Pumpkin Spice Latte and Memes, Things Learned Through the Global Exchange Program

One of the options for Residential Learning Communities (RLCs) is the Global Exchange program. This program provides an opportunity for domestic University of Scranton students and international and exchange students to live together and make connections across many cultures. 

Left to right: Nica Manasseri ’21, Andrea Lo ’20, Tori Gainey ’21 and Lauren Friedrich ’21.

The program is for juniors and seniors at the University. Three students who want to live together can apply for the program for a chance to live with an international/exchange student. We spoke with a group that participates in the Global Exchange program. The four apartment residents are Nica Manasseri ’21, Tori Gainey ’21, Lauren Friedrich ’21 and Andrea Lo ’20. 

Their regular roommate set to be part of this apartment is abroad for the semester, so this created the perfect opportunity for the group to welcome Lo to live with them for the semester.

“We wanted to meet more people and experience different cultures,” Gainey said.

Lo is an exchange student from Taiwan who studies English literature at the University.

“I’ve always wanted to come to the U.S. and study for a short time. I looked at my school’s study abroad programs and this is closest to New York, which was important to me because my mom has a friend living there. It thought it would be easier to be close to someone,” Lo said.

Students in the program live in an apartment on the first or second floor of Pilarz. All participating apartments are on the same floor, which allows for programs among the apartments. Throughout the semester (or year, depending on availability and preference), each apartment hosts an event to share food, traditions and customs of their exchange/international students. These events allow students to learn about various cultures. 

“Our program is going to be bubble tea and Korean fried chicken,” Gainey said.

This apartment group has meshed well with Lo. 

“I like how much we have in common with Andrea. She likes memes; I like memes,” Manasseri said.

The four have also found and discussed the many differences between their home countries.

“This is Andrea’s first Pumpkin Spice Latte,” Gainey said while pointing at Lo’s Starbucks drink.

“It’s really good!” said Lo. “As for the other food here, I don’t hate it. I do miss the food at home, though. I often cook noodles for myself in the apartment,” Lo said.

Something that Lo does prefer in the states is the teaching and class style. “The professors teach differently. In Taiwan they only lecture, which is boring. Here the professors want students to think critically. I like the way professors teach classes here much better,” Lo said.

As for Scranton as a whole, Lo has felt comfortable as part of the community.

“I think the people here are welcoming and nice,” Lo said.

The group recommends the Global Exchange program to anyone interested in applying.

“It’s a really cool experience,” Friedrich said.

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