Despite small class sizes, Minot State University is diverse in culture. Across campus, students have the opportunity to meet fellow students from different parts of the globe. One group of students in particular have trekked across an ocean and half the country to get here, hailing from another continent entirely, Australia.
Kobe Jackson, a freshman majoring in entrepreneurship, is from Tasmania, a smaller island just off the coast of Australia. As a basketball player, Jackson had a few offers from colleges in the states; however, he stated Minot State was the most passionate about acquiring his talents. He explained that after arriving he noticed some culture differences here in America.
“The way you (Americans) dress, it’s different, we are way more casual and go for sporting wear. Here, everyone dresses almost to impress, but nice,” Jackson said, “I went out for my friend’s birthday and I had some chinos on, and he just had on a rain and track suit.”
Michael Ryan, a freshman majoring in art with a concentration in graphic design, is from just north of Sydney. Ryan Fila, a Minot State alum, played a part in recruiting Ryan to play football for the Beavers. Ryan explained that moving to the states has come with some adjustments.
“Back home you know where everything is, where to go, and how everything operates. Out here (in the US), it’s completely different, you have to realign and get used to it,” Ryan said.
Mariah Payne, a senior physical education major from Tasmania, isn’t new to American culture. She’s made an impact over the past three years as a basketball player as well as many other roles on campus. She explained that coming to the states comes with a commitment in order to combat the feeling of homesickness.
“Honestly, I wanted to come here. So, I tell myself there is no point in being homesick because I knew what I signed up for. There is no point coming here and being sad or miserable. Not many kids get to experience this, and this is a great opportunity. Home is always going to be there,” Payne said.
Payne is not the first Australian to make the move, before her were the Boag twins — Christina and Carly — who attended and played basketball at Minot State a few years ago.
“A lot of people know who they are and then over the years I've definitely seen more and more Australians come. There was a point where I was the only one here and now there's like six of us walking around,” Payne said.
Payne also explained that even though both countries speak English there is a slight language barrier.
“One of the things I've struggled with the most was the way that we say things. I felt like I had to repeat myself and I was speaking a foreign language even though I was speaking English. So that was an adjustment, to learn the way you guys spell things and the way you say things. The context was definitely an adjustment,” Payne said.
Bethany Theodore, a junior art major from Melbourne, originally started college in Texas and transferred to Minot this year. She highlighted one of the biggest differences in culture is food. In Australia, home cooked meals are more prominent over fast food.
“I'm used to home cooked meals every night. I don’t go out to get takeout lunch or anything like that. So even going to Walmart to get the same things that I would use to make meals back home is completely different,” Theodore said.
The Aussies collectively explained that settling into campus is made easier because of the friendships they make and the support system that is founded through those relationships.