11 members of the International Camels Association memebers pose for a photo together in Unity House
International Students at ISA’s winter get together

Sitting on the tarmac at Philadelphia International Airport, I was frustrated, tired and jetlagged. I had been traveling for nearly 27 hours and plane food has never cheered me up. I was heading back to Conn after one month of winter break and my plane had been diverted to Philadelphia because of the winter storm. I was supposed to land at JFK by 8:30 a.m. and catch the Flying Camel (the College bus between JFK International Airport and Conn) at 1 p.m. It was now 11 a.m. Would I even make it?

Miraculously, I did make it. I reached JFK at 12:30 p.m. and had to—in full panic mode—run through immigration and baggage claim.

As the Flying Camel Shuttle left a rainy New York City, my sour mood started giving into exhaustion. Similar to my arduous journey back, my first semester at Conn as an international student was full of ups and downs. Four months is a long time, and my semester is dotted with numerous memorable experiences. However, what sticks in my head the most is the smaller things that happened. So, I have decided to chronicle three seemingly small experiences that I am looking forward to having again this spring semester:

1. The first time I ordered eggs at the grill station in Harris Dining Hall
It was my third week at Conn and I still hadn’t found my bearings. I really wanted some eggs and toast for dinner. A sophomore from my residence hall suggested I go to the grill as they usually cook made-to-order eggs, quesadillas and burgers at all times of the day. But did I really want to go? Well, yes, as I really wanted eggs. But I was terrified. Thankfully, a sophomore, now my friend, decided to drag me there and help me ask. Those were some great eggs and I consistently still order at the grill.

2. Studying for Arabic quizzes at Shain Library with my classmates
What started out as a four-person occasional study group turned into regular weekly study sessions to cram for Arabic quizzes every Thursday night. We laughed, watched Vines and studied Arabic together week after week, sometimes until 1 a.m. By the end of the semester, the people in this study group turned into my best friends.

3. International Student Association (ISA) Meetings
As part of Conn’s International Student Association Executive Board, I, alongside four other international students and Associate Dean of the College Carmela Patton, was responsible for organizing events geared toward international students. From spending time at Walmart looking for snacks for our Winter Get-Together to actually seeing Parentless Dinner unfold during Fall Weekend, ISA has given me a sanctuary and friends that I can always rely on at Conn. It has made me feel like a part of the community and it helped me gain my footing and contribute to Conn.