America is known as the land of opportunity- but if you’ve been here long, you are realizing it’s also the land of the strange- strange habits that is. I cannot say when these habits originally formed and why we continue them, but here’s some that you may or may not...
Before you read about what to bring to America, check out my last post What Not to Bring to America. As you are packing to move to the U.S. as an international student, think through what items you won’t be able to buy here, what will bring you emotional comfort...
When I spent a year studying abroad in Lebanon, I brought WAY TOO MUCH stuff with me. With four suitcases, I ended up spending hundreds of dollars for excess and oversized luggage on my flight. Before you pack for your time in the U.S., learn from my mistakes about...
As an international student, you’ve had to adjust to time differences, cultural differences and long distance relationships with loved ones. But perhaps the most painful and unexpected, is the “experience distance” you may feel. Experiencing a lot of new and different things most of your friends and family back home haven’t gone through can create a gap of understanding that wasn’t there before. You probably have a new perspective of your own culture because now you’ve seen it from the outside looking in. Your view of your home culture is the air your old friends unconsciously breathe and your experiences in your new culture are foreign to them. You will probably continue to change with every new experience, creating an ever-growing gap. This could leave you feeling very misunderstood, isolated and alone.
“Faux pas” is a term borrowed from French that literally means “false step.” A faux pas is an embarrassing or tactless act or remark in a social situation.
It is SO EASY to make awkward mistakes when living in a new culture. Here are a few faux pas that international students before you have made—so that you don’t have to!
“You’ve gotten fat!”
Ouch! Hearing that from my international student friend really stung. In some countries, making comments about someone’s appearance or weight is not a big deal, but Americans are very sensitive to what people say about how they look and especially their weight.
Never comment on an American’s weight or say anything negative about their appearance.
First I want to say I’m proud of you. You have ventured to America to further your education and learned a new culture far away from home. You are adapting new values and hopefully understanding more about yourself. However, as you learn more about yourself I’m sure you desire, perhaps even long for, your new friends to know where you came from. Those friends you made at new student orientation and in Chem Lab are just as curious about your culture as you are about theirs.
I can understand the hesitation of not wanting to be vulnerable with those around you; you don’t want be the one that is different. But bringing your differences to light can be just what your friends need. We all have something to teach one another. The more we share ourselves, and the more we learn about others, the more we realize we may not be that different after all. Here’s some tips on how to start sharing your culture with others!