Humans of AQ…and abroad

Story by John Sainz, Reporter
Photo courtesy of Rating Bet

“Where’s the gelato?” asks the Italian international student of the confused American. This, among other things, is one of the many cultural differences noted by some of our friendly new guests at Aquinas College. This Fall, AQ welcomed over a dozen international students onto our campus for the year. Among them was Sofia Lesica, who left her home in Northern Italy for the squirrel-infested woodlands of Aquinas College.

international profile

Photo courtesy of John Sainz

“I’d never been to the states before,” said Lesica, “I was shy at first, some people would make jokes and I wouldn’t get them. Learning the language was probably the biggest obstacle.”

Despite the language barrier, Lesica reported that she has had a great experience overall, especially at orientation, stating, “It was so much fun, and it was nice to have a small group of other international students to experience it with.”

Although she rarely strayed from her international cohort last semester, Lesica asserted that she has a goal to be more intentional this spring in meeting new people.

“I love my home,” stated Lesica, continuing, “but I have already made so many strong and deep relationships with people here, and I want to keep doing that.”

When asked about what she missed most about home, Lesica said, “Obviously family; they are so dear to me.”

A smile crept to her face as she continued, “But also the food. Wege isn’t as bad as people make it sound.  They have a lot of healthy options, but there is nothing like what we eat at home.”

Lesica also shared her trouble with some of the American consumerism, like sales tax not appearing on price tags, and that it is often more expensive to eat healthy than otherwise.

But food isn’t the only thing Lesica feels strongly about. The 19-year-old is currently working toward a degree in biology, and has a particular interest in psychology and neuroscience for her minor. When asked about her classes, Lesica stated, “I’ve studied philosophy, art, and history for five years, so I am more drawn to my neurology and zoology classes.”

Lesica’s passion for psychology stems from both her fascination with the human brain, and how it affects people socially. “For example,” she said, “I’ve noticed people here in the states aren’t as keen on touch as we are in Italy.”

Lesica affirmed the Italian stereotype of kissing friends and family on the cheek and hugging a lot. “I’ve had to watch myself to not be too touchy here, because too many boys think I’m flirting with them,” she joked. “But I find it very interesting to think about that–the psychology of a culture.”

There is certainly no better way to study psychosocial dynamics of a culture than being immersed in a new one for the academic year, and Lesica can now be found more frequently in the upper Moose, as she just landed a job with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion office. Be sure to stop and say hello to our new addition to Sainthood—who knows, you might even walk away with a friendly peck on the cheek.

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