Coming to the US is not just a grand adventure or a great journey, it is also a time for new beginnings. You are in a completely different country, dealing with a different culture and having to start a new life as an US international student. There are many fears that international students face when coming to study in the US. One of which is whether they will be accepted by American people.
Unfortunately, there are many bad stereotypes associated with the US and Americans. For instance the idea that Americans are: boastful and arrogant, alcoholics, promiscuous, racist, think they know everything, or that they believe all countries should imitate the us. Stereotypes are usually created through two ways: learning from people around you or media. Neither are good representations of an entire country.
A good example is a study conducted that American’s who watched crime shows had an increased fear of crime, despite the the fact that crime actually decreased. Another real life example is the fear of safety when living in the US as an international student.
According to the FBI there were 5,850 incidents of hate crimes in 2015. Out of those 56.9 percent, about 3,300 incidents, was motivated by race or ethnicity bias and the majority were not violent. The number of incidents did not increase much from the year prior. Even if it increased 20% (which is unlikely) and was only towards international students (again unlikely), the number of being a victim of hate crime is .33%. The actual odds of international students being victims of a hate crime is extremely low.
Believe it or not, US is one of the top 5 friendliest countries in the world. The biggest challenge to making American friends is putting yourself out there to meet them. Many of the students you meet on campus are away from their friends and family. They are starting a new beginning as well and want to make friends.
If you want to get connected, make American friends and start your new beginning off right you need to get involved. Join an organization, go to campus events, talk to fellow classmates and put yourself out there. Just be mindful of the social cues, which can differ.
Another way you can get connected is by joining our community, UEMSConnect! The purpose of UEMSConnect is to be a community where international students can connect with other international students, domestic college students, organizations and advisors. It is also a great place to find resourced to help you with this new beginning, such as guides, how-tos and great business partners who offer services to help you live and study in the US. So, what are you waiting for?
By Ashleigh Cue