International Student Spotlight: Hannah Grace Patton

By Jewell Strock

Hungary is located in eastern Europe and is surrounded by countries such as Romania, Austria, and Croatia. A senior linguistics major, Hannah Grace Patton lived in Hungary until 2020. She grew up in Tat, Hungary, a town of about 5000 people in Northern Hungary. One of Patton’s favorite things about Hungary is the pastries. 

“The kakaós csiga (cocoa snail) is a really yummy pastry that I used to eat growing up,” Patton said. “Bakeries are everywhere and have the best breads and pastries.” 

Living in Cedarville was an abrupt change of life for Patton. Adjusting from city life to small town, middle-of-nowhere life was complicated. Hungary implements public transportation, and getting around Hungary is relatively easy. 

 “II didn’t have a car until Junior year, so I felt very trapped at Cedarville, which was hard. I was pretty independent back home,” Patton said. “Then suddenly, I couldn’t even get to the store without asking someone for a ride. It was a humbling experience having to ask virtual strangers for rides.” 

Patton’s journey to Cedarville was unexpected. She wanted to study in the United States and had heard of Cedarville being a good Christian university. She applied and was accepted, but then the world shut down because of COVID-19. 

“I had never visited and I wasn’t even sure I would be able to come since the Hungarian airports were closed for over a month because of the pandemic. I had no idea what to expect,” Patton said. “I didn’t even research the school that much because I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to come and I didn’t want to get my hopes up. So when I arrived in August, it was my first time on campus and I knew absolutely no one. It was pretty scary but ended up working out just fine.”

Patton lived in Printy during her freshman year. Because of the unit community, she could find friends who made her transition to life in the States much more manageable. She felt out of place with those around her, especially during the pandemic. Her experience as an international student has helped her with embracing new experiences. 

Being from Hungary as well as being an international student, has come with some difficulties.  “ We’re just people. Normal people. Treat us like anyone else. Sometimes I don’t tell people where I’m from,” Patton said. “I just pretend to be from here so that they don’t treat me differently. People can get so weird about it. I’m just a normal person who grew up somewhere else” 

“Even though I miss Hungary, it’s important for me not to mope and to live in the present,” Patton said. “Enjoy the new experiences and learn about the new culture and environment, try to see new things and have fun.”

Jewell Strock is a senior International Studies major & journalist for Cedars. She enjoys matcha, rainy weather, writing, traveling, & Jane Austen.

Photo provided by Hannah Grace Patton

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