ISV Ambassador, Ivaan Shrestha delves deeper into the complications and issues international students face while studying in the United States, from culture shock to making new friends.
Experiencing a new culture and adapting with a new environment is just like being born again. Just like this, an international student who has come to study in United States of America has to face many challenges and have the similar feelings that I described in my latter sentence, specifically when the other groups of people treat you as a child.
Among the international students in the USA, I have observed the international students from Anderson University as my sub-culture. More than that, international students have to keep up with everything such as studies, work, social groups to interact and many other things and on top of that, there comes adapting to a new culture and environment. In most of the meetings of international students, the cultural shock has been the most interesting one for me because of topics that the group has to go through in the meeting. The behavior, gestures, shrugs, body language, jargon and syntax used by the international students differ from individual to individual and from group to group as there are international students from more than thirty countries at Anderson University. With Anderson University as being the melting pot for all the cultures from around the world, my sub-culture shows arbitrary character, completely differing from each other.
The group that an individual gets along with particularly determines what will be the nature of the international students in terms of language, syntax, conversation and other communication ways, by which a person can be analyzed. Some international students who are very outgoing and are of extrovert character, easily make good friends and have very good communication skills. Some international students who are of shy nature and are introvert; have a hard time making friends as they only stick to a group that has the similar cultural background as the student. Some international students are of shy nature and are very introvert, but when it comes to hobbies, or the things that other students also do, they forget all the limitations and become best friends for a while. I have observed this most of the time when students play soccer in Wellness Center and their team has been randomly chosen, the students on your team can be your best friends, until the game ends. And some of the international students who are already placed in certain academic or co-curricular groups during admission are stuck in one group as they will be doing most of the stuff together like training, classes and other day to day Anderson University chores. Among all of these international students there are some students who are of very shy in nature and seem to be introvert, but as soon as they get in a group of same culture they are the leading person from the group. This might happen because of the communication gap between the different cultures.
Moreover, the nature of the international student indiscriminately depends on which fragment of the world they are from. Students from Southern Asia tend be in one group because of the related culture of the countries in Southern Asia whereas students from Central Asia tend to be in their own group because of the food that these people eat are almost same. Students from Africa incline to be more close to each other and students from South America prefer have people around from their nation. There are some similarities between the students from the same fragment; however, the person who they are depends on the culture they were raised in. And how the succeed in university depends on what kind of group they are in and how swiftly they get adapted in the culture.
International students have to go through a huge barrier of communication gap between themselves and citizens from the USA. There are different ways how people speak and communicate throughout the world. In some languages, speaking in high pitch tone may be normal or rude way of communication may be normal or like touching people while they speak to make them comfortable may be normal or the body language of welcoming and ignoring people are entirely different and while communicating, limitation to speak about other person is different from culture to culture. International students have to adjust with all of these things while going through other regular chores of the university. Every once in a while get worried about if they have said something that is too offensive or something wrong or even if someone misunderstood them and thus it is hard for international students to get along with other regular students as communication is a basic part in building relationships.
In reference from my transcript, most the international students prefer talk about their home country, such as food, places, friends or anything that reminds them of their home country. The topic of discussion in my transcript is about eating one of the dishes from their home country and challenges they face making the dish. Generally, most of the discussion of the international student is mostly based on the topic “cultural differences” and how they have to adopt in United States and thus proving it different from their home country. And if the international students are not talking about their home country, then the topic of conversation will mostly be the new places they visited and how they liked or disliked the place. And if the conversation is in quite a big group, the discussion would start changing to their opinions.
Furthermore, the students who are in the senior year of the college have more power in the group. Like in my transcript, all the decisions were suggested and decided by the senior of the group. However, this may not be always the case, but most of the times, as the seniors have stayed in the university for the longer period of time, student believe that they have more knowledge about the things and it is better for them to take decisions. And other reason might be because most of the seniors guide the new international students in the university and thus it is natural that other students let them take decisions. Senior students are more influential in the group as you can observe in my transcript how the one of the senior student suggested an idea and other students agreed with the suggestion.
The way the international students communicate set them apart from the students of United States. As they are brought up in different culture and with different growing environment, most of the things such as, tone, body language, jargon, formality levels, topic of conversation, context and others set them apart in a different group. However, international students in themselves also differ from each other as in Anderson University; there are international students from more than thirty countries. Although, most of the international students have similar kind of challenges from the American culture, but have different view on them and have different ways to overcome it. Some of the students are extrovert while some of them are introvert and their characteristics depend on the environment they were brought up in. The nature of the international student indiscriminately depends on from which fragment of the world they are from With Anderson University as being the melting pot for all the cultures from around the world, my sub-culture shows arbitrary character, completely differing from each other.