Angela SuGuro had a typical American high school experience. She took the SAT and ACT tests, studied rigorously for her AP classes, and participated in various extracurricular activities. The only difference was that she was attending an American high school in Taiwan.
Although SuGuro learned a lot about America’s customs and traditions while in Taiwan, none of that could have prepared her for the college experience she was about to encounter in the United States.
Aside from a trip to the U.S. when she was younger, she had little memory of the U.S. Her only knowledge of the United States was based off of her American-style education and classmates.
SuGuro attended an American-ran school in Taiwan. It was a small, private school for the children of American missionaries and military service members and a few other international students.
When it came time for her to apply for college, there was no question that she would go to college in the U.S. Both of her parents and brother went to college in the U.S., so it was a natural choice for her as well.
"I assumed I was going to the states. I don’t know where else I could go."
She heard about Emory University from a classmate. While filling out the application, she saw the option of Oxford College and decided to look into that option as well. The small community of Oxford appealed to her. She said, "I felt like it would be a good transition to a bigger school such as Emory."
Paying for Oxford’s high tuition would not be easy, but luckily for SuGuro, her parents had been saving up for her college since she was born.
"We are just using money from that savings account. It’s from their hard work. Because of that, I feel the responsibility to do really well and not mess up."
Like many other international students, SuGuro did not have a tour of Oxford before move-in day. Nor did she know much about the geographical layout of Georgia.
"Atlanta is considered to be a really big city, but when I visited, it wasn’t as big as I’d thought it’d be. I thought it would be like Tokyo."
After the initial culture shock, SuGuro began to question her choice in picking a school in the South, but as time went on, the South worked its charm on her.
"I am starting to like the nature here. I love all of the trees and people here are really nice!"
One of the biggest differences for SuGuro was the food. "The food sizes here are very large; that was funny to me."
Another thing that shocked SuGuro was the excitement over holidays in America. Although she would get two days off forThanksgiving at her American high school, this would be the first time she would experience a true, American Thanksgiving.
"I am very surprised of how big Thanksgiving is here. You see Thanksgiving advertisements everywhere!"
No matter what country a girl is from, she will always appreciate a good deal with shopping and SuGuro is no exception to that.
"I really want to see Black Friday. You get all of these discounts. It is crazy! I hear everything is really cheap and everywhere is packed. I still have some doubt about it. I don't believe it. I just have to see it."
Since arriving to Oxford in August, SuGuro has had the chance to experience and learn about a few American holidays. She quickly learned that Americans are very festive when it comes to holidays.
"Every holiday is way more celebrated here than in Taiwan. There are so many holidays here that I think companies made up. I was very surprised by that and how much people are into it."
SuGuro, a chemistry and pre-pharmacy student, said that she cannot wait to experience Christmas with a real tree. "I've never seen a real Christmas tree before, only fake plastic ones."
Another experience she is looking forward to is going to an American football game.
"I want to go to a football game, I know it is really big here," she said. "I think the Super Bowl commercials are funny, but other than that, I have no idea about it because we don't have football in Taiwan."
Although SuGuro is still adjusting to American culture, she is very excited to take part in the festivities.