One of our most popular posts examines why Americans and international students often don’t become friends, even though both groups say they want to mingle more. For Arty, making the effort to overcome that barrier is about more than just having more friends – it’s about adapting to aspects of American culture, such as working in groups and building personal relationships, that are important in the workplace as well. Here’s what Arty had to say about why international students should make more of an effort to expand their friendships at school:
America is an amazing country, and also an amazing place to study and experience a very unique culture. My parents are from an Asian country but I was born and raised in America and have experienced studying in Asian and European countries. America I believe has much more opportunity for a foreigner to adapt and understand. We are not a mono-ethnic country and are a melting pot of different people and cultures.
American schools value things that actually help you be successful in an American career. Failing to adapt and make friends with people here will not help you succeed. Like in an American company, having people that will support and vouch for you will help you succeed.
We often reward those that step outside their comfort zone – so you should do that. If you are shy, make it a point to be outgoing – so much good will come from that. I suggest international students to do that: make friends, embrace the culture while not abandoning your native culture, find a way to connect it to who you are as well – doing that will allow you success inside and outside the classroom. If you want to increase your chances of getting a company to sponsor your visa to work, fitting in the American culture and company culture is something they will invest in.
Do you agree with Arty’s advice? Do you find it easy to adapt to another culture? What are the advantages and disadvantages of assimilating? Share your stories in the comments or using the form below.