Foreign Perspective: Greek Life

If you’ve ever studied abroad, then you know what it’s like to be submerged in an entirely foreign culture. But have you ever wondered what it’s like on the flip side of the experience – what it’s like for someone going abroad to America? Join columnists Amy Chilcott, of Australia, and Kasumi Hirokawa, of China, as they encounter all things American and Penn State – and tell it as they see it the way only one with a foreign perspective can.

Matakas.RecruitmentNowWhat1When I told my friends back in Australia that I was going to join a sorority I got quite negative reactions: Aren’t sorority girls stupid? Why would you want to join one of those?! Wait, are you serious? I thought you were joking.

I didn’t really understand exactly what a sorority was, but I had heard that it was a great way to make friends and get involved with campus life.

Rushing was intense; I’ve never experienced anything like it before. Over eight nights, you spend about 30 hours going around to the sororities meeting girls.  Things I learned in the first few nights (open houses) include: how to pronounce Pi Chi, lining 55 people up in alphabetical order takes a lot of time, the life stories of the girls in front and behind me in the line, and my answer to “how did you choose to come to Penn State?” Over the next few nights I saw plenty of girls crying when they didn’t get call-backs to certain sororities (seriously, there are worse things that can happen…).

Bid Day was exciting. Opening your envelope and seeing that you were offered a bid from your favorite sorority makes you feel pretty happy. Then you spend the rest of that night attempting to learn the names of everyone else in your pledge class (and the pledge classes were big this year, so it’s no easy task), as well as getting to know the older sisters.

It’s been just over a week since Bid Day, and my calendar for the next month is full: meetings, activities for homecoming, canning, dinners and other activities. I’ve also been bombarded with over 100 Facebook friend requests.  While greek life isn’t for everyone, I think as an international student it’s a good way to meet a lot of people and become more involved in campus life (and American culture). I’m excited to be getting such a full American college experience; my friends back home don’t know what they’re missing.

Photo by Lauren Matakas

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