PHOTO ESSAY: I’m Natural and Protected Just Like My Hair


By Aryanna Russell

Social media has started a trend that is sweeping across the screens of black women and girls. The Natural Hair Movement. Black women no longer feel that they must conform to eurocentric standard of beauty in order to be worthy.

They are no longer frying their gorgeous locks nor are they lathering them in harmful chemicals. Black women and girls are choosing to represent their people’s rich history through styles like braids, twists, and a loose afro. Throughout the photo essay you’ll notice vibrant colors and florals that bring out the traditional african hairstyles, but they also represent the feelings of freshness, purity, naturality, and strength of going natural.

The purpose of this photo essay is not shame women and girls who straighten their hair, but show to them how it looks and feels to be natural and protected just like your hair.

The Grill: A blast to the past

Features, Opinion

By Anna Hicks

The Classic City is not only known for its openness to new musicians, trends and great food, but also its timeless traditions. The Grill, a 50’s diner themed restaurant, is a place where it all comes together.

Located in the heart of downtown Athens, The Grill is one of the most nostalgic and recognizable restaurants near UGA’s campus. It’s one of the few places in Athens that is open 24/7, making it the perfect place for students and locals alike to snag a midnight snack. Opened in 1981 by Bob Russo, it is the second oldest restaurant in the city and is a place of wistful nostalgia for many alumni.

“I have many special memories at The Grill, from going with my parents before a football game as a child, to taking my own children there when we come to visit Athens,” Jennifer Wolford, a UGA alumni says. “It’s become a three generational tradition for us.”

Russo, a native New Yorker, moved to Athens to open a steakhouse, but soon began to open other international restaurants as well, including Gyro Wrap and Chow Goldstein. Russo’s introduction of international cuisine helped expand the food scene in Athens for years to come.

Although traditions and memories can make a place feel special, delicious food is often what brings people together and The Grill does not disappoint. As a diner-themed restaurant, a good burger with fries and a milkshake is often what people go there for. They offer a wide selection of burgers from bacon cheeseburgers to veggie burgers to burgers with onions and mushrooms, in addition to their hand cut fries with feta dressing. The feta cheese dressing is a one-of-a-kind homemade recipe you can’t find anywhere else in Athens.

“The feta dressing was really good, the chunks of feta made it amazing,” says rising senior Jayla Brown, after trying it for the first time. “It isn’t like sauces you find anywhere else, it’s different. I would definitely choose that over ketchup or honey mustard with my fries.”

Another trademark recipe of The Grill is their classic, malt milkshake. The shakes come in three flavors: vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, and each one is made with fresh milk and a scoop of their powered malt. These creamy milkshakes make for the perfect late night snack to get with friends.

As a vintage, 50s diner themed restaurant, many would not think of The Grill as a place to find healthier and dietary friendly meals, but like much of Athens, The Grill has adapted to many of its customers needs and now offers vegan and vegetarian options, such as salads and veggie burgers.

“It was a surprise for me to learn they offered vegetarian and vegan options,” rising senior Scarlett Reicher says. “It can be hard for people with dietary restrictions to find places to eat and The Grill wouldn’t have been the first place I’d have thought to look.”

The Grill is an Athens staple filled with great food and memories for low prices. Although the older building could be cleaner and use updating, the authentic feel is what many customers like. Located right across from The Arch, it’s central location is ideal for UGA students and visitors. It’s definitely an experience worth trying on the next visit to Athens.

“When I think of Athens and The Arch, The Grill immediately comes to mind,” Wolford says. It’s one of the few places in downtown that has stayed and has really become a staple of the community. I couldn’t imagine Athens without it.”

Media and Leadership Academy Teaches Real World Skills to Students


By Bridget Frame

The Media and Leadership Academy is a one-week camp held at the University of Georgia by the Grady College. It is attended by students from all over the nation, who are pursuing different forms of communication studies. The students join one of four mass communication tracks: entertainment, broadcast journalism, advertising and public relations, and website journalism.

As Scholastic Outreach Coordinator at Grady, Stephanie Moreno is the director of the Media and Leadership Academy. “The Media and Leadership Academy is one of our biggest outreach programs,” says Moreno.

The outreach is effective, with students coming from states across the U.S. This year’s group is especially diverse, with around 60 students. The program has sparked an interest among these students. “This brings together students from all over the country, from all different life experiences and programs, and that’s what makes it so unique,” Moreno says.

The public relations and advertising track is filled with students wishing to explore what it takes to work in the field. The students are taught by Tom Cullen who says he was “impressed with this groups ability to be flexible to anything I’ve asked of them. They’ve achieved what I would expect of Major students on the AD/PR track.”

The students have worked on creating social media and a PR campaign for a local charity. Spencer Bullard says he chose the PR and Advertising program because he “wants to pursue it in Grady college in the fall.” He will be attending as a rising freshman.  

Maggie Hynes says her favorite part of the program “was visiting an agency. It was nice to see what a real job would look like in PR.”

The group visited the Jackson-Spalding Agency to see how a PR firm functioned.

Paige Cotter says “my favorite part about the program was Professor Tom. He’s done a great job of explaining the Ad and PR side of the world.”

The journalism broadcast track is a lively group. They have been producing a 20-minute newscast and done both behind the camera work and live camera work. Amber Jones, a student in the track, said “I want to pursue this track because it is a good opportunity to get closer to something I want to do.”

Michael Howard has goals for his future as well. “I picked the track because my dream to be a sports broadcaster…I hope this program will help me get there,” he said.

Chloe Franklin says, “I liked recording and going out to film stuff and learning how to put everything together and editing it.”

Many students in the summer program expressed an interest in sports journalism. “My favorite part of this week so far is learning about all the things that actually go on in broadcast journalism, also it’s corny, but the friends I made here, because everyone is really nice,” Sydney Smith said.

The entertainment track created a video project for this week.

Kelsey Henderson says, “I would say my favorite part was our first day of class specifically. We watched a lot of trailers and we reviewed them and gave our own perspective and it was good to hear everybody’s different perspective and be in a room of people with common interests.” The tracks enable students to work on a specified subject with others who share an interest in that subject.

AJ Dodd says “my favorite part was making a commercial. I like that because it gave a taste of what we’re doing now in entertainment and it taught me how to better interact and work with a group.” The campers in the program participated in various projects and worked individually and collaboratively to complete them.

The website journalism track produced The Greatest Gazette ( and wrote and reported several journalistic stories and opinion pieces.

“I like this program a lot because it helps me get more experience,” Aryanna Russell says.

“The class really taught me a lot. I learned different techniques on how to write articles which was really beneficial because I haven’t had much experience with it before,” Jenna Lo says.

During the evening, students participate in various activities throughout the week, including an escape room and bowling. This social aspect has brought campers together to form close bonds. “My favorite part of this week has been getting to meet a bunch of new people and make lots of new friends because that is one of my favorite things to do,” Paul Miller, Jr. says.  

Another social aspect that benefits students is simply living in the dorms, eating in the dining hall and getting to live like a college student for a week. “My favorite part was experiencing the college part of it,” Hunter Rensink says. “It’s kinda like a little taste test of college and hanging out with everybody, experiencing, and getting to know a lot about what’s coming up in the future ahead of me.”

The week in which the Media and Leadership Academy has taken place has been filled with friendship and hard work. Students have worked tirelessly all week to create their projects. They have seen what a college experience is like. The bonds formed here are strong as well as the exciting memories made.

Being A Masculine Woman And Non-Binary In The LGBTQ Commuity


By Nikkia Bell

As a masculine woman I’ve always been comfortable with myself, but I noticed that when I’m around unfamiliar people I feel uncomfortable. I worry about what they may think about me and whether or not they’re judging me. I’m not used to feeling uncomfortable and this is something I recently discovered.

When someone meets me for the first time they assume that I’m a guy and they refer to me as one. Some people even think that I would prefer to be called male pronouns. When I have to correct people and tell them that I’m a girl it’s embarrassing, especially when people think its funny. When I assume I’m never going to see someone again and they misgender me I just ignore it. No one wants to correct every person they encounter about their gender, It’s a waste of time and inconvenient.  

My drumline instructor still misgenders me after knowing me for two years and I’ve told him multiple times that I’m a female. At this point I don’t care whether he gets it right or wrong anymore.

When I’m in public with my mom and they talk to someone they know or meet someone, the person asks, “Is this your son?” My mom used to correct them and say “no this is my daughter.” Now she just says “yes” and keeps it moving. These situations don’t bother me. I find it funny because my mom feels the same way I do about it. I correct people in public sometimes and other times I don’t care.

Opinion writer for The Red And Black, MK Manoylov, identifies as non-binary but is leaning towards being transgender. They’ve dealt with being misgendered as well.

“I work at the Grill and I was cleaning the women’s bathroom and I forgot to lock the door behind me. A woman came in and started screaming because they thought I was a man.”

Manoylov uses the men’s bathroom to avoid situations like this.

“I understand how I look I’m very male-passing so I understand that women feel uncomfortable with that,” said Manoylov.

Being misgendered is something that can’t be avoided. People can’t help the way they look or the way people perceive them. Yet, being misgendered and other situations that LGBTQ people encounter are uncomfortable to be in.

Hopefully as society becomes more accepting of LGBTQ people and issues, hopefully people will stop making gender assumptions. As noted earlier, I’m very comfortable with myself. You should be, too.

Punk Culture’s Influence on Politics


By Mira Eashwaran

Punk music is typically labeled as a loud, obnoxious, and raucous cacophony of sounds varying from screechy guitar riffs to drum solos that can penetrate even the loudest crowd. It practically dominated the music scene in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, airing the laundry about mental illness, drugs, depression, politics and love. Green Day, a belligerent band incepted in Berkeley, California in 1986, still is known for being deliberately outspoken on politics, reaching their peaks during the Reagan, George W. Bush, and Trump Administrations.

Green Day, with its outspoken lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong, published their groundbreaking political album American Idiot in 2004, three years after planes crashed through the Twin Towers in New York City and one year after the U.S. invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam Hussien’s government.

“The war on terror plays right into the kind of war that the supposed terrorists want to have with this jihad,” Armstrong told the Rolling Stone in 2005. “All of a sudden it’s not about terrorism. All of a sudden it becomes Christianity against Islam – and nothing can get the blood boiling of the fundamentalist Muslims than something like that.”

Armstrong, now a husband and father, also went through his fair share of struggle during the Vietnam War. His uncle Jay was shot during Vietnam while jumping midair in a parachute.

“From the youngest age I can remember, I thought, ‘Going in the military equals death at a young age.’ That scared the sh*t out of me and made no sense to me whatsoever,” Armstrong told John Colapinto from the Rolling Stone.

Armstrong says that he writes his songs to understand what he feels, especially during times that conversation is stagnant and invisible. He wrote the band’s bass-lined hit “Holiday” with an “apocalyptic way of writing.” Amstrong wrote the bridge of “Holiday” by pulling in phrases from Nazi Germany, the Senate, France and California. Armstrong, a polarizing force in punk music and politics, screams about the disinformation and haziness of the political environment surrounding the Iraq War, singing on the track that “this is our lives on holiday” and told Rolling Stone that the song was about people “just being stupid, tuning out and not paying attention to what’s going on”.

Armstrong isn’t the only punk rocker that understands the importance of punk culture and music culture on politics and general society. Ian Hemerlein is a graduate of the University of Georgia in Athens and his band, Kwazymoto, specializes in “experimental” music and “noise rock.” Hemerlein is 23 and majored in environmental economics and completed the Music Business Certificate at the Terry Institute. Hemerlein, who plays guitar and sings for the band, works with his friend and drummer Kody Blackmon.

Punchy Punk
Ian Hemerlein (guitar) and Kody Blackmon (drums) plays at the Caledonia Lounge on April 6, 2019 at a show celebrating their EP release. Photo by Mike White of Deadly Designs.

Although Hemerlein identifies as apolitical and indifferent to politics, he believes that “a lot of times people assume that stuff in music has to be influenced by outside forces like other bands, culture and politics. But I’m more of a fan of being a representation of your experience and being influenced by your thoughts, feelings, and experiences and looking into yourself.”

Hemerlein recounts his interest in grunge band Nirvana in high school, and says that “songs like ‘Pauly’ and ‘Rape Me’ by Nirvana definitely reflected an anti-misogynistic viewpoint that Kurt Cobain had that I thought it was cool to see, especially in 90’s grunge music. A lot of heavy music was predominantly a white-male dominated scene, so it was cool that he was an early advocate of that sort of thing.”

In terms of Green Day’s iconic song, Hemerlein said he thinks that Armstrong was “trying to make a statement on how a lot of times with these bureaucratic systems we have in place with war and the way we can treat each other. I think it can make us as people look hypocritical…”

“We have a lot of places on paper, like in our actual Constitution and religious texts that a lot of Americans use, that say that we’re supposed to be in unity and be loving and at peace with each other. But it seems like more of the time than not, we’re actually engaging in very anti-peaceful behaviors, like sending people to war.”

“I like that [punk has] always been, it can be political or not, like an attitude. To me, the attitude is…that you can say whatever you think, which is why there’s all different kinds of punk music and eras of it and how it’s affected politics and culture. It’s a way to state an opinion in a blunt, direct way,” said Hemerlein. “It really emphasizes freedom of speech in a way that freedom of speech doesn’t actually exist. Freedom of speech is supposed to be this thing that we can say whatever we want, but there’s actually a ton of ways in which we’re all censored because people are extremely offended by things. In the punk realm, I feel like [freedom of speech] exists more.”

Punk culture has had an intense effect on politics, from the Iraq War to the current political climate. It’s meant to be unleashed, free and liberating. Punk rockers today are exercising their freedom of speech enshrined in the Constitution, with no holding back.  

“Rock & roll should be dangerous,” Armstrong told Rolling Stone. “It should be striking and stir questions.”

According to Rolling Stone, as an explosive leather-ridden punk idol once screamed into a microphone, “They don’t have the power! You’re the f*ckin’ leaders! We elect these people into office! Don’t let them dictate your life or tell you what to do!”

Becoming Naturally Me

Features, Opinion

By Jordan Owens

Originally posted on

Finding identity through hair

For a while, I have been struggling with my identity.

It is hard living in a community that is majority white while having friends and family from a mostly black community. When I visit them I am always questioned on if I am black enough. When I come back home, I feel  like I am being judged because I am too black. Sometimes it feels like I can never just be me.

As a consequence of this, over the past couple of years, I have had to figure out what kind of person I am, whether it is sometimes playing into some of those black stereotypes or embracing what it means to live in Peachtree City.

As part of my journey with my identity, I decided to learn more about my hair. Not the hair that gets straightened every two to three weeks, but the one that is naturally a thick, curly afro. I researched why so many black women get their hair permed, known as relaxed, and straightened, known as pressed, since I have always gotten it that way like all of the other black women I have grown up around.

I learned that getting a relaxer in your hair or getting it pressed was and still is being used as a form of oppression to get black women to fit into more of a European society.

With this new realization and the fascination with my natural hair, I decided to set off on a year-long challenge of not straightening or putting any kind of chemically straightening products in my hair.

This challenge for me started on April 3, 2018, just after Easter, and at first, it was not much of a challenge. Since every summer I get my hair braided, that year was no different. Then when school started up, I had crochet weave for about two weeks, and after that, it was back to braids for marching band season.

Considering I used braids as somewhat of a shortcut to this challenge for most of the first semester of school, my first experience with my natural hair was amazing. After I took out the braids, washed my hair, and styled it the way I wanted, I thought my hair looked incredible.

Though that did not stop the fears of how I thought my peers would react. From reactions I had read online with other women doing the same thing, I thought many would say my hair just looked like a nappy mess. However, when I went to school that day, I heard the most compliments I’ve ever received for my hair.

Things did not end up getting harsh until the second semester when I did not have as many extracurriculars. At that point, I had to actually care for my hair myself.

Since no one in my family handles their natural hair daily, I could not ask them for help. There were so many days where I had to keep my hair in a ponytail and so many days where I wanted to quit because I was just so overwhelmed.

Eventually, I was able to manage my hair, thanks to a natural hair salon in Atlanta. They told me more about my hair texture and what type of products I could and could not put in it. They also said that because of my hair being pressed all my life, and the heat damage it caused, I was not going to be able to get it as natural as it was when I was born.

Hearing this deeply hurt me. Trying to get most of my natural curl pattern back became the major reason to why I was doing this one year challenge.

In those last two weeks, I got into a routine of washing and twisting my hair the night before, then untwisting and letting it fall the day of school. No comb, no brush, some oil to make it look shiny, and that was it.

When the year was up, I scheduled a hair appointment to get my hair straightened to see how long it had gotten. As the days got closer I became scared at the thought of losing my curls again and causing even more heat damage.

After I had gotten my hair pressed I felt weird, and the person I was looking at in the mirror did not feel like me anymore. It felt like a stranger, and I did not like it. That was when I promised myself I would not straighten my hair again unless I wanted to, not because I felt like I had to.

I would highly recommend trying this one year challenge. It not only gives you a chance to truly see your natural hair but with the experience, you can learn so much about yourself.

Prepare and get to know your hair. Do some research, or go to someone who has experience with natural hair, because jumping right into it is not a good idea. Without preparing, you will not know what kind of products to use, and that could cause further damage.

Also, keep in mind that just because you want to go natural does not mean it is easier to handle — in some ways it is actually kind of harder. Do not give up just because people tell you they don’t like it or because it seems too difficult. If this is something you truly want to do, then do it.

Straightening your hair one time to see how long it has gotten does not mean it will go back to being completely damaged. Just keep your hair natural and do not press it repeatedly for an excessive amount of time, then your curl pattern will get better over time.

Even though my goal with this challenge was to see if I would like having natural hair, I have ended up learning a lot about myself and the kind of person I am. I have learned that only I can identify myself.

Oppression by straightening hair has already started to change, so there is no need to be afraid anymore.

Botanical Gardens Gives Fresh Produce to Athens Community

Features, News

By Charlotte Luke

This summer, the Dig and Grow area of the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia bursts with delicious colors and smells: purple, red, and yellow stalks of chard, fragrant leaves of basil, tiny tomatoes budding from their vines, kale curling out of the soil.

More than 1,000 edible plants grown from seed by the Garden’s greenhouse manager, Melanie Parker, were planted in January 2018. Today, Dig and Grow is a thriving source of fresh vegetables and herbs and an important opportunity for “children [to] learn at an early age that vegetables don’t come from the grocery store originally,” said Ann Frierson, an advisory board member of the Botanical Garden for three decades.

But in addition to providing an “edible gardening experiential learning gallery,” said Cora Keber, Director of Education at the Botanical Garden, Dig and Grow provides fresh produce for people in the Athens community.

After the grand opening of the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden in March, the Botanical Garden partnered with Campus Kitchen, a student-run hunger relief program of the UGA Office of Service-Learning. Specifically, much of the produce grown in the Dig and Grow area of the Children’s Garden supports Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, a program through Campus Kitchen in which participants receive pre-made meals and a bag of fresh produce each week.

“We have donated hundreds of pounds of produce since opening in March and will continue to provide to our community whether it be through tasting in the garden, our programs or meals and produce provided by Campus Kitchen,” said Ms. Keber.

Dig and Grow and the Botanical Garden cultivate food and educational experiences, but Ann Frierson said she also envisions the Garden as a nice escape for visitors.

“The beauty of this garden is that it exposes people to nature which is becoming something harder and harder to experience as we become a concrete jungle, and to be able to get out within nature is critical to everyone’s state of mind.”

The grounds of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia are open Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

Food Waste on College Campuses

Features, News

By Elyssa Abbott

One in six Americans are unsure where their next meal will come from, even though 40% of food prepared never even touches the plate.

“Certainly, the statistics on waste and food insecurity are staggering and it is natural to wonder why one issue [waste] isn’t being used to address the other [hunger],” said Brenna Ellison, associate professor in Agriculture and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois. “Even though there is legislation to protect organizations who donate uneaten food in good faith, many are still concerned that they could be held liable if someone were to get sick from the donated food. One way to increase benefits to donating organizations would be to provide some sort of tax incentives where they would be willing to incur the costs of redistributing food.”

According to HuffPost, 130 billion pounds of food are discarded each year. U.S. colleges alone waste 22 million pounds of food per year. Due to the popular buffet style found on college campuses, food waste is overwhelmingly high. In addition to the “all-you-care-to-eat” dining approach the University of Georgia and schools around the country follow, the conveyor belt designed to transport dishes back to the kitchen allows students to not feel responsible for the waste they created. A common characteristic of college students is saving the most amount of money possible, which leads to purchasing groceries in bulk. Often times, the food will spoil before eaten.

In American colleges, a meal plan that typically includes five meals a week can cost anywhere from $720-$1850 for a single semester. Students understand that this is pricey and will fill multiple plates of food to receive the full value out of their meal plan investment. As imagined, the wide array of options found in dining halls skews perception to overestimate how much they can actually eat. After paper, food waste is the second largest contributor to waste due to the carelessness of college dining hall tactics.

The 22 million pounds of food colleges waste each year also includes food that never touches the plate. Dining hall food managers have the incredibly difficult job of estimating how many students will visit the dining hall that particular day, as well as determining the amount of food each will eat. Different foods and genres will be eaten more than others, so this task provides a challenge. Colleges across the country have begun implementing programs and different approaches to college dining.

The University of Georgia is one of the few schools that have switched to, “tray-less,” dining halls. This cuts down on the amount of plates a single student can carry. Still, colleges often use the “all-you-care-to-eat” (AYCTE) aspect to their advantage when recruiting.

“However, an a la carte or pay by weight pricing system would most likely result in less waste as students now have a financial incentive to think more carefully about the foods they select and waste,” Ellison said. “Other ways dining halls could reduce waste could be by using different serviceware (e.g., smaller plates, smaller scoops); offering samples; or pre-portioning items (instead of self-service). Each potential change has its own associated costs, though, which have to be considered. For example, offering samples may reduce food waste but could increase packaging waste (extra sample cups/silverware) or water use (if sample dishes are used).”

Simple solutions may be the most efficient way to overcome drastic food waste. A 2011 study with 600 university student participants found that more than 57 grams of food were wasted per student. After researchers issued a message to the students about food waste, it decreased by 15 percent. Posting signs in the dining halls could be an easy fix to diminish food waste on campus. Dining halls choosing to reduce portion sizes or reuse untouched leftovers are possibilities, but come with liability risk and controversy. At Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California, resident halls have received solar-powered food composters to accommodate those that choose to grocery shop. The University of California, Davis, has started a student led program that collects near 2,000 pounds a week in carrot peels and coffee grounds from the school’s waste to compost the items into a material donated to community gardens. Food Recovery Network, a well-known student driven program at the University of Maryland, recovered 30,000 meals compiled of untouched leftovers in their first active year. The meals were given out around the D.C. area, a community where one in seven households struggle with hunger.

The immense amount of waste that comes from college campuses, communities that receive recognition for cutting-edge innovations and renowned studies, should outrage people. Colleges have the resources to fix this problem and improve hunger rates in the U.S., as well as elsewhere. Typical buffet style dining halls serve as a detriment to those that struggle with hunger, simply because loading an unnecessary amount of food onto a plate   appeals to 18 year olds when searching for higher education.

In a 2013 article with Canadian Broadcasting Corporation , José Graziano da Silva, director of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, said a solution has to happen.“We simply cannot allow one-third of all the food we produce to go to waste or be lost because of inappropriate practices, when 870 million people go hungry every day.”

Seoul to Athens


By Elyssa Abbott

Originating from Seoul, South Korea, Solyee Kim has taken her education all across the world, from Germany to Georgia.

After receiving her undergraduate degree in public relations at Chung-Ang University in Seoul, South Korea, Kim landed in Athens in 2014 for graduate school. Her husband taught English in Seoul, and eventually wanted to move back to his roots in Athens. Coincidentally, Kim discovered the University Georgia’s renowned public relations program.

“I thought Georgia was extremely bucolic and green. For me, Athens and Atlanta seemed small to me, which was a new experience,” Solyee Kim said.

Coming from the busy, high-rise lifestyle of Seoul, Kim recalls her very first time seeing the full blue sky without a skyscraper in sight in Georgia. She recognizes the difference between the prominence of public transportation in Athens compared to Seoul, and misses not having to drive everywhere. Kim highlights the difficulties of adjusting to a city that shuts down around 8 p.m. from somewhere that is busy 24/7.

Adjusting to a new environment is one of the many challenges international students face. “Each student’s journey is different, however, international students in general will experience culture shock at some point during their first months on campus,” said Justin Jeffery, director of International Student Life at the University of Georgia. “These students are adjusting to a new cultural setting, a new academic environment, new foods, sometimes a different climate, and doing so while learning and interacting in a language that is most likely not their first language – all while being hundreds of miles away from family and friends. However, international students are incredibly resilient and do a fantastic job adjusting to and thriving at UGA.”

Although she misses Seoul and the friends and family that are far from her, Kim adores the rewarding nature found in Georgia. Luckily, Kim finds herself back in South Korea at least twice a year.

Solyee Kim has taken her interests around the globe, from studying German in Germany for a year and a half to researching global development with the United Nations in New York City for several months. New York was where she began tiring of the big city life.

“When I started in the Southern culture, I did not expect myself to be friendly to people that I did not know,” said Kim. “I never talked to strangers ever, but here everyone says hello to each other even though we do not know each other. I really appreciate the hospitality and I learned a lot from it.”

Culture shock was something that Kim experienced immensely. Adjusting to a different medical and healthcare system challenged Kim because she had to relearn an aspect she already knew in a different language with major differences. Studying somewhere outside of the country comes with a new set of issues. Tuition is more expensive, as well as acceptance rates are lower for international students. Students attending graduate school, like Kim, have to take more tests, including the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Kim found the Trump election especially hard due to the offensive things being openly said about immigrants. Despite the challenges associated with seeking higher education outside of the country, Kim encourages it if a student can afford it and found a program that appeals to their interests.

“I think I am getting used to it. I used to complain a lot,” said Kim. “When I went to New York for a few months, I started getting sick of living in a big city. That was when I realized I was really a Georgian.”