Certainly we’ve had many people share their good experiences interacting with Americans and meeting their fellow classmates, but not every experience is a positive one. A commenter calling himself “AGradStudent” wrote in to tell us about a less-than-stellar experience with one of his classmates in Wisconsin. What would you do in his place? Do you think what he’s experienced is normal or unusual? AGradStudent explained:
I think many American graduate students are nice, but certainly some of them are overtly unfriendly to me. For instance, some of them ignored my greetings and pretended they did not see me from like 3 foot distance (which is absurd). After it happened several times, I don’t bother to say hello to them.
And certainly there are things that they do not expect me to do (but they can do). For instance, I approached a female graduate student (there was some chemistry between us) and one male graduate student literally blocked my way. Since then there have been couple of occurrences where he tried to physically threaten me, e.g. following me really close in the hallway. I have just ignored these weird behaviors but can not help feeling very uncomfortable.
This was totally unexpected and I believe the demographic factor certainly plays a role in the way people behave toward internationals (~90% population is white in my college town). I hope it would be different in other areas of the country, e.g. NYC, CA, ….
If this student is truly threatening violence, there are authorities at the university who can help. There’s a difference between someone who is unfriendly and someone who is menacing. But apart from that, how would you suggest he deals with this situation? Have you ever encountered something like this and how did you deal?