How to mix yourself with American melting pot

international_students

Making friends in a foreign country can be a real challenge for most international students. Whether it is cultural differences or language barrier, international students will at least once feel like they do not belong and isolated. As an international exchange student in the US, I would like to share my personal experience of making friends with American high school students and humbly give you some of my advice that can help you break the barrier to build international friendships with Americans.

With the advice of my host family, I decided to join the marching band of Mt.Vernon high school and became a member in the percussion. It was one of the best decisions I made in my entire exchange year because by joining of the band, I had made myself a part of the community. Music is the mutual language of all cultures and that was what connected me with all the band members. Our passion for music brought us together and gave me the opportunity to socialize with other students. My musical skill was not good so I asked for other students’ help and they were always willing to teach me anything. Showing your vulnerability and weakness is actually beneficial in your relationship with others. So my FIRST ADVICE here is to join a club, make yourself a part of some sorts of community and ask for help anytime you need. You will be surprised at the result.

In that same exchange year, I also participated in other volunteer activities of the local community and even created a CPR project that drew the attention of the local newspaper. Americans mostly are interested in learning about different cultures because that is how this country is formed and showing your willingness to contribute to their community is going to make you stand out. Americans value contribution and if you use your ability to make impact on their community, they will embrace you. It’s natural. So my SECOND ADVICE is make yourself an active international student in the local or school community and utilize your talents to influence others.

Be aware that some Americans may not be very friendly in their interaction with foreigners but don’t be bothered by that fact. As long as you are honest and stay true to yourself, you will create your own charisma. Friendships will develop throughout all of your activities and may even become an unexpectedly fulfilling part of your life. Be open-minded and embrace your experience in the US.

Happy American dream !

Jen Tran – Social Media Assistant

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