Looking at Oswego through an International Lens

See what students from around the world think about Oswego and things to do on campus

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OSWEGO, NY/PARIS, FR – Thelma Vincent was only at Oswego for a single semester, but she still loves being a “laker” with all of the perks that come with it.   

Thelma is from Paris, France, where she has spent most of her life in the crowded streets and bustling neighborhoods, so coming to a small college town like Oswego was a breath of fresh air.

I first asked Thelma if she thought Oswego had many opportunities on campus for students. 

Thelma: “Well if in four and a half (months) I never got bored, that means Oswego has a lot of stuff to do.  Every week (there is) an event, even every day you have something to do. ” 

Thelma acknowledges that the town of Oswego has nowhere near the same level of opportunities to do as Paris, but that the college having so many events, especially those that are free, is virtually nonexistent in even the most prestigious of universities in France.  

Thelma: “In France, when we go to college, it’s more we go to university… its back and forth between home… university… home.  You go to the university just for class.  You attend classes and then you go back home, you do your homework and that’s it.  Whereas if you go to an american campus like SUNY Oswego, You live on campus, you have events, you have facilities like gyms, swimming pools, ice rink, you have parties, you have a lot of things to do on the campus.  (Whereas) In Paris you have a lot of things to do off-campus, and you need money. “

Thelma considers herself very experienced when it comes to attending SUNY Oswego’s events

Thelma: “I think every single event I was there.  Even when I got back, I got lucky enough to come back just for vacation. Someone recognized me because he said “Oh you were there for every single event”.”

I then asked Thelma what events she enjoyed most on campus, and what she would recommend to students on campus.

Thelma: “I would say the pumpkin run.”

Me: “The pumpkin run?”

Thelma: ‘Yes… because it’s during the friends and family weekend.  And even if I didn’t have my family with me given that I was an international student, I could see how students enjoyed this weekend.  They were surrounded by family, by their friends, they could share moments… Just the event Itself was so much fun.  There was a run, a raffle, (which) I won, (that was a) surprise.”

Photo courtesy of SUNY Oswego

I also learned an interesting tidbit from Thelma as well 

Thelma: “I got a lot of memories just painting the pumpkins which for me was the first time”

Me: “You really hadn’t painted pumpkins before you came to Oswego?”

Thelma: “No.  Neither (painting or) Carving. 

In fairness, I also asked what events she didn’t enjoy on campus

Thelma: “Hmmm…. Maybe more the prom.  I was in hart hall which is the international hall, mostly.  And they wanted to give us this American experience by organizing a prom, which we don’t have abroad, and that was a super idea…  But it’s still different, it’s still international students attending an American culture-thing, so we were not having the same (dress) codes… And we were not sharing the same music tastes like it was a lot of Asian and Indian music which I don’t really know. So I was kinda bored at one point. 

Me: “Do you think if it was a different hall that had hosted the prom you would’ve liked it?”

Thelma: “Maybe, because more American people would have come and they would have… given us this more American experience, and American code of what is a prom”. 

I asked her if there were any last comments or things she would like to tell future lakers.

Thelma: “We often want to have what we don’t have… And even if studying in America costs (a lot), (I) think that it’s also a great opportunity because you have great opportunities on campus to socialize, learn, and have fun, all at the same time.  And I think that’s something, as international people, we all dream about (that) for years.” 

Thelma wanted to make a point that because her time was more limited, she valued it a lot more than believes her American contemporaries did.  And if you are looking to find new ways to get involved and get out there, she has some advice for you too.

Thelma: “Read the posters because they advertise everywhere on the campus… and don’t stick with your first impression reading the poster.  Don’t be like “Oh it doesn’t seem great”, just go there and you will see how much fun you can have”

To Listen/See the full interview, check out the Soundcloud/Youtube links below for the full interview!

WATCH HERE —> https://youtu.be/BF8QfB7opR0

LISTEN HERE —>https://soundcloud.com/swegoowodcasts/looking-at-oswego-through-an-international-lens-ft-thelma-vincent?si=70e2b214fd054ae1b41d66f2bdff3d54&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing