iStudent Corner: American Nick meeting International Students in the U.S.

Today, we are welcoming and interviewing our new team member Nick Botto, Consumer Marketing Associate here at peerTransfer.  

Where are you from?

I’m originally from a small town on the northwest corner of Massachusetts called Clarksburg. Most people have never heard of the town, but it’s a really great place! Right down the road is North Adams: the least populated city in the state of Massachusetts. The city, however, is home to the largest contemporary art museum in the U.S. (Mass MoCA), and the tallest peak in the state (Mt. Greylock).

Nick from peerTransfer

If you ever have the chance, I highly recommend taking a trip out to this part of Massachusetts. Autumn is an especially great time to visit; people come from across the country to see the leaves change color.

How did you grow up and did you travel a lot?

I guess you could say I’m one of the lesser-traveled members of the peerTransfer team. Aside from the occasional trip to Canada during college and a few family vacations in Bermuda, I’ve spent just about my entire life in the U.S.

Because my personal international travel experience is limited, I’m incredibly interested in learning more from people who have lived and experienced many parts of the world.

Where did you go to school and what did you study?

I graduated in 2009 from Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, VT. While at SMC, I studied psychology and economics.

While at college, was it hard for you to make friends? How did you “bond” with people?

I loved making new friends in school! After all, being in an environment with so many people from so many places around the world in one place, there are endless stories to tell and things to learn. This doesn’t mean making friends was always easy. Like many people, I entered school afraid that I would never have people to hang out with.

I started making friends when I realized that everyone around me was just as nervous about meeting people as I was. When I decided to leave my room and begin getting involved on campus, friends seemed to come from everywhere: class, clubs, parties, even around town. The key was to stay active and enter any scenario with a friendly attitude and an open mind.

Another tip for meeting people is to visit new places on campus. I often find that I have the best conversations with new people when I’m lost and looking for directions. Just a couple weeks ago, I was visiting Pace University and had the opportunity to spend some time with a very nice international student from China who helped me find where I needed to go!

My favorite quote about making friends comes from Zig Zigler: ““If you go out looking for friends, you’re going to find they are very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”

Nick from peerTransfer

Do you have international friends?

I learned about many global cultures from international friends at school. Saint Mike’s is a residential college so all students lived right on campus. With everyone eating, going to class, and hanging out in the same place, it was hard NOT to meet people from around the world.

During my time in college and even in highschool, I met and became friends with students from many countries including South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Armenia.

Did you ever approach international students? Or did you only stick to Americans in College?

I was a really outgoing guy in college, so I never really hesitated to approach anyone. Because I love to hear people’s stories and learn more about their experiences, I’ll talk to anyone who seems friendly and has an interesting story to tell. I used to joke that it took a half an hour to take a 5 minute walk on the SMC campus. With so many people to talk to along the way, getting anywhere was always an experience!

What was the most memorable experience you had in college?

While in school, I had the chance to lead and participate in many off-campus retreats. While away from campus on these trips, small groups of students, faculty, and staff members were able to interact and really get to know one another. Participants (myself included) were often nervous in the days leading up to these trips. But by the time we returned to campus, we had all made dozens of new friends.

Nick and his friends

What was the hardest thing you experienced?

Like many students, time management was one of the biggest challenges I faced while at school. With all the clubs, classes, and new opportunities available, it’s easy to create a full schedule. For me, leading a number of retreats and clubs while balancing two majors and an on-campus job meant I had to plan my days carefully.

Being able to visualize my schedule helped me a lot with my time management skills. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the things on your plate or find yourself forgetting assignments or meetings, I recommend picking up an agenda book or a big calendar. Seeing what’s up ahead can relieve a lot of pressure.

What is the one advice you’d give every student?

“Don’t anticipate. Participate” Moving to a new place or trying something new can be scary, making it easy to worry about all the things that can go wrong. Sometimes, though, the best thing you can do is put your fears to the side and live in the moment. Try new things, talk to people, take exciting classes, join a  unique club. College is one of the few times in your life that you’ll get to experiment and do things you otherwise wouldn’t do. Make sure you make the most of it!


One Response to iStudent Corner: American Nick meeting International Students in the U.S.

  1. Great post! That was interesting.I like your quality that you put into your post.Please do continue with more like this.

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