The last few weeks, I’ve been writing about studying abroad in another country than the United States (South Africa, Spain and Colombia, for example). But what about students who come to CU from other countries?

CU’s population includes Buffs who spend multiple years “roaming” in Boulder as international students.

Maher Alkendi is a freshman architectural engineering major from Oman. Maher has been in Boulder since 2010, spending last year learning English at the International English Center (IEC) a center run by CU. I got the chance to talk to him about his experiences here in Boulder.

What do you think of Boulder and the United States?

My favorite things about Boulder are the nice people and the amazing nature and all the activities that come with it.

My favorite thing about the USA is that it is a big country. During the breaks we have a huge variety of places to go to and all these places are different from each other.

My least favorite thing about the USA is the fact that people here don’t know much about the world outside North America, and people here don’t seem to be interested in meeting and knowing international students and learning about them and where they come from.

What are your friends in Boulder like?

Most of my friends here are international students from around the world; however, I do have a number of amazing American friends. Unfortunately, it’s hard to make American friends; it’s easier for me to make international friends since they are in the same boat as me and go through the same things as me.

What was it like learning English at the IEC?

My experience at the International English Center was amazing. I got to meet many other students from around the world, who are some of my best friends now. I also met many amazing teachers who helped me a lot in improving my English.

Before coming to Boulder I had a respectable amount of knowledge in English. Because of that, I was able to get into a high level in the IEC, and even though I thought it wouldn’t add anything, I was surprised at how much I learned about the English language.

Have you been homesick? How do you deal with it?

I have experienced homesickness a lot. (I’ve) stayed in the USA for a year now without going back so I really miss home.

I deal with this problem by hanging out with other international students and by trying to participate in as many activities in CU, Boulder, or Colorado as I can.

What do you do for fun?

For fun, I usually watch movies with other international students or do activities like hiking and camping. I’ve participated in some student groups like the Muslim Student Association, the Middle Eastern Student Association, and the Saudi Student Association, which are fun for me too.

What are some cultural differences you’ve run into?

The way people joke here is very different from how it is at home, like the way people use sarcasm. Students here seem to love to party and go to bars and clubs. Back home it is very different — people don’t go to bars for fun (they don’t even drink). A party or a gathering here is not complete without alcohol. Back home, it’s not even an option for us, as it is not allowed in Islam.

To get to know other international students like Maher, check out international coffee hour in the UMC, Fridays at 4 p.m.

Jessica Ryan is a junior media studies major at CU-Boulder. She writes about study abroad experiences once a week for the Colorado Daily. On Twitter: @JessicaLRyan.