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International students struggle to assimilate?

revellodreamrevellodream 21 replies16 threads Junior Member
I know of some international students at BS who are only friends with other international kids and have almost no American friends. There's nothing wrong with doing that if it makes them happy, but how do I avoid becoming like them?

What are things that create barriers between international and US students and how do I get past them? Do you guys have any tips for adapting to American culture and making friends with locals as an international student?
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Replies to: International students struggle to assimilate?

  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 1522 replies12 threads Senior Member
    One of the first things I would say is please don't say in my country. Say in India or in France etc. In fact, I would stay away from making comparisons. I went to school abroad and the best learning experience was absorbing the other nation, not comparing the US to another nation. I would also say stay away from broad generalizations about what people in let's say India think about the US ( esp in politics and religion). State YOUR opinion. The great thing about being an international student is being able to see both sides of strengths and weaknesses. Telling others about their weak systems isn't going to make you any friends. People in the US in general are very open to other nations. They view democracy and assimilation as a positive. Most are also interested in other nations. One other thing foreign students sometimes do is categorize the US as having no history or having no backbone in foreign policy etc. Don't go there. The US has a really fascinating story and people will not warm to being criticized about something which they have little control. Guess this advice comes down to don't make generalized comparisons. Also depending on where you are coming from, remember that women in the US have an equal role to men in most fields. It would not be acceptable for you to express an opinion, if you were male, for example that women are secondary to men in any way.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5936 replies10 threads Senior Member
    Find some things to do that don't involve a lot of talking! Several Chinese girls told me how exhausting they found it to speak English for most of the day. Sports and arts, for example, were not only a break but a way to be with American students easily and make friends who shared an interest. Volunteer to help out with things too. It's a great way to be purposeful (so not awkward!) with a group of people you might not ordinarily meet. And if you see someone who needs help, offer it. Kindness goes a long way.
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 4164 replies89 threads Senior Member
    My nephew was born here but grew up in a different country. My sis in law did a couple of interesting things - first, he did not go to an expat school, just a local school (albeit a top school) until HS. Then when they decided to send him to Boarding school back in the US for HS, they intentionally found one (in the Chicago area surprisingly) where none of the dorm mates spoke his native language.
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