We’ve discussed many times the fact that it’s not always easy for international students and Americans to become friends. It can be comforting to seek out friends from your own country or background while in a foreign place, and Americans often don’t realize that they need to make more effort to help international classmates feel accepted and at home. The result is that Americans and international students both agree the two groups don’t always mix as well as they should.
But it’s not quite as simple as international students sticking together; at least, not according to commenter Phileas, who explained that there are often divides among international students as well. In short, those from countries that send many students to the U.S. tend to stick together, while those from other countries tend to branch out more. Here’s what Phileas said about how friendships form in the States:
I used to be an international student and in my experience this is 100% true [that Americans and international students don’t always mix], especially when it comes to students from Asia. I think the cultural divide is too deep and the shock they get when they come to the US is so big that they just close up into their groups and refuse to make friends with others, even non-Asian international students. Also, there are so many of them now, especially from China, that they don’t really need to make any effort to make friends outside their circle.
As for the rest of us, it all really depends on the person and where you come from. Spanish-speaking people tend to be semi-isolated from other groups and if you come from a small country you have to try to make friends with everyone, you just don’t have a choice.
Do you agree? Do you have a story about making friends in the U.S.? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments or using the form below.