EOU Through the Eyes of An International Student

Written by Daneli Atilano

Image provided by: Alexis Tuyet Vails

The first day of a new term can be daunting for anyone, but is it any different for an international student? Alexis Tuyet Vails, an international student who spent winter term at EOU, sat down with The Voice to discuss his experiences, both good and bad.

While studying at his university in France, Montpellier Business School, Alexis decided to spend his second year of school studying abroad. Being an international business major, experience overseas would be beneficial for his studies and career. In an interview with The Voice Alexis explained:

“I wanted to take this opportunity for a term at Eastern Oregon University from January to March before continuing with my initial studies. The objective for me was to discover as soon as possible new opportunities, new projects and to benefit from a new dynamic.” 

One of these new projects was joining The Voice as a photographer, a decision that was fueled by what he described as “to be at the heart of the news of the campus and to participate in its activity.”

Despite its big differences when compared to France, Alexis seemed to really enjoy campus life. “I really found EOU very functional and comfortable, everything is close by and qualitative. The library is very good for working and offers a lot of services, the sports complexes are important, and the possibilities are real despite the winter season, and there is a great atmosphere during the basketball games!” explained Alexis. 

While his time at EOU was educational and fun, it also taught him to how to adapt quickly to American life. Although one change that Alexis found himself having trouble with was eating dinner before 8 p.m. He stated “the dinner slot (5pm-7pm), the closing of shops often shortly afterwards, and then the cold weather of the period with much snow contributed to making the days shorter and getting back to the apartment by 6pm. In France we rarely eat before 8pm minimum and then the big shops close later, so honestly some days the adaptation was complicated.”

Another difficulty was the long arrival process for international students. The U.S. requires international students to go through a lot of procedures before allowing entrance into the country. This includes getting immunizations, organizing travel plans, and having an appointment with the Consulate. Along with this list of obstacles were communications issues that made organizing travel plans difficult for Alexis. Alexis stated that “EOU was very slow in informing us of our study dates, that is, the accessibility of the campus from the 1st of January. Concretely, we received confirmation of the trip possibilities one month before we left. The ticket prices were very high at that time, and planning could not be ideal. “

This communication issue between EOU and international students is one of the things that Alexis thinks could be improved on in the future. Despite this initial inconvenience, once on campus Alexis was pleased by the level of support he received from staff, people in his residence hall, and international coordinator, Mika Morton. 

Alexis explained that Mika Morton “perfectly fulfilled this expectation by helping me not only administratively for my courses, but also by helping me to join the associative life and the university dynamics. This support is not a small detail in the construction of a professional project, especially when you are a foreigner and when coming here is an investment in every way.”

When asked if he would recommend for other international students to go to EOU, Alexis responded, “Yes. As long as the choice of university has been carefully considered” adding that “I think it is a question of mindset. If you are motivated, if you like nature and people, spending time here is really great.” Also cautioning that research of the school’s location and type of environment is important in deciding whether EOU would be right for them. 

Now having spent a month back in France, Alexis looks back on his time at EOU positively. He stated that “I really needed to reflect and move forward in the preparation of my career. I was able to do that here.” It seems that in spite of the ups and downs of his experience, Alexis was able to learn and grow at EOU. 

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