By Madeleine Doyle

The Austria Program provides many unique opportunities for FUS and LCI students. Amid all of the academic benefits there are also the benefits of getting to know students from other countries and cultures. This is especially helpful if your roommate happens to be an LCI student. I was able to speak with a few of them and hear about their experiences.

Christina is rooming with an LCI student from Russia named Anastasia, and she has only wonderful things to say about their experience as roommates. “I like getting to see things from a different perspective and culture,” she says. Christina and Anastasia, put together “by chance,” have continued to grow in their friendship throughout the semester. Christina said that because of Anastasia she has been able to learn about a different culture, one that she will not be visiting in her time in Austria. Instead of simply having a touristy overview of the country and culture, Anastasia has told her details about Russia that only a local could know, giving Christina a special insight into the culture and into Anastasia’s life. Christina is grateful for this opportunity and has said that it has formed her semester because it has given her a more complete look at another a country and culture.

Many of the other students who room with LCI students feel the same way. Joe Duran who is rooming with Oleh, an LCI student and seminarian from Ukraine, says that rooming with Oleh has been an eye-opening and enjoyable experience. “Oleh likes things very clean. He keeps me in shape,” Joe laughs. Another LCI student, Bella from Georgia, puts up sticky notes and signs around the room in English and Georgian to help her remember words. Emma, her roommate, says that this is very interesting for her because it exposes her to a different language starting with the basic words for toothbrush and bed.

Rooming with an LCI student is a unique experience, as well as an avenue to learn more about other cultures and cultivate deeper friendships with students from other countries. These and many others who room with LCI students have very positive and interesting insights about their experience together. From the perspective of the American students coming here, it’s tempting to stay with the normal routine of things and room with that girl or guy from California. But in Gaming, one has the opportunity to live with someone from across the globe. And that can be a life-changing experience.