There are 80 different countries represented at BYU-Idaho through students. BYU-I is the largest private school in Idaho, and because of that, is home to many international students, according to byui.edu.
“I’m from Brazil, and I have only been in America for three months, and there are so many differences,” said Renata Lima, a freshman studying psychology. “It has been really hard to adapt.”
She talked more about some barriers and said Americans as a whole are a lot more cold than Brazilians. She said Brazilians are better at expressing how they feel than Americans and that these cultural differences have caused some difficulty feeling welcomed in classes.
“The hardest thing I have had to face so far is science classes,” Lima said. “If a teacher uses a lot of technical terms, I always have to translate them, which makes doing homework, listening to lectures and studying for tests a lot harder.”
Lima said that because of these difficulties, she had to change her major from biology to psychology so the amount of translating she had to do would not be overwhelming.
“It was really hard because I am still trying to learn English, and there were so many terms that I just could not understand,” Lima said. “The hardest class that I was taking was biology.”
Lima said she is excited to be at BYU-I for spring term, because by then, she will understand the language better and not have to translate everything in her head before comprehending what people are trying to say to her.
Margaryta Gomozkova, a freshman studying business management, said she wants to own her own business in the future, and she is excited about her opportunity to go to BYU-I.
“I am from Kiev, Ukraine, and I have been in America for three months,” Gomozkova said. “I studied a lot of English before I came to America, so I feel like I understand everything my teachers try to communicate to me.”
She said the only really hard part about going to a university in America is that the educational system is different. The way she has been asked to write essays is different, and the way teachers assign homework is different. She feels that it is easier to do homework in Ukraine because the teacher tells the students face-to-face what homework they need to do, and here at BYU-I, students have to go on I-Learn.
“The hardest class I am taking right now is my history class because it requires a lot of reading, which causes a lot of translating for me to understand exactly what the reading is saying,” Gomozkova said.
Gomozkova’s experience at BYU-I has been different not only because she is from a different country, but because she is also not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“I knew a woman from home who went to BYU-I, and she told my parents and I about this university,” Gomozkova said. “My parents and I were very impressed with the standards and Honor Code of BYU-I. After hearing what BYU-I stood for, my parents knew I would get a good education and be safe here.”
Gomozkova said she has felt welcomed at BYU-I, and that she believes the teachers here really care about their students and that they have helped her a lot when she does not understand what they say.
“Most of the international students in my classes have learned the algebra concepts prior to coming to BYU-I and are taking Math 100B not to learn the concepts but to learn the language associated with the concepts,” said Rachel Hurst, a professor at BYU-I.
Hurst said she is grateful when her international students speak up when they do not understand and share their frustrations because she is then able to help them work through the communication problems they are facing.
“One international student questioned me after class one day about a basic physics formula we used in class that day,” Hurst said. “He thought he recognized the formula but wondered why our book left off one of the terms he expected.”
Hurst said she explained the example formula to the international student.
“After I explained this, I could see relief in his eyes that he didn’t have to learn ‘new formulas’ along with the new vocabulary he was learning,” Hurst said.