Disregarded: The Difficulty in Creating American Friends as an International

Posted today on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s website, is an interesting article on difficulties that international students face in making friends with their fellow American students at colleges.

Many reasons could explain this difficulty – with the largest reason being a cultural gap. Some Americans may not be interested in learning more about Tanzania while students coming from Nepal might only know about the glitz and glam of American life – rather than the typical midwestern lifestyle. It is important for all parties involved to try and encourage students to step beyond their comfort zone in order to make lasting friends.

Some ways that might be helpful in creating those intercultural and international friendships are:

* Ask people to tell you about their culture or country. Don’t assume that everyone on television or the internet is the standard – otherwise people might think that life in the United States of America is all like the cast of Jersey Shore!
* Know that there might be some awkward moments – but don’t let that deter from a possible friendship. Different cultures have different norms – once you find a “norm” that works for you and your intercultural friend, you will both be happier.
* When abroad, don’t hang out just with people who are from your same country. You are given this time in your life to learn about people from other cultures – use it to its fullest, as it will end sooner than you may think.

To read the full article on befriending international students: https://chronicle.com/article/Many-Foreign-Students-Find/132275/