Having studied in multiple universities, I have noticed quite often international students just hang out with students from their own country. For instance, typically Desis hang out with Desi people, Chinese with Chinese students, etc…the worst part is, if you are from a state and talk same language, you just hang out with students from that same state. I was exactly doing the same thing in my first masters. After traveling, working, and studying again, I realized the importance of spending time with people from other cultures. Let me share few thoughts.
Why NOT to just spend time with people from Same culture ?
Well, if you just hang out with same people, what are you learning? What are you experiencing? Think about it for a minute, Studying in US grad school gives you the opportunity to interact with people from so many countries and cultures and get to know them, their culture, etc …this is such a great opportunity for you to get to know other cultures, understand how they communicate, etc. I am not saying you should not hang out with your friends some same ethnicity, you should try to mix it up and experience everything.
The reason I recommend you to do this is for a variety of reasons like
- Once you start working as a professional, you may encounter people from other countries and cultures. Imagine, if you do not know their culture, you may offend them at work by something that you did not know. On the other hand, imagine you interacted with someone from the same country or ethnic background, you understand how those people react, etc. It makes you be a better colleague and have good work atmosphere.
- Once you move out of your Grad School i.e. after graduation, you never know where you may get job. Imagine, you getting job in a small town where there are no people from your country..what do you do ? It will be such a big change for you. You will not be comfortable making new friends because you are skeptical or not sure how it works….But if you already interacted with people from different cultures and ethnicities, you will just do fine in the small place.
- It is so exciting to know about new cultures. There are so many things you can learn from other cultures. You may like some of the delicious food, their music, etc. if you never interact, how would you even know?
I can keep writing…but these three are very significant. One of the ways you can interact with people from different backgrounds or cultures is by joining a student organization. I understand it can be hard to get away from your comfort zone and try to do something different, but if you do not do it now when you are in school, you will never do it. As I have mentioned the importance of joining a student organization, you should join a Student organization and make some new friends, socialize with them and experience different cultures.
Image Credit : http://www.uis.edu/internationalstudentservices/images/students.jpg