English exchange student explores American culture while at FMU

Jasmine Moultrie, Staff Writer

After being at Francis Marion University for less than two weeks, Samora “Sam” Parkinson has noticed several differences in the way things are done regarding education, television, food, and hospitality.

Parkinson came to Francis Marion University through the exchange program with De Montfort University (DMU) to study history. He hopes to become a history teacher for middle-school-aged children.

“I would like to teach middle-school children because they are a good age group to teach,” Parkinson said. “I know I wouldn’t be able to teach high-school-age children because I would be passing out detention slips all day.”

Parkinson will spend one semester at Francis Marion University and then he will return to DMU to complete his bachelor’s degree.  There was the option of attending another school within the United States to study history, but his final decision was for FMU.

Coming to South Carolina will be Parkinson’s third time within the United States. His previous visits include Orlando, Fla. and Atlanta, Ga. He visited these places with his family when he was younger.

“I chose Francis Marion University because the presentation of the school was good and people in the South are nice,” Parkinson said.  “People in the South talk to people that they don’t know, whereas in England they don’t do that because everyone has their own agenda and is too busy to talk and try to get to know someone.”

Parkinson discussed the differences between England and United States, such as the structure of classes and the housing arrangements.

“I prefer the way classes are scheduled in England,” Parkinson said. “We don’t attend the same classes every day. I usually attend classes three days out of the week, but here I have no days off. I have to go to class every day.”

Parkinson went on to explain that they only attend classes three to four days out of the week, and they will attend different classes on different days. He takes four classes at his university; everyday he is in a different class.

“I noticed that with the housing arrangements on campus there aren’t co-ed living arrangements,” Parkinson said. “I lived with three girls in an apartment and it was nice. The apartment was always clean.”

When he is not attending classes or studying, he likes to play Playstation 3, watch television and go out to eat.

“I find the television shows here different than in England,” Parkinson said. “The reality shows shown in England are not as exciting as in America. The reality shows here are edited for entertainment value, and the ones in England are not exciting, and what you see is what you get.”

Some reality television shows he enjoys to watch are Operation Repo and Bait Cars.

Parkinson has also visited several restaurants within the area. He noticed when eating at the restaurants in Florence that the portion sizes of food are different than in England.

The portion size difference was recognizable when he went to McDonald’s to order his usual two Big Mac meals.

“In England I usually have to order two Big Mac meals to fill me up because the meals are small,” Parkinson said. “But when I got my meal here I was surprised at the amount of food that I received. I knew I was going to be full after I ate.”

Parkinson said that the portion size of a medium meal served at McDonalds in America is considered to be a large in England.

Parkinson does not believe that the portion sizes being served in America is the only factor that contributes to the ongoing obesity problem, but the way the food is prepared and the additional amount of fat that is added by condiments.

“When I went to Waffle House, I saw people drowning their waffles in maple syrup and in butter, and I think that is the actually problem,” Parkinson said.

With the time that Parkinson will spend at the university he is looking forward to attending several events that are offered on campus and engaging in the college night life.

“I haven’t gone out to a party yet, but hopefully I will get a chance to see if it will be like anything on the movies and reality television shows,” Parkinson said.