International student shines in SDSU athletics

by Jasmine Bermudez, Senior Staff Writer

Georgina Bourke is a junior interdisciplinary studies major from Wellington, New Zealand.

She moved to San Diego in 2015 to be part of the San Diego State rowing team.

“When I got here everyone was friendly and I didn’t have a problem fitting in,” Bourke said.

She said adjusting to American culture was not hard for her because of how much she moved growing up.

Bourke was born in England, moved to New Zealand when she was 10 and spent three years living with her family in Dubai.

She said she decided to come to SDSU while in Spain during the summer of 2015.

“It was an amazing summer, but I realized I was really sick of waking up every morning and deciding what to do with my day,” she said. “I wanted structure.”

Bourke said the only thing she knew about American culture were the stereotypes in American movies.

She said one of the first things she noticed when she came to SDSU were the many cultures within the SDSU community.

“There are so many different areas and I had no idea about half of them,” she said

She said she found a family within the sports community and rowing team.

“I love being a part of the sports community,” Bourke said. “Everyone is really driven and serves their own unique purpose. The whole idea of a university here is a different approach than home.”

She said learned that SDSU is spirited and much larger than universities in New Zealand.

“You guys live around sports, we don’t have that,” Bourke said. “In New Zealand there are more sheep than people.”

She said people in New Zealand who want to continue their career in sports often move to the United States.

“I love picking up and moving and immersing myself in someone’s culture,” Bourke said.

She said the best way to learn about culture is to live in it and learn to adapt to it.

Bourke said there were a lot of little differences between her culture and United States culture.

“I found that I would offend people by how close I stood next to them,” she said. “In New Zealand, standing close is a friendly gesture; here everyone emphasizes personal space.”

Bourke said America surprises her everyday.

She said she was surprised to find that many people at SDSU do not own passports.

“Traveling is so important because being able to see other people and experience the way they live versus how you do is so eye opening,” she said. “It has made me better at understanding different perspectives.”

She said she can understand where people are coming from and why they think a certain way because of her experiences abroad.

“I have learned that everyone is so different, no one lives the same,” Bourke said. “People need to stop trying to live a certain way and just be themselves.”

She said she encourages people to expand their knowledge and perspectives by diving into new cultures.

Bourke said SDSU has made her want to find a reason to stay in America.

“I have been able to travel a little bit with rowing, but I haven’t been able to stay for as long as I want.”