Small Things That Confused Me as an International Student at IU

Confused person says 'what'

As an international student at IU, there are a few things I’ve discovered about living in America that have caused me quite a bit of confusion.

“Chai Tea”

A person drinks tea out of a cup

“Chai” literally means “tea” in Pakistan. When people in the United States use the term “Chai Tea”, it basicallytranslates as “Tea tea”, which I find quite amusing. If you were to use the term “Masala Chai” or “Masala Tea”, it would make sense to me. This redundancy continues again with “Naan Bread”. You see, “Naan” is a type of bread, thus the word itself is enough to describe what it means.

Opening Doors

Holding doors funny gif
It really is a good habit to open doors for others out of common courtesy. Back home, you can leave the door open if someone is directly behind you, but to wait for someone to get to the door is unusual. Every time someone opens the door for me, it becomes a race. The timer is set at 5 seconds and if you fail, you end up feeling guilty for having let somebody stand longer than usual.

Space around bathroom doors

A comic strip
Why? WHY? I just don’t get it. It’s not just one bathroom, but all of them. What possible utility do you derive out of that small space around the stall doors? I have made eye contact with so many people in the mirror and just don’t know what to do next.  It’s not only awkward for the one inside the stall, but also for the one outside. Don’t get me wrong…it’s not like I enjoy peeking into stalls. It just happens accidentally while you’re looking for open stalls.

Food Portions and Variety

Grocery shopping
Before arriving, I already had an idea that food portions would be big, but they are HUGE. Hey, the more food the merrier. I’m not complaining. Also, the variety is AMAZING. I’ve never had so many options for a single loaf of bread. Kroger is probably one of the most intimidating places I’ve ever been.

Just thought I’d share part of my culture shock experience at IU. Don’t worry…there’s still a lot more left to add 😛

Maheera Moinuddin
Maheera Moinuddin

Economic Consulting

Hey guys! I am a transfer student from Pakistan currently studying Economic Consulting and Technology Management at IU. I enjoy eating and have a strong addiction to chocolate. Apart from eating my hobbies include watching movies and listening to music (#seriouseffortrequired). As a slightly socially awkward individual I would really love if you guys could reach out to me to be friends.

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