Expanding Cultural Horizons or The Challenge of Making New Friends
International students face plenty of challenges when living in a foreign country, in a different culture. One of the challenging aspects of coming to a new country is the need for making new friends.
With so many things to adjust to like new lifestyle, new place, new rules, we tend to stick with at least something familiar - with people from our home country.
And it is the most natural thing to happen - there is a stronger sense of belonging when you are surrounded by those who know your background and what it is like to be coming from this particular place. It makes it easier to be there for each other, to get this connection, to have someone who gives you a sense of home away from home. It definitely is great when you can find someone who makes you feel that way, but it also might suck you into this bubble that will limit your experiences.
We definitely are not trying to discourage you to make friends with people who come from the same country as you do. All we want is to remind you that while it is important to have friends who have the same background, you should remember that you were given a remarkable opportunity to expand your horizons, to be surrounded by people from all over the world, to learn about other cultures and become a more knowledgeable, more open-minded person.
College is not only about learning from the classes that you attend, it is also about learning from people around you, from your experiences of 'adulting'. The connections that we are making here will last for the rest of our lives. You have a chance to enjoy the company of people from all around the globe, and while surrounding yourselves with fellow countrymen is comforting, make sure you use this one in a lifetime opportunity to break away from the comfort of your home and explore the cultural wonders through connecting those who have different backgrounds.
How can you brake these boundaries? Firstly, we bet that at your university there are plenty of cultural events that you can attend like celebrations, cooking classes, social gatherings, etc. So take advantage of these and connect with others. Also, check out the city-wide festivals and events. For example, in Boston there is always something happening - Annual Persian New Year at MFA, Annual Festival of Japan in Boston Commons, etc. And finally, just keep your eyes and your heart open for new friendships. You can meet someone in your class, in a cafe, on the street. Just start a conversation and the rest will follow...
By Liza B. for Alien Thoughts Boston
International Students Blog