Meet an INTO Marshall Student: Arkar Htut


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Meet an INTO Marshall Student: Arkar Htut

Jared Casto

Jared Casto

Jared Casto


Arkar Htut is a freshman INTO student from Burma working towards his undergraduate degree in the College of Business. Although he admits adapting to American culture was a struggle at first, he believes that he is gradually finding his way. Htut has enjoyed the technology offered in America and is particularly fond of Amazon, a company who does not have a presence in Burma. Currently, he is trying to relearn the guitar after having quit during high school. After graduating, Htut plans on returning to Burma where he will find a job through his networking skills or start his own business.

Q: How long have you been in America?
A: I have been here since August, so about five and a half months.

Q: How do you think that you have adapted to America?
A: For the first month, it was quite a big struggle because everything is very different from where I am from. But as my first semester progressed, I adapted way better: making friends, and trying to learn how it is in America. So even simple things like food or how I have to wake up very early in the morning…but afterwards, I got adjusted very well. Since I’m the only Burmese student in this school, I couldn’t find other people who I have things in common with. I mean, I didn’t necessarily need to find things in common. The first friends that I made were American people. So it was very good for my social life.

Q: What is the biggest difference between America and Burma?
A: It’s a big difference, because in America everything is about being independent as a student and as a human being. At my home, it’s more of an interdependent society, which means that everyone is watching over each other. But here, you have to do your own thing, get up on time, and study. It’s a big freedom for me, but at the same time you have to be very careful with how you use that freedom.

Q: How and why did you choose to come to Marshall?
A: I came here through an agency back in my home country. They showed me a lot of other schools, but I had a feeling about this school. I thought that [West Virginia] would be a very different environment for me. … At Marshall, there has only been one Burmese student who was here back in the 1970s. So it’s kind of like a challenge for me to make my way through being here without any support.

Q: What are your plans for after you graduate?
A: I have to go back to my country. People ask me “Do you plan to live in America?” but the priority is that I have to go back because that’s what I’m expected to do. Since I’m a business student, I have to find my own way through the business professional network and possibly find business back in my home country. Or to develop my own business.

Q: Do you have any ideas for a business you would like to create one day?
A: One thing I’m thinking about is to have a car dealership with a mechanic because I’ve been in close contact with cars and I know how the business is.

Q: How do you keep in touch with your family?
A: I’m fortunate because my uncle is the ambassador of my country for the United States. In my country, an uncle is like a father. I’m able to talk to him almost everyday by calling him. And with my parents back in my country, I usually use Viber or Skype to talk with them.

Q: What has been your favorite experience in America so far?
A: There’s a lot, but the best thing I’ve experienced so far is, in West Virginia, the people are very friendly and welcoming. You can make friends easily and everybody has their own unique thing. For example, I want to play guitar and hang out with musicians. I could do that. And if I just want to have fun I could find friends who want to relax at the end of the week. And the technology, of course. In my country, if you want to get a new item, there’s no good services such as Amazon. So here if I want something, it’s an easy process. And traveling. I’ve only been to Washington D.C. and some parts around Huntington.

Q: Do you have any hobbies or interests that you would like the Marshall community to know about?

A: I used to play [guitar] in high school, but then I stopped playing. But right now I’m trying to learn how to play again. And during my first semester, I was in the Kendo club. At first I thought I could handle all that pressure, but then my grades weren’t very satisfactory, so I had to let the Kendo club go.