Volume 97 Issue 9 Campus Spin

Best friends from across globe brought together on JC Campus

by Rachel McCloskey

WARNING: As this is my first “double trouble article,” I would appreciate it if everyone could be patient with me, as this is something brand new that I have been dying to try out. With that out in the open, let’s hit it.

As soon as I selected my “Humans of Juniata” and got the idea for this column, I began surveying different students from different friend groups across campus. As I have been briefly surveying some of our student body, I came across something interesting. When I asked, “What makes a best friend a best friend?” not a single person could give me a clear, concise answer. That’s when I realized that I wanted to dig deeper into this seemingly effortless, two-word phrase.

So, one idea, maybe a best friend is someone who knows your wardrobe inside out? Or, maybe you’re best friends with someone because of a stereotypical “Mean Girls” moment—“You can’t sit with us!”—as you both dislike the same people. Or, maybe, just maybe, a best friendship developed because the two of you are devoted to liking each other’s Facebook posts, Instagram pictures and tweets the moment that they appear on your timeline. If you’re curious, just ask sophomores Claudia Meyer and Jana Wegener; they’ll fill you in.

“We’ve been best friends since our freshman year of college, as we met during Inbound,” they said happily. For any of you who don’t know, this would have been just before the start of the 2014-2015 school year. The two were involved with the Plexus Inbound group, and they said that they were automatically put into the group. “We do not remember picking Plexus, but we are so happy that it brought us together,” Claudia and Jana said.

It has been said that college is the time that you meet your realist and truest friends, and in this situation that is definitely the case. “From the beginning, we’ve gotten along so well,” Claudia said.

However, one thing that the pair refuses to do is to become roommates. They agree that it would be too much time spent together, which I found extremely mature of them. It is a known fact that best friends like to spend as much time together as possible, but that sometimes can backfire, which is one thing that Claudia and Jana do not want to happen. You go, girls.

I next asked the two about their common interests, and Claudia and Jana explained to me that they enjoy watching Grey’s Anatomy together. “We Netflix and chill often,” the two giggled. “We work out together, get food together, take classes together and travel together during short breaks, such as spring break,” they said.

The best friends forever (BFF) pair is in my Intercultural Communication class, and my interest in their unique friendship first sparked when they gave their initial presentations about love in other cultures. They both brought something extremely unique to the table, and that was beyond intriguing.

Now, let’s move onto their friendship. What I found most interesting about Claudia and Jana’s friendship was the diversity found within it. Claudia was born in Mali, Africa, and is a United States citizen. She lived in Arizona for about nine years of her childhood.

“I moved to Bangladesh in sixth grade and lived there for four and a half years,” Claudia said, “I then moved to Ethiopia and lived there for almost 2 years, and that was when I graduated from high school.”

Claudia also highlighted that she is half US American (her father’s side) and half Peruvian (her mother’s side). Claudia mentioned to me that her father actually attended Juniata, and that was how she first heard about our small liberal arts college in Huntingdon, Pa.

As for Jana, she is from Lower Saxony, Germany, and is a four-year international student. When I first spoke with Jana, I had no idea that she was German because of her seemingly American accent, but she is in fact German, born and raised. I found it reassuring to hear that I was not the first person to make that mistake. “I have no real reason as to why I don’t sound ‘more German;’ I just don’t,” Jana expressed to my Intercultural Communication class during a mini presentation.

I feel as if I personally would find it frustrating to constantly have people coming up to me and asking me “what I am” when they would hear rumors that I was from another country. I give credit to you, Jana, for proving to have a lot more patience than myself.

Claudia and Jana are the prime example of “friendship has no limitations,” due to their extreme differences in backgrounds. Neither of the two are extremely similar in their nationality, but they prove to be so very similar with their interests, hobbies and coursework.

“Despite coming from such different places, becoming friends was so easy and natural,” Claudia and Jana said.

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