Week 9: Health and Safety

Part 1: If I were in this situation, there are many risks I could face. As a female, regardless of the fact that I am in a foreign country, being intoxicated and alone leaves vulnerable to possible predators. It is common knowledge that alcohol is one of the most used rape drugs. Many guys can spot a girl who is too drunk. They often seek out these girls in order to exploit them. Besides the risk for sexual assault, there is also a chance that I may be in violation of some law in my host country. In the US, you can be arrested for public intoxication, so I would assume that there are similar laws in other countries. If I were to get arrested in a different country, my parents would not be there to bail me out. Not only that, but also I face the consequences of maybe being removed from my program. When I return home with news like that, my dad would surely never trust me to leave the country again. Surely, the school would not trust me to study abroad either. Getting into trouble like hat could even cost me my acceptance into VCU in general. When you study abroad, you are not just representing yourself. You are representing your home university and the United States. It is important that you conduct yourself in a respectable way. In this situation, I am not sure what I would do since I don’t have much information about what country I am in or what c=kind of environment I am in. However, I would try to get in contact with my program director, host family, or whoever is responsible for my well being on this trip. If I don’t have anyone like that to contact, I would try to contact the authorities. I know this would most likely result in me getting into some sort of trouble. However, being escorted by the authorities is much safer than trying to navigate my way back to the university on my own. If I can’t get a hold of the authorities, I would try to use my phone to find directions to the university I am staying at. So I won’t be alone, I would try to find another female in the bar who would not mind walking with me. This usually is successful in these types of situations. Among females, it is well known that this can be a scary experience. I am sure that someone would be kind enough to help me. To prevent this situation, I could be more responsible about how much I drink. Drinks in other countries may have more alcohol content in it. As well, I am very small for my age and way much less than the 100 pounds that is used on the BAC graph. It would also be good for me to not drink at all while I study abroad. Personally, I have no interest in drinking at all, so I don’t think I would find myself in this situation. One obvious thing I could have done is tell someone I went to the bathroom!

 

Part 2: One of the biggest risks I think I will face is the fact that I will be somewhat unaware of the inner workings of my country. I can read all of the guides and resources I want, but nothing will truly prepare for what I will face. I will not be ale to accurately learn about the potential risks until I get there. In general, I like to be in control at all times. I do not like the feeling of being oblivious. This in itself can be a problem. I could potentially develop anxiety because of the growing sense of not being in control. In order to work around this problem, I would try to learn all that I can about my host country and try to benefit from all of the knowledge of my host family or program directors. Another risk I have thought about is the fact that there have been recent epidemics outside of the US. For example, the “Why Studying Abroad Is Safer Than You May Think (article from The Chronicle of Higher Education” it questions whether or not students should travel to Brazil because of the Zika virus that is present there. This is a very good question to ask. How likely is it that I’ll contract the virus if I travel there? How likely is it that a terrorist attack could occur? The best thing I can do to avoid this is by making sure all of my vaccination are up to date and that I stay in areas that are well known and avoid underdeveloped areas of the region. As far as terrorist attacks go, I don’t think I could avoid them since they are usually out of the blue. One risk that others may not think about is running out of money. Since the currency system out side of the US is considerably different, it will be hard to know whether or not I am getting a good deal on something I am buying. Not to mention that the locals could probably spot an American from a mile away and try to exploit the fact that I am not very knowledgeable about the currency. It would be hard to combat vendors who try to scam me. However, I could try to buy things only when I am with other people form my program or with my host family. Also, I could try to compare prices in different shops. If one item seems to be much more expensive than an item at another store, I could probably reason that the more expensive item is not supposed to be that expensive. In all, the best thing to do is to prepare. The more you prepare, the less worried I’ll be and the better equipped I will be to handle any surprises that are thrown at me.

 

Part 3: In some way, I feel like what happened to Amanda Knox was almost a freak accident. Not an accident in the way that her roommate was murdered, but in such a way that this was something that no one could have ever planned for or thought of happening. What happened to Amanda Knox in the courtroom is not uncommon however. There are people every day that are convicted for crimes they haven’t committed. It is not a secret that the justice system, not just in the US but also all over the world, is filled with people who are more focused on finding a culprit than finding the right culprit. When it comes to cases where US citizens commit crimes (or seem to commit crimes) oversees, the country prosecuting them is more bent on punishing the Americans and making an example of them. A lot of this is due to the negative image that some countries have of Americans and the US government. I feel as though this isn’t something that would serve as a “lesson” for students looking to study abroad. To be honest, I don’t know why this is considered relevant to a study abroad class. If anything, it would just scare students into not studying abroad at all. I feel as though this would be something my dad would show me if I told him I was going to another country. He would probably use something similar to a straw-man argument and say, “You want to study abroad? Look at what happened to that girl Amanda Knox when she studied abroad.” For the most part, this really didn’t have anything to do with the fact that she was studying in a different country. This had much more to do with Amanda Knox being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The fact that she was in another country really only plays a part in how she was tried. In another country, it may be likely that you’ll be tried more harshly. The lesson in that is: don’t commit a crime, and don’t look like you committed a crime either.

Week 8: Global Education

Part 1:
When I came to the United States eight years ago from Ethiopia, it was hard for me to make friends. It wasn’t because I was not that good communicating clearly, but because of how differently I acted and reacted to certain things due to culture shock. I remember being scared on what my peers were thinking me and that caused me to be a little distant. I think that it is the same way for International students when it comes down to making friends; Open to make friends, but yet so scared on what students from the United States would think about them. The Inside Higher Ed says that when it comes down to making friends and meeting new people, international students it is due to the lack of meaningful cross-cultural interactions in classrooms, dorm rooms, and etc… VCU being a very diverse campus, I am lucky enough to meet people who are or come with a background from another part of the world. I am close friends with a student here that came from Uganda, but originally is from Ethiopia, where I am from too originally. She is a senior here at VCU and majors in the same thing as me. Marketing. The closer we got the more she told me about her experience here and the struggles and the hardship in making new friends was one of the thing she mentioned. She mentioned to me that the students here or even in Uganda, when she first moved there from Ethiopia did not try as hard to interact with her because she came from a different place with a totally different culture. To lessen this issue, I strongly believe that VCU should encourage students to start diversity clubs instead of specific cultural ones, because some of them don’t really welcome members that don’t fall under that culture. My roommate who is mixed (Peruvian and American) went to the African Student Union interest meeting and as she told me, they were not very welcoming and were questioning why she was there the whole time. It is things like that push students not to be culturally involved and by VCU awarding students into starting more tables forth year to come.

Part 2:
After watching the two videos from Colombia Business School’s Orientation, I can defiantly relate to the three phases that were mentioned. I have faced culture shock when I came to the United States as a fifth grader. Even though it wasn’t as though for me to manage, because I had my parents support me through it, and I was just in the elementary school it wasn’t as though. The main thing that I remember struggling in was trying to do everything right and that was what made it even worse for me to get use to the system, because I did not really give myself some time to get over the ‘Culture shock’. I think that I will face the exact things when it comes down to culture, probably for the longest period of time when I study abroad, because I feel like I am such a family oriented person that I get homesick pretty often even in college. The “American Phrasebook” does come to be a bit accurate to me, especially the ones that he mentioned about the Professors. What he mentioned about the professors was how basically whatever they say, take it seriously and if they do tell you to focus on a material, do not take it lightly or if they give you a certain type of critique and they are trying to sound nice about it, the assignment I did was really bad. I use my language in front of my American and None American friends all of the time and it always makes me wonder what it says about my culture to them. The reactions I get from them at most times is excitement, since most of them haven’t really heard many people speak Amharic before. Also they ask me to teach them certain words and phrases which makes me excited too, because it shows me that people really do want to learn about other cultures if they are exposed to it. Other examples that could cause a student to struggle abroad can be not having the right resources or enough money to manage in the country, communication skills, and lack of preparedness. Including the language, when it comes down to cultural norms ,if I do end up studying abroad in Chile, I defiantly think that I will struggle in figuring out locations, what to do and what not to do from things we usually do here in America to not offended them, and homesickness.

Part 3:
After reading the article in the Chronicles, I certainly do believe that there are ways to have a valuable global experience without leaving the United States. Growing up I was exposed to multiple cultures other than mine due to my peers, the educational system (learning different colleges and being a part of cultural clubs and organizations through the school). Also, now being on a college campus, there are to be exact, thirty-seven cultural clubs and organizations that we all can be a part of. By joining those clubs as a student, we can be exposed to other events that come with the clubs or gain interest in exploring other cultures once we do start to get involved. I do not think that You can get the same experience as studying abroad just from being culturally involved on campus. I believe that to face the true culture of a country, we should actually go to the country and live through it for a certain time and face what the people of that country actually face. Also, I feel like for the people who have not been outside of the country will get to realize how different things are and get to experience it for themselves. Even though studying abroad has its burdens, it is manageable and can be faced and studying abroad being one of my main goals at the moment as a college student, I am and will do everything I can to make it work, because I do believe it is better than learning about different cultures in the classroom or here on campus.

Part 4:
Even though it would be great to have international students from American Universities, I do not think that it will convince a lot of the American students to study abroad. I think that due to the myths other than the barrier of costs will still be in at least some of the students’ heads to even bother on studying abroad. Spending more resources to recruit first generation and minority students from the United States before bringing in students from overseas, I believe will defiantly increase the outcome for number of students that will study abroad.  Even though these students really are as wealthy as some report, I don’t think that it will make it more difficult for lower-income students to feel at home on a college campus. As students on college campuses, we are already are exposed to the American style and some of us to various other cultures, depending on how involved we are. For the students who will be on campus are expected to follow the same rules and expectations that come from the American cultures and I don’t think having majority international students will change that. I believe that the downside of this will be that making students who do not want to be involved in other cultures disinterested in the campus or in their peers.

Week 8: Global Education

Part 1:

After reading the article from Inside Higher Ed, it came as no surprise to me that international students had a difficult time making real, meaningful connections with their American peers. The article stated a variety of supposed reasonings for this barrier among foreign students, such as: language, culture differences, social context, and more. I believe that the article was onto something, however I felt that it did not state another important factor in this difficulty among international students.
As Americans, we as a society tend to be too wrapped up in our own lives and well beings to be worried about anyone else’s. We are a culture of people that focuses more on the individual than we do on the community. Sadly, we as a people care more about ourselves than we do anyone else, regardless of whether you are an American or otherwise.
In a city like Richmond, and at such a large school as VCU, it is no shock that both domestic and international students are reluctant to reach out to each other. The campus, city, and people altogether can be overwhelming to anyone–especially to a foreigner. American students are too focused on their own lives. On the other hand, international students might be nervous to try to break the culture difference boundaries and step outside of their comfort zones. All of these factors stated by both myself and Inside Higher Ed have made for an invisible culture barrier between domestic and foreign students.
Unfortunately, I do not have any friends that are international students studying here at VCU, nor have I interacted with any students studying abroad here.
As far as I know about VCU’s integration of international students into the university, our faculty has done a great job. With the West Grace North Street Dorms housing both international and domestic students alike in a living-learning environment, it creates a conducive atmosphere for allowing students of all cultures to interact with one another. This type of living situation gives American students the opportunity to learn about foreign people and their cultures. It also allows international students the opportunity to integrate with American culture and people in a more enriching way than living with only other foreign peers.
Some ways that VCU could expand on integrating international students to the university could be through more school-wide events, or through American peer-led tours of Richmond, the campus, or other parts of Virginia.

Part 2:

Personally, I have not experienced the kind of culture shock that the student in the video was describing. I grew up as a military brat, so it was typical for me to move from country to country and be forced to integrate myself into whatever new culture I landed in.
However, I will say that at first moving away from home and starting college here at VCU, it left me with feelings strongly related to culture shock. The first few days I was in love with Richmond and the university, but after that I quickly became very alone, angry, and upset. This was mostly due to the fact that I had none of my family, old friends, or people that I felt that I could closely relate to anymore. This all came to a surprise to me, since usually I am very good on my own and in new environments. Other than that, I have not experienced such full-blown culture shock before, nor do I know of anyone that has experienced it.
I do not think that the culture shock described in the video would be much different for me than it was for the student. Hopefully, I do not experience a harsh culture shock, but if I do then I expect that I would be pleased with how much more direct Europeans are than Americans.
When the student in the videos discusses the “American Phrasebook”, I think he hit the nail right on the head. I never really thought of how what I say also says something about my culture. I have only thought on other cultures and what they say, and how most of them tend to say exactly what they mean. Americans (as stated in the video) are very indirect, and I honestly never really thought about that fact about our culture until now. I have always appreciated how blunt and to the point most European people are, but I never compared them to Americans. Making this comparison has put into perspective just how superficial a lot of our daily conversations as Americans really are, and I now detest it.
The only thing I can probably expect from Malta is the fact that I should never assume anyone to ever be on time. Whether it be a friend, a local, a bus ride, or professor for a class, I should expect a delayed start/arrival of 20 minutes minimum for anything. Most Europeans, and apparently the Maltese especially, do not look at time as “sacredly” as us Americans do. As a result, they tend to lose track of time and be late a lot.

Part 3:

The Chronicle posed some strong points defending the alternative of “study away” trips for students. Although I do believe that study away trips can yield meaningful, global experiences for students, I do not feel that they compare to study abroad trips.
Studying away in a domestic, yet different setting can absolutely give students deeply enriching experiences. It also allows students of lower-income backgrounds a chance to learn from a different community’s perspective with a cheaper alternative to study abroad.  However, domestic trips do not carry all of the same challenges, experiences, and memories that studying overseas inherently gives a student.  It is an experience literally unlike any other. For many students, it could even be their first time stepping outside of the United States. Studying abroad gives students the chance to learn a new language and completely immerse themselves in a brand new culture. Meeting a new society of people and immersing yourself in a culture that is entirely foreign to your own is all part of what makes study abroad such an attractive experience. To take away from the travel, the new people, the confusion, the culture shock, and the language barriers would be to take away a majority of what makes studying in any new setting so great.
As diverse as the United States may be, our diversity cannot compare to the diversity of a completely different nation. With any domestic trip, students will have some sort of familiarity of “home”, regardless of where they decide to study in the US. I believe that a lack of sense of home and total disorientation is part of the fun in experiencing a new place and culture. Although, I know I might be alone in that belief.
So for students that are too anxious to leave
the US or to those who cannot afford the hefty price tag of studying abroad, then studying away is a great choice. However, I would strongly encourage anyone debating it to take the opportunity to leave home and study abroad. It will be well worth the trip. 

Part 4:

I believe that the United States hosting international students in our public and private universities is an incredible opportunity. It has shown to be a positive enhancement in students’ educations, both those foreign and domestic. However, I do not feel that US colleges and universities should be giving priority admission to these international students. Nor do I feel that the amount of international  students attending any given US educational institution should outweigh the amount of domestic students attending it. Call it selfish, but I feel that we should remember that educating our own people is of equal importance as educating any international entity.
I do not think that it would make it more difficult for lower-income students to feel at home on a college campus, if these international students are as wealthy as some report. For one, I do not think many students would care about the financial standings of a foreign student. Secondly, college has practically become the designated time in a young person’s life where one meets new people of all different socio-economic backgrounds and learns how to co-habitate with one another. So if meeting a new person that is more well-off than you gives someone an opportunity to see things from a new perspective or even allow the other person to gain some perspective of their own–then more power to you.
There are of course both good and bad to including international students at American colleges. Once the mission and integrity of the university has been compromised, then I feel that the negatives outweigh any positives of allowing foreign students to study in our schools. If or when admission boards admit students to their schools based on their wealthy financial standing, then I believe international students can be a negative. Admitting students based on money or on meeting any sort of minority or demographic quota seems wrong to me. Especially when the students being admitted are not our own people. Again, I realize that statement may come off as greedy. But if we are putting other countries’ educations at a greater priority than our own, then what are we doing for own people?

 

Week 8: Global Education

Part 1:

I think often times it can be difficult for international student’s because of the language/culture barrier. Thing’s are vastly different and sometimes it may be intimidating for international students. Particularly, some may be coming from countries where English isn’t the first language. They might not feel comfortable speaking a lot or comfortable in their ability to communicate. I think they also might feel intimidated by the shift in culture. American culture is vastly different compared to other cultures around the world and the way we act/communicate is interesting on its own. However the article written by Higher Education think that “study away” has less differences culture wise and is an easier transition. I think this certainly can be true but I also think being in a foreign country is one thing then studying in a foreign country is another. One is vastly more difficult than the other because of the added element of education. But I also think the article makes an added bonus point of saying “it’s not the place but the event’s that take place there.” and that’s very true. While the differences are stark I think the differences and culture shock are really what student’s make of it. Some find it to be extremely difficult to transition with and other’s find it easy and fit in easily as well. I actually have a couple of international friends who are studying at VCU from Iran. It’s very interesting talking to them because the educational system in Iran is vastly different compared to America. I know we had a lot of interesting topics about the art programs in Iran vs America and how the funding goes between them. I’ve also been to a couple of VCU Globe’s events and met some international students there. I’m excited to eventually work with that program because I really like talking to student’s from other countries and getting to know about their home and the differences, it’s very interesting to me. I think VCU could certainly integrate more international student’s by having some kind of lunch-in or international meet and greet kind of deal where people just sit down and get to know one another and where they come from. I think it’d be a good idea because more people would know about VCU’s international student base and really learn about other’s experiences in different cultures. I think it’s a program that certainly could be improved upon.

Part 2: 

I have in fact heard of culture shock and certainly experienced it. I was surprised because I wasn’t in that much of a shift in cultures since I went to London, England. Yet, I still found myself being on the outside and everything seemed off for the first week or two. I believe that you do develop a lot of homesickness from it because it seems so different and foreign. However, I didn’t develop strong feelings towards British people. I think for some that can be the case if they’re feeling strongly about the shift in culture. But I found it more to be a homesickness thing and just being on my own in a large place that was completely different. Especially in the way people treated me because I was foreign, that was the worst part of it. It was hard to assimilate with other’s because they judged me simply based on where I was from and assumed things of me based on me being America. Plus getting the same questions over and over again made me really mad and a little bit done. Always “wow are you always in danger of being shot? How do you live with guns everywhere?” It’s like people think America is consumed by the Southern Confederacy or something. I thought the American Phrase Book was totally true! I think American culture is very vindictive of using words to communicate feeling as strongly as possible. Everything has a double meaning. I believe that a lot of our slang can be confusing since most of it stems from shortened versions of words that don’t even make sense. I think those kind of things would be confusing for an international student to pick up on. That and just the general speed that American’s talk at, we talk really fast compared to some other cultures and it can be a lot for ME sometimes. I can’t imagine international student’s trying to pick up on some of the slang whilst speaking at 10000 miles per hour. One of the things I researched about Spain’s culture was the amount of space that people put between themselves when talking to one another. It was noted that Spaniards often times speak to people really close and get up in their face whereas American’s like to be as far away from people as they can be. I found that to be an interesting tid-bit.

Part 3: 

I think because of money and sometimes just timing, studying in the U.S. can give you a more cultured experience but it will never compare to studying abroad. Studying abroad allows you to be fully immersed in a culture and really experience things whereas an education in America can only teach you so much. I am a firm believer in learning from experience so I believe that actually going and experiencing a study abroad is more impact and adds to a global education experience than just learning about it in your home country’s classroom would be. That being said I think for those who are tight on money, global education in the U.S. isn’t that bad. I think if that’s the closest you can muster to going abroad then it’s better than nothing. However, I still do strive to have that study abroad experience for anyone who is interested since it’s more immersion than a course might be. A study abroad experience is extremely valuable because it allows you to gain information that otherwise couldn’t be presented in the classroom. It really puts you to the test on your own since it’s a completely new culture and it’s all on you to adapt and learn about the differences. A classroom to me strikes me as more collaborative, which isn’t necessarily a good thing but I would value it as less compared to an experience abroad. I think you should strive to study abroad if you can but if not, staying and settling for learning a global education is the next best thing. Studying abroad will always trump the latter because it’s just more realistic and immersing compared to just sitting in a classroom. You can really gain knowledge and put it to the test by studying abroad which sometimes isn’t readily available when learning things in a classroom. Studying abroad adds that extra bonus of really being there in person and looks good for job resumes because it allows you to become more cultured as an individual and as a student or scholar.

Part 4: 

I think it’s really great that universities are allowing themselves to have offices in international countries (such as China and India as mentioned in the article) but I still think a study abroad is the way to go. While you can learn a lot from students visiting and they can offer information about their country that otherwise wouldn’t be readily available, studying abroad is a totally different experience. Studying abroad allows you to experience things yourself and really go out and there and see the world through your own eyes. I’m not sure what source it was, but it was from the beginning of the semester, it had something to do with “you can read a 1000 books or travel 1000 miles.” but the difference between those two is extremely stark here. Experience is completely different compared to learning something in a book. It’s applying it and seeing the results yourself that makes study abroad more worth it than these “global inclusive” courses. Plus,  with America becoming more diverse each year and the minority becoming the majority. International student’s and their spoken word won’t be something incredibly different anymore. It should be something that will become rather regular or normal. So this stresses the real urgency to get out and go abroad because you can talk to someone international anytime but until you actually experience it, it doesn’t mean much in the eyes of anyone else.  That being said, the inclusion of international student’s is crucial to universities and colleges across America because it’s better to have a more global presence on campus. If you want student’s to come out with a more global experience, it doesn’t hurt to have them be surrounded by those that are from other countries besides their own. “19 percent of all freshman attending classes this fall come from overseas, according to data from Shawn Abbott, NYU’s dean of admission. ” That’s a large number and only growing! If universities keep this up they can accomplish a more global education, however that doesn’t stand next to studying abroad. In a way I almost feel like they’re two separate fields entirely. You can only learn so much from spoken word from people from other cultures and that being said it’s always biased and changes from person to person. Studying abroad allows you to form your own opinions on other cultures and experience things as they are in the country itself. They’re such start differences between each experience since one is on a much smaller scale per say. The inclusion of both on campuses is something I find to be very significant however and studying abroad as well as globalization of courses really should be taken seriously in college curriculum.

Week 8: Global Education

Part 1:

With the reading, I found that the problem was that American students rarely reach out to International students when the come to study here. Especially at a place like VCU, it is really easy to not interact with any International students because they are all housed together. Yes they live with the globe students, but that is a small portion of VCU’s student body that actually interacts with them. I think like in any life-altering change, people gravitate towards the familia. Whether it is someone who speaks the same language or is going through the same situation, people tend to find the familiar. The Insider Ed article talks about how rare it is for International students to make lasting relationships with their American counterparts and I can fully believe it. Even in my first semester of college, I haven’t met many International students. My roommate is from Peru and I know her pretty well, but she is here for all four years so I don’t necessarily consider her to be in the same boat as the study abroad international students. But even in that limited interaction, I have noticed that all her friends tend to be other international students. They’re also all in the foundation art program, so it reiterates the point that people gravitate to familiar situations and people. I understand why they house all the international students in the same housing; grace street is by far the nicest housing on VCU’s campus and they will be together, so it makes it easier, but they don’t interact with the majority of campus. I think the campus needs to do a better job of immersing the students. I notice clusters in most of my classes and whenever I am out on VCU. I personally can understand how hard it is to put yourself out there, either as the new kid or the veteran student, it can be hard to make the first effort. Also, not something that I run into particularly with my friends, but students need to be educated in a way that teaches them to respect different cultures. Maybe OMSA could put something together for all students to take, like Title IV training. Something just to educate our students on the bare minimum of different cultures we may encounter. Hopefully it would have a positive impact on our campus as a whole and make people more socially aware and welcoming.

Part 2:

I think it is obvious that America is very different from most other countries — we have our own ways of doing things that don’t always align with other peoples ‘norms’. I loved listening to the speakers presentation; for me, as an American, it was helpful for me to hear what most International students go through on a daily basis. I have been taking Italian this semester and my professor is from Italy and hearing how different certain things we say and their meanings behind it for us are so drastic. The one that struck with me the most from the presentation was ‘How are you?’ As an American, I know that this phrase is typically said in passing, not actually prepared for a response. If there is a response, it is usually along the lines of “I’m good, thank you! How are you?” After talking to my professor, it was shocking to me that this is not common place in other nations. In Italy, if you ask how someone is doing, you genuinely want to know and expect an answer. Not a fake “Fine!” but a genuine answer. Honestly, from everything I have read, Belgium is a very friendly place to go so I expect my culture shock to be a positive thing. I know the food and the people will be drastically different from my lifestyle here, but I do hope that it doesn’t have the negative effects that the speaker was talking about. I am a shy, introverted person so I do think it will be difficult for me to make friends, especially if no one reaches out to me, as it tends to be a problem here. I can’t think of any other phrases that he didn’t mention (although I know they are out there) but I can definitely attest to our temperature and measurement systems to be so difficult to understand when you’re coming from a metric standpoint. The metric system is easy to understand and the same process can be applied to any sort of measurement, like kilo always means 100x something. Not many foreigners will be able to understand why there is 5280 feet in a mile. (I had to google that number just to make sure I was right!) I can totally see that being a difficult concept to understand. I don’t understand our measuring system most of the time, and I was born here. I think my “American sarcasm” might be a bit of a culture shock for me. I have people here that sometimes struggle to understand it, so my dry sense of humor will either get me very far or confuse quite a few Belgian natives.

Part 3:

I believe that you can get a global outlook without traveling abroad — there are plenty of places surrounding us that are drastically different from our hometowns and our campuses. We have programs like VCU Globe that is designed to give students a global experience without going abroad. However, I do believe that there is a disconnect between never leaving and going abroad. There is a difference between those two. I think someone can get a globalized outlook and a respect for different cultures and backgrounds without going abroad. But, I do think people will need to go abroad to truly understand some of the differences. Personally, I think being able to experience both the local and abroad aspects of a globalized community will be important. I know it is not always realistic for people to go abroad while in college and many people would be interested in trying to still get a global education. Nothing is as good as the real thing, but people should still be able to get a positive outlook on a globalized education and hopefully be encouraged to go abroad even if they aren’t a student. I do believe there is a way to have a significant global experience without going abroad. Especially at a school like VCU, where we treasure our diversity (despite still being a white-majority school), it should be easy to gain a global appreciation. However, if people want to gain this global experience, they have to put time and effort into it. It is not something you can take a few classes in and be considered to be someone with a global education. Our globe program is a great example of how to gain this education without going abroad, even though it does encourage going abroad. I think that people can’t just say they want it and expect it to happen, they have to seek it out. Most schools would be more than happy to find a way to help a student get that experience in any way possible. Maybe there could be week long trips (like our spring break project where students go and help underprivileged areas in America) that students could go to local minority communities and learn about their experiences and struggles without going abroad. Interviews with immigrants. There are many ways to gain an understanding without going abroad. However, obviously the best way to gain this experience is to actually go abroad.

Part 4:

I can understand why American parents and students would be upset about having so many international students on campus (it can feel like they are ‘stealing’ your spot in a class), but it is also important for college students to experience things they haven’t before.  I think that public colleges should have a cap on international students because it is important that universities paid for by our citizens function as universities for our citizens. However, private universities should be able to admit as many as they want. I don’t think there is really a point in which the negatives outweigh the positives, but I do believe there is a point where it is no longer an “American university” and just a hub for international students in America. I think it is important to have first generation college students from any and all backgrounds and nationalities to be given a chance for an education. And the point about the middle class families making lower class students feel unwelcome is, to me, a reality no matter if the student is international or not. This is a reality that students have to face from their peers regardless of their nationality. And in regards to their comfort level, I think they could still find a home at a campus with a healthy mix. Obviously at an expensive private school it is more apparent who comes from money and who does not, but on a campus like VCU I believe that it is easy to find a niche no matter what your financial background is. All in all, I think it is important to have international students present on every campus across the United States. It is important that everyone is given the right to a good education and I believe that International students have every right to a spot in our universities as Americans. I look forward to more International students joining us in the United States and to seeing how they can continue to make America more diverse and welcoming. I say yes to as many international students as we can handle!

Week 8: Global Education

I have heard and read about this issue of international students studying abroad and having a hard time making friends and interacting with the locals many times in articles and study abroad experiences. I believe this is an issue due to just the fact that they are dealing with a culture change at first, so they are not really thinking about fitting in when they first arrive, they are just first thinking about making it by and learning how to get around. Then as time goes on and they are just starting to get comfortable, they then sort of lose that time in the beginning that was being made to meet new friends. I also think another reason is that because you’re in a foreign country and its a totally different culture, they might not feel like they can hold a conversation with you or relate to you at all to maintain a friendship or build a relationship with other cultures if their culture is very different from the one they are used to so they don’t feel a connection with others around them and that might think it would be difficult to make friends. In the article from Higher Ed, some of the reason they gave were some of the reasons that I suspected also. They said that students don’t connected because either of race discrimination by their peers, limited language that they were able to speak, and shyness or lack of confidence. Another reason was that also the American students also didn’t have any initiative or interest to meet international students and didn’t have the interest of other cultures, so they didn’t feel the need to introduce themselves to the international students who were at their school. I have not encountered international students so far I don’t think while I have been at VCU. I do know and have been in class with international students before in elementary school and high school. During elementary school, I became best friends with a student who had moved from Turkey. I still keep in touch with her today. Also in high school, there was a foreign exchange student from Mexico who I became friends with and also still keep in touch with today. As for what a school can do to help international student out, I don’t really know the answer to that, because depending on the school’s diversity level, it can be very difficult to actually differ who is an international student and who is not.

I do know the term “culture shock” and I do understand the aspects and feelings that culture shock brings, however, I have never experienced much culture shock before. I did experience a small amount of culture shock when I was younger and went to Turkey. I think I got a feel of a culture shock because it is a very different culture from the United States. However, after that experience with the small amount of culture shock in Turkey, I have not experienced culture shock since then, even when I went to Morocco over the summer, which has a big culture shock rate for most Americans because it is more of a developing country that is entirely different from the US. But, for me, after experiencing the small culture shock in Turkey when I was younger, I have begun to travel with a massive open mind, which doesn’t really allow me to be prone to culture shock. I think the culture shock he describes is potentially what anyone, including myself could feel when we study abroad, because it’s usually similar feelings of feeling lost/scared at times. Really the only emotion I feel like might not occur for everyone is the stereotypes and or anger against the culture. Personally, I didn’t feel those emotions when I went to Turkey, so I don’t really think everybody would feel anger towards a culture where they encountered culture shock, unless they had an actual terrible experience with a country and their culture to form that deep stereotype of hate for that culture, but I wouldn’t expect that from someone who just recently came over to the country and didn’t have a particularly bad experience.

I definitely think it is possible to have a global cultural experience while still inside the United States. The United States has many cultures across the country that if you go from one coast to the other, you would be seeing a different culture. So, with that being said, I definitely think you could study in different part of the US, and consider that a “study abroad” experience. Washington D.C. is totally different from California, and the Texas-Mexican border is different from upper Michigan. But, even though you can get a valuable study abroad experience in the United States, I do think it is a good idea to do outside of the US travel. How it is different is, in the US, the cultures might have some differences thrown in between them, but the American culture is the same. If you go outside of the US, you receive a whole other worldly experience, rather than just a different country type experience. If you go to a whole different country, you are experiencing new food, new religions, new currency, new languages, and new mannerisms much broader and more diverse than you would even see in a totally different part of the United States than your own. In addition to just the diverse culture, you can also receive a new way of learning and human interactions within this new country than what you would find within the United States. Some countries teach subjects differently and have a whole different perspective on something than what the United States might have its opinion on. It is important to see these new ways of perceiving information, so it is valuable to go outside of the United States into different continents and countries to see how they perceive the world.

While there are benefits to having international students at a college, I do think that there can a problem with an overpopulation for international students in college if the native students in the country don’t have the ability anymore to get the education that there for them because of the overpopulation of international students. This then might have a bad effect if the priority is being put on teaching international students and not American students, it could have a substantial effect on the country in the future. As far as the question regarding the ability to spend money on first generation and minority to be able to attend college before giving international students funded education, I think that is needed. We should be spending money on our citizens first that would give our country better outlook in the future, before we try to help our internationally. We need to make sure our citizens have the right to education and opportunities before we try to help out internationally.

Week 8: Global Education

a. The number of international student son college campuses today is growing at a rapid rate. The international students however, report that despite having a strong interest in connecting with their peers here in the states, they still have trouble making friends throughout their day to day college experience between classes, social events…etc. This problem could be because we, as American students, naturally think the internationals students don’t relate to us on any level or have similar interests because they are from another country. Another reason that could be the problem is when we see someone who is from another country, we think they cannot speak English or can’t speak it well. The article from the Insider Higher Ed says that it could be caused by both groups, the American students and the international students. Some Americans students try to befriend these international students, but the international students tend to stick to their own group of other international students from their same country. For example, an individual from a Midwestern university shared his observation that a fair number of students from China- a rapidly growing and the largest group of international undergraduates on United States campuses- seem to be more interested in interacting with one another than with their American classmates. If an international student is on a campus heavy with fraternity and sorority life or obsessed over their athletics, it may be hard for these students to find their group. The international students start to feel foreign which goes beyond their nationality. During my time here at VCU I have met with a few students who are form another country. I have students in my international class I have spoken to from Ghana and Saudi Arabia. I do not have any close friends from international countries. I think that VCU could have different events that are more centered on international students. We could have a meet an international student day or events throughout the year. Then VCU students who haven’t had any interaction with an international student could meet one and learn about their culture. VCU American students could also gain an insight into what its like to be from another country and attend on an American campus. Personally, I would go to one of these events because it would be an opportunity for me to meet another international students and become friends with these students. I would really like to know what it’s like to come here not knowing anyone and only be coming for school.

b. After watching the two videos from Columbia’s Business School’s orientation, I can relate to this student’s experience with culture shock. I have heard of this culture shock before watching this video and have experienced culture shock in a variety of different forms. I can relate to this culture shock in two different instances, one being when I came here to VCU and when I went oversees to Italy and Paris during the summer of 2015. I experienced culture shock here at VCU during my first few weeks here at VCU. I come from a very small town and everybody generally dresses the same, is the same religion, have the same values and everyone knows everyone. VCU and the City of Richmond are the exact opposite of my hometown. Everyone here has his or her own personality, ethnicity, culture, language, and style. I was not used to being around people with so many different backgrounds and not everyone knew each other. Another way I experienced culture shock was when I traveled to Europe to Italy and France for ten days during the summer of 2015. When I went oversees, I wasn’t used to the subway system, the social norms, the food or the style of everyone. I was very intimidated when I talked to the citizens of each country and didn’t really know how to act appropriately around them. I had to figure out how the subway stations worked, how to tip appropriately, how to greet the natives of each country and etc. In the second video he explains the “American Phrasebook”, he talks about different American Phrases and things we as Americans have picked up throughout our life and naturally know what each means but someone who is international doesn’t understand these basic phrases. These different phrases he tells us about are all true, and this really describes our culture. This is just the way our culture is and how often we use these different phrases we have made up as Americans. Some things that may confuse international students when they come to the United States and would be the same for me when I go to another country is the style of dress of that country, the food, and basic phrases for communication for day to day conversation native to that country.

c. After reading the article in the Chronicle, I think it is possible to have a significant, valuable global experience without leaving the United States but only to a certain extent. I think if you were to stay like some students did with an immigrant family in a part of the United States, you could receive some of the culturally aspects of their country that you would receive while oversees. I still think you should be oversees because you are fully immersed in the home country of that international persons’. You can get the full experience by walking out your front door. Some simple aspects of being oversees that are different include roadways, driving styles, layout of cities..etc. It’s valuable for us as students to see these different ways that countries design everyday things. If you were to study in America through a study-away program, you wouldn’t get to see these little aspect each country has to offer. You would walk out your front door and see the same traffic patterns you have seen your whole life, city layouts..etc. However, on the other end of the spectrum, if you were to participate in a study away program, you could directly see the impact of the different cultures these international students and family have to offer to the American culture. An example of a stay away program that would have a large impact on a college student today would be to stay with a Middle Eastern family somewhere in the United States. As students, we could see the prejudice against people of the Islam faith and see first hand how these people are treated in our American culture. This would be very beneficial because of the heated discussions and how there are tensions of Muslim refugees entering the United States. This experience could change your opinion on refugees or reassure your opinion on them as well. After reading this article and analyzing the different ideas, I still believe study abroad and going oversees is the best way to get a global experience. You are fully immersed in the culture. If you however, did not have the money to travel oversees, a stay away program would be better for you considering the cost and travel time needed to study abroad in another country. You can still receive some of the cultural immersion form a stay away program, just not as rich if you were to physically go to a country.

d. After reading the article on the Globalization of American Colleges, we can determine an American colleges, especially one funded by tax dollars, can have too many internationals students. I think this because as an American, I would not want to be paying thousands of dollars in taxes and just have students from oversees using all of my tax dollars. I would want American students who pay taxes to be given an education as well. American Colleges should however, still recruit international students. Students coming from oversees paying for their entire college with their family’s money therefore helping the American economy. American colleges should also recruit students who are first-generation and minority students from the United States. These students who are automatically put into a stereotype can break their social norms and create a new standard. As said before, international students coming for school in the states could make it difficult for American students to feel at home. There are thousands of students today in America that are already in debt from college and it would be hard as an American student to talk to an international student that has no debt and can pay off all of college in one check. The point at which the downsides of including international students at American colleges outweigh the benefits are when American students feel they are not offered the same education fairly. This could be when college starts to just admit more international students that are not as qualified as an American student, but just because they are international, the American college accepts them. Overall, colleges should recruit international students to provide American students the diversity and experience of going to school with international students. As for the international students, the American college can offer them a high quality education and American cultural immersion. American Colleges should also focus a lot on recruiting students who are firs generation and minority because these are the students that will shape the United States and break their social norms. I think it is really important to include these first generation students because of the personal connection I have with these students. A lot of my friends here at VCU are first generation, and I respect them a lot because of the personal drive and motivation they had to attend a college and how much they had to work through the college process themselves.

Week 8: Global Education

Part 1:

I think international students have a hard time connecting with American students because of the cultural differences and varying interests. A lot of friendships are really built off of connections and similar interests, and when that is not there, it is hard to form that strong bond. The more different the cultures are, the harder it is to make that connection. Language can also be a possible barrier. If two people can’t communicate well, it is hard for each of them to even talk about what they could possibly connect with. I think that being in a completely new place, they probably look for things to remind them of home as well. From my perspective, I know that if I was in a foreign country all by myself, I would look for people from the United States or people that spoke English to give me that sense of comfort. Another reason is that it can be hard to make friends just in general. Unless these students are going out of their way to make friends, there is really only the option to meet people in their classes and wherever they are living. However, even with these options they may only have other international students around them or limited time to reach out to other people. The article from Inside Higher Education talked about similar issues with international students. It mentioned how people generally look for friends that are similar to them, which makes it hard for international students since they have a lot of differences. It also mentioned how American students, especially incoming freshman, are generally not really prepared to deal with the complexity that comes with befriending a foreign student and can be somewhat uncomfortable with the presence of such significant differences. I personally haven’t met an international student during my time here at VCU, though I would hope when I do I am comfortable getting to know them. The article also talked about ways to get students more ready to deal with international students before their time in higher education. With this, I think VCU could really take advantage of this “buddy system” that allows an international student to meet people here at the university and opens them up to new interactions. Another thing that was mentioned was really getting the faculty on board. I think that professors do have an impact on their students and when they show that they are open and embrace differences, that kind of attitude reflects back on the students.

Part 2:

Watching the videos from Columbia Business School’s orientation has really brought the concept of culture shock into retrospect. I think I have experienced it in a much smaller, less significant way through coming to VCU. I am from Northern Virginia and even though it is not that far from Richmond, it is honestly a world of it’s own up there. Meeting people from other places has been interesting because I have begun to learn just how exclusive Northern Virginia trends were like slang words and interests. It wasn’t until I came to college that I realized how different it was compared to the rest of the state. To put it in perspective with students from other countries, the differences in their culture are much more prominent and significant in their interactions with people from the United States. I know that when my dad came here from Iran as an international student, it was like a whole new world. I know he had that experience of culture shock, as it was definitely difficult for him to make friends and connect with the American culture. When thinking about myself going abroad to study, I think culture shock could definitely be something that could happen to me. I think no matter where you travel, there will be variations with the cultures and having to learn how to deal with those differences will be necessary for appropriate assimilation. The best thing to do is try your best to understand the main things their culture reflects. With that, this presenter in the videos talked about the “American Phrasebook”. I think he did a good job figuring out the hidden language behind what Americans are really saying. I think it is something most Americans are used to at this point, however, I did think it was a pretty spot on analysis of what it really meant. I never really realized the complexity behind what we say, and how it reflects back on our culture as a whole. Going back to slang, I know it is something that a lot of younger people use when they talk. With this it could raise difficulties among international students when trying to understand things considering how a lot of the slang barely makes any sense. I anticipate similar difficulties in my host country when I study abroad as well as different expectations on what is socially acceptable.

Part 3:

“Study away” programs were not something I had heard of before reading this article in the Chronicle. However, after getting to know more about “study away” from this read, it has opened my eyes to the possibility of students immersing themselves in a new culture without even having to leave the United States. At first I was hesitant to believe it could be the same type of experience as studying abroad in a different country, however, after reading more about it and the defense the article had towards this ongoing debate, I do think it is possible to have a significant, global experience without leaving the country. The United States is known for it’s wide range of diversity among the citizens here. With this, there are so many varying backgrounds and differences throughout the country, that it is very easy to learn about other people’s culture and where they or their family originally came from. The article made good points about how it does not matter so much about the place, but rather about what happens in that place. I think really being able to connect closely with people from specific backgrounds is a good way to understand new cultures. Like the article said, a lot of study abroad programs are faculty led and the students, a lot of the time, are with people from their same country. With study away, the students can be really introduced to new cultures and get the opportunity to learn new things without traveling very far. However, I think that studying abroad is a great overall experience. With studying abroad you can completely immerse yourself in the culture of the country you are in and learn from a first hand experience. Study away is a good option if students are not looking to travel far, but still want to be exposed to new cultures. However, if a student is looking for a program to truly experience something different and see entirely new things, I think studying abroad is the better match. I think that study away is also a good option for preparing a student to study abroad. Study away programs seem great, however, it doesn’t get me as excited as the possibility of studying abroad and getting to know a new country firsthand.

Part 4:

The article from the Atlantic had a lot of information that I had not necessarily thought about before. I think that the United States is a country with a lot of opportunities, specifically with education. That is why so many people from across the globe come here to continue their educations. When I originally told my dad, who was also an international student, about my desire to study abroad, he questioned it at first with why I would want to go somewhere else since everyone wants to come to America for college. This was demonstrated through the facts in the article about just how many international students are present in this country. I think it is important for the United States to continue with the reputation of having such diverse college communities across the nation. However, once it reaches that point where local citizens are being put on the back burner to all these international students, it starts to become a problem. I feel like first-generation and minority students should hold priority over recruitment for international students. Just to be clear, I don’t think we should forget about international students all together. I just believe that citizens of the United States should be given more support towards their efforts of continuing their education. In the end, it is these students that will put work towards creating jobs and stimulating the economy in this country, not necessarily the international students. Another issue is that a lot of these international students are relatively wealthy. I don’t think their wealth is a huge issue among these college communities. If anything, I would just think it would make international student groups more exclusive and would hold as another cultural difference between them and the lower class American citizens. However, despite the downsides that can come with international students, I think it is still a necessity to have in this country. The United States has such a large amount of higher education opportunities and is a perfect place for people across the globe to pursue their dreams. A lot of people in other countries are not offered such opportunities and I think that is a shame. At least in the United States, these people can find their passions, further their education, and work towards finding a career that is right for them. I think this benefit, is what makes international students and the recruitment of students across the globe so important.

Week 8: Global Education

Part 1

Being that the number of international students coming to American institutions are high and is a statistic that is steadily rising is a great thing. Knowing that there are students from other countries are interested in learning our culture and way of learning is something that is comforting to know. However, for the international students to gain a memorable experience while studying in the colleges and universities in the United States, we as American students must openly welcome and embrace them. According to Inside Higher Ed, the main reason why international student’s express challenges with integrating with our education system revolves around their interactions with the American students.

One of the problems introduced by this source was the huge social issue that is big here in the United States, racism. Racism is something that we as a whole in this society struggles to get rid of and learn from. Like many others I am one who has experienced and struggled with racism, so for an international to come here and experience that right off the bat is something that can clearly affect the way we a new international student adapts to interacting with other students. Something else that was mentioned in the article was that instead of branching out and networking with American students they choose to interact with other fellow international students. I can also understand that phenomenon, maybe they surround themselves with one another because they can relate to something more likely than with an American student. Something else to think about is maybe we blindly separate ourselves from them even more by associating ourselves to groups or relating activities.

I have interacted with just a couple of international students during my time here at VCU and with one of them I see how socially it is hard for them to integrate themselves in America. This person I am talking about happens to be one of my dormmates. His name is Yeife and he comes from China. Already two months later I see all the qualities that has been presented in that article, he is a shy, quiet, and reserved individual that doesn’t talk much to even us, his roommates! My other roommates and I have tried on plethora occasions to welcome his and invite him to hangout, on pretty much every time he denied. Many times, I have questioned why is it that he does not like to interact with us? To answer that question, it is the way we introduce international students to our country. Many students, and in the case of my roommate they have their own separate new student orientation, which is where many of your starting friends come from. To promote and increase interaction between foreign and American students we must create a buddy system and have more programs inviting these types of interactions.

Part two

The two videos provided by Columbia School of Business are ones that I feel would help the transition of every international student, as well as any American student looking to study abroad. I think this video is one that would help the adjustment of anyone going to spend time in another country.

Culture shock is something that I believe to be very real, and it happens more than most may think too. Culture shock is something that I know to be true from past experiences. This can happen to anyone in a different environment or change in setting, not always in just different countries or societies. I have experiences this while traveling to another state to visit my sister in school. While visiting her in the state of Idaho I experienced a culture shock as well. The way they talked was much different from the way I spoke or was used to. Even the way they acted and questions they asked seemed to just be different. It took some adjusting, but because of what if feel to be a gregarious attitude that I have it was not too bad to adjust. After a little while I felt comfortable with my surroundings, and the new setting caught my attention when I first arrived. The video perfectly explained what culture shock is and why international students experience that when traveling to the United States.

The American Phrasebook is a theory that is absolutely true. My response to this video was pure laughter on how accurate the examples given were to our American society. It makes sense that our slang or sense of humor is associated with the culture of America. It is the way we talk, function, and work in our country that is much different from any other country. The small things that foreigners observe are often things that are true, but things in which we are blind from. I cannot think of any sayings that resemble our culture, but I’m sure there are many that do so. We all speak with slang, which is something else that can show the culture of a country or area. For example, something that many young people say when they find something amusing is, “I’m weak.” This is a phrase that almost any international would not understand or possible heard in that context that shows the culture of our young population.

Part Three

After reading the Chronicle of Higher Education article on an idea that that for the first time being introduced to me, I have more of an open mind on opportunities to study abroad. This article really focused on the idea of study away programs. It was described as a program that is not an alternative program to study abroad, but a complementary one that can offer just as much of value as a study abroad program. Even with the great case that was made by the Chronicle of Higher Education, I still feel that study away doesn’t not provide the astonishing global experience without leaving the United States.

Study away is something that I feel is amazing and innovating that can provide a good experience that can still be a resume builder that potentially could be admired by companies. It does not compare to the amazing opportunity of a study abroad experience. The whole purpose of a study abroad program is to stimulate and embrace the difference in society and views to gain a full global experience. Studying away in my opinion seems to be an attempt to simulate culture, and culture is something that cannot be replicated. One reason why companies and jobs find the study abroad experience so attractive is because it shows that those types of people are willing and brave enough to immerse themselves into a new culture and environment. It presents a challenge that they are willing to embrace that most college students would not. Going to a study away program, I feel takes away from the purpose of the process.

To study abroad it is such a great opportunity for a reason. There is something about meeting the people of a country and taking in the full society. Adjusting to the way another society works is maybe the most important part of the experience, which is something that studying away does not present. Traveling to just another part of the country or area within the United States isn’t that impressive, nor is it beneficial. Even with people of different culture in a study away program does not compare to the culture of a foreign country because people surrounding themselves with the American culture can too Americanize their sophistication and the way they approach things in their lives. Studying abroad is something that will give the full global education experience.

Part Four

The importance of giving international students from other countries the opportunity to bring their students to America is one that I feel is very important. Giving foreign students the same opportunities that we as American students get in countries across the world is only fair. There is no better country that can provide space for international students than the United States. Being that the United Stated hold over 4,000 universities and institutions there are more than plenty of space to host an international student a spot in our country.

Knowing that every international student wanting to study abroad here in the United States aspires to gain not only an education, but life lessons as well it is only right that we continue to embrace the growing number of incoming international students. However, if admitting more students also results in universities not providing as much funding to lower income students here in America, then I feel that tax paying dollars should not go to students that aren’t citizens of this country. There are many of students within our own country that desperately want a college education, some scared for the very reason that they can’t afford to do so. First generation students in this country I feel are the more important group of people for the topic of United States higher education and should be treated as a priority as well. This however does not mean that incoming international students are not important and welcomed, but it does mean there should be a balance.

If these students from china or other countries have as much money as the sources stated then funding shouldn’t even be a problem, the funding should go to the American students first. If there was a decision between first generation students or more international students I believe the choice would be obvious. For the universities where the international students outweigh the percentage of students that are African American, it is promising to see that study abroad is being embraced but also disappointing to see the ratio of foreign students with African American students. There should be no limit on how many international students are accepted to American Universities as long as it does not deprive other American students.

Week 8: Global Education

Part 1: I think that in general, International students have a harder time acclimating to American culture, especially when in college. College students understand the American lifestyle from almost twenty years of living in the states. American students understand social customs and ways that people interact, and to International students, their customs are totally different than Americans so Americans may find their customs strange and different. Some people believe that International students may have an easier time than most making new friends in college, because they have so many new and interesting experiences to talk about, this may interest American students. In reality, people generally become closer with people similar to them faster, so somebody from an entirely new culture may be harder to connect with. During my time at VCU so far I have encountered a good amount of international students who have traveled from Europe and Asia to study here in The United States. There are two girls in my Winning Presentations class that are originally from China, but are living here in the states. While their English is very minimal (which could make it hard to make conversation with them) they are incredibly kind people and clearly have connecting factors to people in the United States. Many times I have talked with one of them about our similarities in fashion and I make complements on her fashion choices. Even though talking with her is more difficult than talking with someone who has lived in America their entire life, there is still something that connects us, which proves that even though it may be harder for international students to make friends, it is not by any means impossible. Another situation I have encountered here at VCU is a disagreement that was held between some dorm mates I know. One of the dorm mates is from the United States and the other is from Europe. The dorm mate from Europe didn’t realize that some of the things she was saying were found to be offensive to her room mate. In Europe, the things she was saying wouldn’t have been an issue, but here in the United States, they were very offensive comments. It is the difference in culture that can often times make international students harder to become close friends with. This barrier is very easy to cross though. International students soon become acclimated with the culture of The United States and find the people they feel comfortable with. 

Part 2: I think culture shock is very interesting, because its such a significant and drastic change to someones life. While I have never actually experienced such a significant culture shock as the one that this guy experienced (mostly because Ive never been gone enough to get out of the “honeymoon phase”), I do understand and realize how difficult it must be for somebody who is coming from a foreign country to understand the culture of The United States. Many people probably do not understand what somebody going through culture shock is experiencing, because they are so used to the culture they are living in and dont see how someone from a different culture could see their world as different. As mentioned in the presentation, I did in fact see the movie “Borat”, which shows a drastic example of culture shock in The United States. In this movie we see Borat, a foreigner, entering New York City, never before leaving his home of Kazakstan. He doesn’t ever understand American culture and doesn’t see how the things he is doing may be weird to American’s. This struggle is something that (while not being as dramatic) is very real. This phenomenon of culture shock is something that people need to realize is real. As for the idea of “The American Phrasebook”, I think this is a very real concept that people in The United States fully have grasped. I can absolutely see how this concept takes a while for foreigners to grasp, because there have been situations I’ve been in where I see people from other countries not understanding what American’s are actually saying, and making themselves seem stupid. I know that the “American Phrasebook” is a real thing, because when I was watching the man go through all of the phrases, I knew what every single phrase ACTUALLY meant. A good majority of the people in the room knew what every phrase meant as well, which confirms that it is a national idea that people in The United States take things much less seriously as they do in other places around the world. The United States is the home to the people of the world. It is a place for everybody to experience and be able to understand, and while this may be difficult at first, and people may experience culture shock, people who are visiting or living in the United States from other cultures should understand that culture shock only lasts for so long. After that, the United States is the place to be :). 

 

Part 3: It is important for people to not only experience international ideas in their home country, but also actually travel to that country and experience the reality. While I absolutely love Italian food, how can I say that I really love Italian food? The same thing is true for Chinese food. I absolutely love myself a good lasagna and I absolutely love General Tso’s Chicken, but is this the reality? I feel like Italian and Chinese food’s are absolutely different from the Americanized versions of them that are available here in The United States. While I have many international friends, who tell me about their experiences in their homeland, I may think I know all this stuff about the world, but I dont really know anything until Ive experienced something for myself. Im half Jamaican and I know all this stuff about Jamaican culture from living at home with my dad who was born in Kingston. While I know all this stuff about Jamaica and have truly experienced Jamaican culture, I’ve only been to Jamaica twice in my life. Until I’ve actually lived in Jamaica for a significant amount of time, I cannot say that I truly know what its like to live as a Jamaican. My “host country” for class is Italy, and while I know a good amount about Italian culture, I dont really what its like to live in Italy, because Ive never been there. I definitely think its possible to have a significant global experience while staying in the US, because people get introduced to incredible new ideas and cultures every day in the US, but I think its hard to say that that experience has been completed until you have truly surrounded yourself with that culture or idea and lived in the way that that culture lives. Traveling is good for the mind, body, and soul. It allows people to see things and feel ways they have never felt before. Its incredible to think that our world holds so much culture in such a small place (in the grand scheme of things). We only have one life and it is important that we as people take advantage of that and see as much of the world as we can. 

 

Part 4: I think that America is the country BY the world and FOR the world. The United States is a melting pot this supposed to welcome anyone and everyone around the world. The only rule I think should be implemented for people living in The United States is that, whoever works the hardest and earns their livelihood, should get what they are trying to achieve. If a student from China has always dreamed of living and going to school in The United States, who are we to judge and then deny their dream? I think that anybody should be able to do whatever they want with their lives just as long as they work hard to achieve that dream. I think that while some people may think its unfair for an international student to get an opportunity at a college that a domestic student didn’t get to go to, people need to understand that that international student probably worked much harder than the domestic student to reach that goal. Everyone on earth when applying to college in The United States should be judged equally. While the reality is that this isn’t the case in real life, it doesn’t mean that schools shouldn’t start acting that way and thinking of everybody as equal when accepting college students. I honestly dont think that there are any downsides to having lots of international students on a campus, because it not only allows those students and the students around them to experience something new, but also works toward the interconnectedness that our world strives to achieve. I do think that, because American colleges are funded by the taxpayers dollar, maybe International students should have higher tuitions to not only limit some immigration into The United States, but also to balance out the tax payers dollar spent on funding colleges. In total I truly do not think that there are many downsides to having lots of international students at an American college or institution. I think that everybody in the situation can learn from international students, because truly they are our brothers and sisters of the world. We all share one world and we need to learn to explore that world and learn as much as we can from each other. While some may find it unfair for a college to accept an international student over a domestic student, they need to realize that that international student probably worked extremely hard to reach their goal.