year studying international relations in Pakistan. She is studying abroad from Pakistan in the United States for the Fall 2021 semester. She is studying cultural anthropology, social problems, English rhetoric and American politics at the university. Fatima enjoys social activism, writing and traveling. She hopes to travel to more countries in the future.