Cultural Differences

The language barrier and living as a foreigner in a strange city will present challenges. You may find it difficult to make friends at first. Speaking English with Americans or other foreigners will alienate local people and make finding friends from the host culture even more difficult. Venture out on your own. Sit across the room from an American friend if you enroll in the same class. Find clubs based on activities you are interested in, or participate in at home. Play soccer or some other sport, audition for a part in a theater production, join a choir, learn to knit, volunteer. There is no limit to the extracurricular activities in which you can participate. Find them, or start them yourself. Be sure to discuss your interests with the staff in the School Abroad office when you first arrive on site. Iceberg

Keep in mind how you as a student from a U.S. college appear to local citizens. Notice differences in the behavior of students of your gender and age. Our students do not go abroad deliberately indifferent to local sensibilities. However, some customs and attitudes differ from ours, and it is possible to offend someone unintentionally.

On the other hand, you could sometimes be offended by the behavior and comments made by those around you just as well. Be aware that prejudices which exist in U.S. culture (against African-Americans; against gays, lesbians, and bisexuals; against Asians; against Jews, etc.) may be found in your host culture as well.

 

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