A line runs down the middle of Sophia Katz’s room in Morrison Residence Hall — her side has a varied color palette, with white bedding, a red futon and art from her summer printmaking class, while her roommate’s side is decked out in Carolina Blue.
Katz, a sophomore, was born and raised by American parents in Paris. She said she is careful not to embody the stereotype of the "rude" French, repeating that the cultural differences are merely differences, not better or worse. Still, she said she often feels like a bit of an outsider at UNC.
“I feel more French, without a doubt," Katz said. "Just because France is where I fit in the best, that’s where I grew up, that's the culture I'm accustomed to, that’s how I live. At the same time, I'm very aware of my American-ness.”
This semester, Katz is among the 2,497 international students, including 1,094 undergraduates, who attend UNC.
Nana Oduro-Nyaning’s room in Koury Residence Hall on Sunday had a few reminders of the places he considers home — photos of track meets, a stuffed elephant from a fundraiser and a Bible he brought from his native England. An NFL broadcast played on Oduro-Nyaning's TV since his roommate had suggested he explore American football.
Oduro-Nyaning has lived most of his life in London and has regularly visited Ghana, where much of his extended family still lives.
“It’s really cool to be able to say that, ‘Yeah, I’m British,’ and that’s accepted in the United Kingdom, at the same time I can say, 'Yeah I am Ghanaian,' and that’s accepted back home, so there are two bits to my identity,” Oduro-Nyaning said.
He went to Lancing College, a boarding school on England’s south coast. Many of his friends ended up going to Britain’s elite schools like Oxford and Cambridge, but he knew he wanted something different.
“[Lancing College] was very diverse," Oduro-Nyaning said. "It was pretty international, so I had friends from Hong Kong, Russia, China, Africa and there were London-based people, too.”