BJU students come from different places all over the USA and all over the world. Although Greenville culture is ordinary for those who call it home, students coming from small rural towns, colossal cities and other regions of the U.S. or other countries may find peculiarities about living in this city.
While 88 percent of BJU’s students come from urban clusters (population of at least 2,000 but less than 50,000), 3 percent are from rural towns (population less than 2,000), 3 percent are from urbanized areas (population 50,000 or greater) and 6 percent are international or U.S. citizens who live outside the US.
Danielle Rowe, a freshman business major, comes from the small city of Aberdeen, Washington. She said the biggest cultural contrast she noticed upon coming to Greenville involved the different attitudes of people in the Northwest and the South. She said that she finds Southerners to be more polite than those in the Northwest.
“Where I’m from you rarely hear people say ‘ma’am’ or ‘sir’ like they do in the South. It seems like the culture down here is a lot more respectful than the culture in the Northwest is,” Rowe said. “In the Northwest people may seem a little rude upon first meeting them, but they’re just a little rough around the edges, and they’re actually very sincere people.”
On the other hand, Joseph Chu, a sophomore information technology major, lives just outside of Washington, D.C. He said he finds many differences between Greenville and Washington’s densely populated, urban atmosphere. He explained that the capital’s busyness, heavy traffic, high ethnic diversity, liberal leaning and politically correct culture contrast with Greenville’s relaxed ambience, friendly population and generally conservative, religious culture.
Chu said that he notices a major cultural difference when on campus.
“It’s weird to walk around campus and say hi to people. You don’t really get that at home,” Chu said. “[In Washington,] you get to have time alone to yourself because no one’s trying to bother you.”
Chu also said that the number of churches in the Greenville area was new to him, but something that he appreciated.
However, international students experience the most culture shock by far. Everyday things like driving may pose obstacles to them. Paul Kwok, a freshman creative writing major, lived in Australia his entire life before coming to BJU. He said because Australians drive on the left side of the road, he has to think extra carefully when driving. Kwok also found the modes of humor to be different in the USA.
“Australians tend to like their humor a bit wittier, not as much slapstick,” Kwok said.
Like Chu, Kwok also found the presence of several churches in the area to be something admirable about Greenville. He said that Greenville’s emphasis on religion has been a bit mind opening to him.
“Greenville makes me realize that Australia is very secular. The attitude [of Australians] makes it hard to witness,” Kwok said.
And yet for some students, Greenville is not foreign, but is just like home—or even is their home.
David Schaedel, a junior communication major, has lived in Greenville since the age of 4.
Although Greenville’s culture is multi-faceted, he said it is ordinary to him because he has grown up here. Furthermore, Schaedel said that Greenville being his hometown has affected his college experience. He explained that unlike the majority of students, his first year as a college student was not a time of transition for him.
“I never had the freshman-year experience because I was familiar with everything,” Schaedel said. “This was not a new shocking place. My [first] day at Bob Jones was when I was 5, 16 years ago. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a transition.”
Schaedel said, rather, his transitional experiences have included going to camp and going on a mission trip to Mexico last summer.
“Trips like that, going out of my comfort zone into new places—this has not been done at school, that’s been done outside of school.”
But whether students were raised in Greenville, in small, Northwestern towns, in bustling cities or halfway around the world, they are all brought together on BJU campus.