Many of my students come from rural areas: they've spent their lives working on the family farm or with their Dad's construction company, and they are the first generation to come to college. Some of my other students come from the New York City. Often they are sons and daughters of immigrants, also the first generation to go to college.
The urban students talk about Snowstorm City as if it is a small town. They complain about having to live in a place that doesn't have a subway system, a place where you can't buy a decent bagel or cup of coffee. They miss the bodega on the corner. To the rural kids, Snowstorm is a big city. They complain about the streetlights, the sirens at night, and the traffic. They miss the stars, the spring peepers, the fresh air.
My students are always teasing each other about the difference in their backgrounds. When an urban student used the word ho the other day, a rural student laughed and said, "In my world, a hoe is a gardening tool."
Yesterday, they were reminiscing about a bus trip their first year here. Someone started shooting at the bus. (Three shots - no one got hurt - and no one ever found out why or who did it.) The urban kids on the bus dropped to the floor immediately, shielding themselves as best they could. The rural kids started looking out the windows, asking stuff like "Who is that hunter? Doesn't he know he can't shoot within 100 yards of a road?"
My one suburban student said, in recounting the story: "I just stood there, looking like a fool. I had no idea what was going on. I didn't even know it was gunshot. I had never heard a gun go off before."