Simbarashe Runyowa (Simba)

Home Country: Zimbabwe

School: Oberlin College

Year: Freshman

Major: Undecided

Why did you decide to study in the US?

I decided to study in the US because of the diversity of options in the liberal arts curriculum. Because I was interested in a variety of fields and disciplines, I felt like a liberal arts education would be the best way to help me fully engage all of my intellectual interests and develop others that I may not have previously been exposed to or been aware of.

What book, movie or TV show do you think most informed your opinion on what the US would be like? Was it accurate?

I don?t think there was one particular source that influenced my perceptions of the US, but rather my perceptions were built from watching a number of television programs, movies and music videos. Many of the stereotypes I had have been reinforced, like the fact that Americans are very friendly and liberal, while others, like the myth that Americans eat burgers and fries all the time, have been debunked. While burgers and fries are of course delicious, daily consumption of these foods items is neither reasonable nor sustainable. This is one lesson I unfortunately had to learn from personal experience.

What?s one thing you like better about the US than your home country so far?

The casual and friendly nature of American people. Of course people in Zimbabwe are also very friendly, but I found that Americans are much more outgoing and more willing to start a conversation.

What?s one thing you like better about home than the US so far?

I prefer Zimbabwean food to American food! American food is certainly amazing, but I truly miss the familiar and comforting aroma of a wholesome, home cooked meal.

What one thing from home did you make sure to bring with you to the US?

I made sure to bring with me a wide variety of CD?s and mp3?s of my favorite Zimbabwean and African music. It is very comforting when you are missing home, or just want to be reminded of where you come from to be able to listen to sounds and rhythms that take you right back to the place that you probably miss the most.

What typical American thing are you most looking forward to?

I was definitely looking forward to meeting diverse people from all over the world, since the US is where people from all over the world converge. I have had the great opportunity to meet people from as far afield as Thailand and Myanmar to people who hail from right across the street from Oberlin College.

What?s the one thing you most want to teach Americans about your country?

I would love to impart to the richness of Zimbabwean culture and the colorful diversity of our beautiful nation. If I could, I would have packed the warmth of sub-Saharan Africa in my suitcase to share with my American counterparts here in icy Northeastern Ohio!

What emotion have you experienced most since leaving home?

I have experienced a variety of emotions from uncontrollable excitement to nervousness to elation and surprise and back again. On the whole, I have had mostly positive emotions about my new environment and the exciting opportunities that I will be exploring in the next four years.

What?s one thing (academic or not) that you?re really interested in besides your academic major?

I love writing! It is one of my favorite things to do and I am constantly searching for inspiring and compelling stories to document and record through the unique and powerful medium of literature.

What three words do you think your friends would use to describe you?

Driven, spontaneous and silly