Yalie First, International Second

On August 18th, I triumphantly walked through Phelps Gate. I was finally here – I was a Yalie! But, was I really? I was walking through Phelps Gate jet lagged from an eight-hour flight from Manchester… England. Even though Yale is quintessentially very British, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was going to spend the next four years being the “international kid.” 

I began my Yale journey with OIS - the Orientation for International Students. This year, our t-shirts read, “I can’t keep calm, I’m international.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Yet, as OIS progressed and Yale truly got underway, I was never made to feel inferior because of my international status, put in a corner with the other international kids and asked to be “international.” Instead, it was clear that international students at Yale are as much a part of the Yale community as anyone else.

Like every freshman, I was welcomed into my residential college through a series of dinners, meetings and events. At each turn, I heard the word “Family.” JE was my family here at Yale. It didn’t matter that I had to cross an international border in order to be in it. I was in it all the same.

And, after a short while, I forgot that I was an international student. Being British is certainly a part of my identity, but first and foremost, I am a Yalie. And, while I’d like to think I’ll retain my British accent forever, I was almost proud to hear from a friend that I’m “finally sounding like an American.”