Thursday, June 28, 2012

American Students vs. International Students

Hey everyone! How is everything going? Last week, Jessica Stahl from the Voice of America wrote a very interesting article that compels opinions from American students about their international classmates. I usually read about the other side of the story, given that I am one of those international students. However, it is very interesting to see some of the opinions and thoughts the American students shared in the article.

You can check it out through this link: here.
"So you want to know what American students really think of international students?  You’re in luck! We did a survey to answer just that question, asking over 50 Americans to answer anonymously with their honest opinion of their international classmates.  If you haven’t read our analyses of the survey results, take a look at these articles first:
Part 1: The Truth – Americans Reveal What They Really Think of International Students
Part 2: Why Aren’t Americans and International Students Becoming Friends?
But if you’ve already read those and are still dying to know more, this post is for you.
The Americans who took our survey wrote long form answers to two questions: (1) Why do you think you do or do not relate to international students; (2) Why do you or do you not try to get to know international students? Here, in their unedited entirety (with names removed for privacy), is every single comment we received."
The article, besides from giving percentages, shows all the comments they received. It is very interesting to read the different opinions. Of course, it's a huge and diverse country, and there are opinions in all shapes and forms. The two questions discussed were:
"Why do you think you do or do not relate to international students?
Why do you or do you not try to get to know international students?"
Here are a couple of examples, answering the second question, to show you the contrast between the opinions:
"I make an effort to get to know them because I think all of their international backgrounds and cultures are so fascinating and I would be truly blessed to get to experience a small sense of their life through what they tell me."
I actually felt related to this one, since I feel the same way about students from other nationalities. It's one of the best things about this experience. I get to be in many places at once through the friends I make. However, there are others that are more skeptical, and some of the answers are even funny and I wouldn't take those that seriously:
"They smell bad and don’t speak english."

I can't believe a college student wrote that! Oh well... for those who haven't met any international student yet, let me clarify that not all of us smell bad, just the same way as not all the locals smell any better... (I'm just being sarcastic ;)

Spain, America and Scotland.

I must say I usually have a different perspective about the relationship between American and international students. I've heard many cases of internationals being unable to make American friends. However, I have to say that I have both, American and international friends and I have never felt it made any difference to me. In fact, I share my apartment with an American and a Scottish. Moreover, in the groups of friends I usually hang out with we have both mixed and it's never been a problem.

I think some of the international students isolate themselves, and that's a big mistake in my opinion. It's great to get to hang out with people who speak the same language as you, and who come from the same place. But that shouldn't be your main objective if you decide to study abroad. You need to have the courage to go and talk to other people. Don't wait for them to come and ask to be your friends while complaining that you can't fit in!

America, Spain, Spain and Outer Space.
I hope you found that as interesting as a I did when I read it. Thanks for reading my blog and see you soon!

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