By Kaitlyn Sulka
Jamaican-born Nats Gayle, 21, a junior and criminal justice major, considered leaving WMU during her first year on campus due to the challenges of living in a different culture, including missing friends, family and local food.
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Gayle is just one of many who have left their school because making the transition to a new culture and managing college life and academics is too much. According to a report by NAFSA (National Association for Foreign Student Advisers), International Student Retention Research, 49 percent of international students drop out of college due to lack of cultural adaption. “Educators attributed international students dropping out to a variety of causes including financial and academic issues, English-language problems, and the desire to attend an institution that is a “better fit,” according to NAFS.
Gayle said she doesn’t love WMU but she doesn’t hate it either. It’s half and half, she says matter-of-factly. “But on the other side, you get to meet persons from diverse cultures, experience a different life you’re not used to.” Gayle also knows that while she sometimes questions what she’s doing at Western, she knows that emotion can be normal for anybody who has been a college student in a new place.
Another new adventure for Gayle has been working. “Coming to Western was the first time I actually had a job,” Gayle said. “Managing school and a job was something that was new to me but as I continued to go through each semester, I learned to manage it.”