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By on May 19th, 2017

How to Make American Friends: A Guide for International Students

According to a recent study, 40% of international students don’t make any friends when they come to America. Considering the many challenges that may already face international students, this number probably convinces many to stay home.

If you’re worried about making friends in America, don’t let that keep you from such an amazing experience. This article will show you it’s really not that difficult if you just do a few things differently.

Americans Keep to Themselves

If you’ve only learned about American culture through TV and movies, you may think that we’re the most extroverted, outgoing people ever.

This isn’t the case, though. In fact, those types of people probably exist in the same percentage as you would find in your own country.

The truth is that most Americans keep to themselves. A cultural norm here is not invading other people’s spaces or infringing on their beliefs. It’s why this nation has been able to become so diverse.

Therefore, if you want to make American friends, you’ll probably have to be the one to break the ice. Don’t be afraid to join groups or ask questions and you’ll soon find plenty of people who would love to hang out with you.

Remember That You’re in College

Although Americans may not give higher education the same kind of deference it receives in your home country, the vast majority take out massive loans and are relying on their education to help them pay it back.

Therefore, if they’re not going out of their way to get to know you, it might be because they’re focused on their schoolwork. It’s not a slight and it shouldn’t be seen as a sign that they don’t want to get to know you. Again, you just have to break the ice.

Americans Understand Your Cultural Differences

As we just touched on, America is a melting pot. It’s full of people from all kinds of different backgrounds. The country is far from perfect, but our norm is diversity.

Therefore, you shouldn’t feel pressure to fit in or conform. Americans won’t be offended that you have different customs and traditions. If anything, they’ll find it normal or interesting. As you meet Americans, don’t hold back about what makes you different.

Americans Are Quick to Accept

At the same time, this means that once you break the ice, Americans will be quick to accept you as their own. This might sound like a good thing, but for many international students, it might appear as though they’re not interested in your home country or what makes you unique.

Again, this is just a misunderstanding of the world’s most diverse country. If you feel there’s something about your background that they should know, tell them. Otherwise, take it as a good sign that they want to be your friend.

It’s Easier to Befriend Other International Students

Finally, given the above and all the other challenges international students face, it’s usually easier for them to seek each other out and forget about making friends with Americans.

To be fair to the ones that would go out of their way to introduce themselves, it might look like you’re already doing quite well if they don’t know that the rest of your social circle is full of international students.

There’s nothing wrong with befriending others from your country or others, but if you want to make friends with American students, you’ll need to step out of your comfort zone.

America is full of people who want to learn about your country and you, specifically, as an individual. Consider the above, make an effort and you’ll probably return to your home with friends from America you’ll cherish for life.