International Students: Connect with Americans
International students: want more American friends?
According to a study written about in the Chronicle of Higher Education, more than a third of international students say they do not have close friends in the US. If you are among the international students who would like more American friends, take note of some tips for making friends in this country.
Figure Out the Barriers
Though many international students have trouble finding friends, it is not always for the same reason. This means the solutions differ, so before you can make friends, you will need to figure out the issue.
Perhaps you are nervous about approaching classmates and using English if it is not your first language. There are many ways you can overcome the language barrier!
For example, you can find a conversation partner or take classes to improve your English language skills. You can even watch movies in English so you can practice the slang and the accent. Once you are more confident with the English language, conversation should come more easily, leading to friendly relationships with American students.
On the other hand, perhaps your English is great, but you are just shy. If so, start to open up with a simple smile. No matter what language you speak, a smile shows you are friendly and in a good mood, which attracts others.
Consider having a few conversation starters or jokes ready for when you find yourself with nothing to say. In addition, note that many students enjoy answering questions about themselves, so ask questions! Showing interest in others can help international students make some friends.
When you surround yourself with the same people nearly every day, you are bound to have some good conversations, which can lead to solid friendships. If you have a particular interest, join a club on campus to talk about it with others.
Some schools even feature groups to connect international students with Americans. You should ask your counselor or adviser if there are any such clubs at your school. Many Americans are fascinated with other cultures, which is why they might join a club that will put them in touch with international students. This gives you an easy way to cultivate relationships with people who already want to know all about you!
Stay in Contact with American Students
If you really want some American friends, you need to find a way to have close contact with them. One solution is requesting an American roommate if you will live in the dorms. This is often the fastest way for international students to get a lot of friends, or at least acquaintances. This is because your roommate will likely have a lot of other American friends you will meet and possibly spend time with in the dorm.
If you are eligible, you may also want to consider getting a student job on-campus or volunteering. When you surround yourself with the same people a few times per week, you are sure to have some good conversations. Plus, you will have some common ground — your duties — to talk about. Many international students are not sure how much they have in common with students in the US, so having a job in common can solve that problem.
The bottom line is that many Americans are delighted to talk to international students. College is all about new and different experiences, and you can offer this to them. You just need to show them what good friends most international students can be!