International students adapt to American car culture

By Matias Maquieira / Delta Staff Writer

By the time Americans are in college, most will have a car of their own to use to go wherever they want. But at Missouri Valley College, there are a lot of people that come from foreign countries who don’t have access to a vehicle. 

The biggest pro of having a car is going wherever and whenever, without having to depend on a shuttle or a ride, which means you can make a variety of plans happen quicker. Despite this, there are also some disadvantages because a car is very expensive to maintain especially when it’s used often. 

The students that do not have the privilege of owning a car rely on friends and shuttles to go places like Walmart or to go out for dinner.

“It’s alright not having a car,” said Nacho Simon, a Spanish freshman. “I am lucky to be in the golf team, so when I need a ride I ask my teammates.”

Simon said he could see at least advantage of having his own car, however.

“It would be nice to go out of Marshall sometime and discover new cities and states,” he said. 

The other side is Aman Egge, an American student who’s also on the golf team.

“I know what it is to not have a car and I am always willing to help my friends when I can,” he said. “Sometimes it is difficult to fit everyone in the car because there are only four seats. I never charge my friends when I take them to places because there are just some rides here and there and they cannot do anything about not having a car.” 

Not every international student has to rely on the kindness of friends, however. Some, like Gabriela Aldana of Spain, manage to get a car of their own.

“I bought a car last month and I love the liberty of being able to do different things everyday,” she said. “I am not too worried about the money because buying and maintaining a car is more expensive in Spain than in the United States and I usually ask my friends to help me with some gas money.”

Gabriela took the driver’s license test and got her American license before the Spanish one. Many countries outside of the USA have the minimum age to drive of 18, so quite a fair amount of foreign students don’t even have a license when they get to campus for the first time.

Those without a car or a friend that has one, do have some options. In the past year, an anonymous user created an Instagram account that was exclusively for people from Missouri Valley College to ask for rides in exchange for some money. The college has a free shuttle service on Wednesdays and Sundays to go to Walmart, and the Living Room Bar also gives courtesy rides from and to the college.

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