Still walking barefoot, eight thousand miles from home

Still walking barefoot, eight thousand miles from home

By :Lexi Kantz

Ratnutunga, a student from Sri Lanka, plays tennis for Goshen. Photo by Shina Park

More than 8,910 miles from home, Siddath Ratnatunga, a freshman from Sri Lanka, sits in Java Junction, naming reasons why he loves Goshen College, the school he chose to leave his country for. “Sid,” as he is often referred to on campus, first heard about Goshen College from his aunt and uncle who live in Elkhart, Ind.

Since coming to Goshen, Ratnatunga has experienced many new things and feels stretched more than ever as a person.

“Since coming here I feel I have improved with social skills,” said Ratnatunga. “People here are really friendly and more open than in Sri Lanka. Back home people are way more conservative.”

As an active member on the men’s tennis team this year, playing #9 singles and #5 doubles, Ratnatunga has also improved his game. With the team ending 6-6 for the overall season, Ratnatunga talked about how he experienced some of his best memories during the tennis season.

“I played my best tennis match this season at our last game,” said Ratnatunga. “I won 9-7 after saving two match points.”

While tennis was a highlight for Ratnatunga, he made a point to recognize why he is really here: academics. As a biology major, he has experienced what it is to work hard and have professors beside him that truly care about his academic success.

“Professors want to see students doing well in academics. They are really concerned with our grades and really involved,” said Ratnatunga.

While there are many new adaptations that Ratnatunga has experienced since leaving Sri Lanka, he finds comfort in similar practices and day-to-day interactions with the people on campus.

“In Sri Lanka we walk around barefoot a lot and I am happy that is acceptable here as well,” said Ratnatunga. “I often walk around the dorms barefoot, but now that it is getting colder I have to stop. The weather back home is always around 85 degrees so we don’t have that problem.”

While Ratnatunga is far from home, he said he feels a sense of home at Goshen and is happy that he made the right decision.

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