What Would You Do If You Met This American?

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?

VOA StudentU

One comment

  1. Just ignore them and shower kindness on the friends you do have.
    If the threatening behaviour follows you, take out your cel phone and begin recording or taking pictures. Don’t say anything inflamatory, though.
    If they take the cel phone or knock it out of your hand, that’s theft and reportable as a crime.
    If I am followed closely, man, I’d make a game of it especially if I am a guy. I’ll go to the library and see if they follow. I’d go to the park and sit among friends. I won’t go home to my dorm. As long as you are in public with lots of people, it should be fun to see how far their childish actions will take them.
    I’ll tell you what: if there was a way you can humorously allude that what the following guy is doing is somewhat homosexual in nature, he’d probably leave especially if you have other friends there criticizing his moves and looking at him in a weird way.
    That’s very rare now in more diversified communities like in CA and NYC. Some people just haven’t grown up from the play yard. Come on down to other communities in the USA! A diverse America is the NEW America. There’s millions of decent people elsewhere. I guarantee you.

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