College Austria International students

Why Aren't Americans and International Students Becoming Friends

Do Americans make an effort to get to know international studentsBut what we didn’t discuss yesterday is that this positive attitude towards international students isn’t necessarily translating into friendships.

Although 85% of American students who took our survey reported having at least one international friend, only about 50% said they have more than two international friends.

The international students in our survey had a slightly different experience. 75% said they have more than two American friends. But 10% told us they have no American friends at all.

Why the separation?

Some American students in our survey acknowledged they don’t do as much as they could to get to know international students.

“When I was a student I didn’t make an effort to get to know international students because they weren’t in my classes or in any of the organizations I was in, ” said a graduate from the University of California, Berkeley.

Randy from the University of Kansas explained, “I am a natural introvert, which may have made communication between myself and other international students even more difficult.”

Whose Move: American students discuss friendships with international students

And several international students said that they feel more comfortable hanging out with other international students than with Americans.

“Most of the international students in my social environment are from Asian countries and thus they are brought up in a similar culture to me and I find it easier to communicate with them, ” said one international student at Oberlin College, adding that “we are used to live our lives in a more similar way compared to Americans.”

How well do American students relate to international studentsThe plot thickens

But here’s something interesting – for the most part, each group told us they are the ones trying to make friends, and it’s the other group that’s not doing enough.

80% of the Americans in our survey said either that they make an effort to get to know international students or that making friends with international students doesn’t require any special effort.

Fewer than half of their international classmates agreed.

“When they’re in their own country and there’s a minority outsider who they’ll have to put particular effort into getting to know, I think most of them just don’t bother, ” said one international student at Oberlin College.

Tara from the University of Southern California said her American classmates have “no interest to know how [international] students struggle to live here.”

Americans, on the other hand, complained that international students keep to themselves and make it hard to reach out.

“At my school, international students stick together, ” said Laura at the University of Central Oklahoma. “There’s always a group of two or more in my classes and they rarely try to talk to us, so we sort of just leave them alone. It’s like they don’t want to make friends with us.”

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