7 Things Out-of-state Students Learned Moving to Washington

By Olivia Birg

In the first week of college there are three questions everyone asks you, What’s your name? What’s your major? and Where are you from? 

From my own experience there are two reactions to when I say “I’m from Thousand Oaks, California” Wow that’s far! or Wait so why did you come up here? I’ve had to answer that question so many times, my friends have memorized my answer and I know I’m not the only one who experiences this.

According to CWU about 5% of out-of-state students attended CWU for the 2018-2019 school year, so we’re definitely in the minority. Coming from a different state there’s a culture shock wherever you go and it’s definitely a big learning curve. Here are 7 things out-of-state students learned moving to Washington. 

  1. “There’s sales tax here so things cost more money than it says that they do. I have to have change with me a lot and I need more than dollar bills. I have a heavier wallet and my purse, it’s just inconvenient.” – Anna Peebles from Tualatin, Oregon
  2. “I didn’t know Washington was a state until I came here.” – Bryan White from Chicago, Illinois
  3. “I didn’t know Washington had such good teriyaki to be honest.” – Tomas Ramos from Covina, California

4. “I learned a lot more about diversity and culture and different types of communities. Washington is a lot more diverse than where I’m from.” – Laura Randolph from Marion, North Carolina

5. “Just school in general is a culture shock because for us we don’t have clubs, sports, spirit, mascots, anything. Just pure education.”– Dena Hoogenboom from Netherlands, Europe

6. “The carpool lanes you can move in and out of them. Back home they’re double yellow lines so you can’t cross them and then we try to cross sometimes when we think the cops are not looking but if you get caught it’s like a $500 ticket.” – Meagan Curtis from Redondo Beach, California

7. “Honestly seeing all the cows around here. Back home I live in the suburbs close to the city so I see a lot of houses and cars and there’s people everywhere but here I see the same cow pass by every day.” – Tomas Ramos from Covina, California

Students come from out of state for many reasons and most of us are thrilled to experience something new and with that, comes lots of learning about our new environment. It’s exciting, nerve-wracking, and I wouldn’t change a thing. 

If we missed something you learned moving to Washington or Ellensburg make sure to let us know in the comments or on social media.  


Olivia Birg is a student writer for the Publicity Center. She is a Professional and Creative writing major and English Language Arts Teaching major.