Friends Wanted?

Just last week, a new survey revealed that one in three international students in the U.S. didn’t have any close U.S. friends, and many said they wish they had more relationships with Americans.  Specifically, the survey looked at 454 international students in the US at 10 public universities in the South and Northeast regions of the United States.

The results of this study had us feeling glum, much like this young woman.

Other findings were that 27% said they had three or more close U.S. friends, while 38% stated that they had no strong friendships with Americans.  Another 17% said they had one such friend, while 18% said they had two meaningful friendships with Americans.

Alarming?  Absolutely.  In fact, hopefully the study brings this problem into the limelight, as it’s an issue we’ve commonly heard from our partner universities.  For the most part, international students tend to stick with other international students.

So, who’s to blame here? We’re not all that sure that “blame” should go anywhere as it can’t change the past.  But what can change is the future!  

If you’re at a school, constantly think how you can incorporate everyone into your programs.  While this is definitely easier said than done, you may be surprised at the type of people that open up to opportunities when they are presented.  This goes for both Americans and international students.

If you’re an international student, we don’t want to make it seem as if we’re underplaying another interesting finding in the study – 54% of the students said they blamed this lack of friendship on Americans.  But, 46% did blame an internal factor such as shyness or English ability.  While you can’t control how people will react, you can control the effort that you put forth.  Always try to strike up a conversation and if you’re short on topics, there’s always the weather.

While this study doesn’t put forth the most welcoming hand, everyone at peerTransfer would like you to know that you have a friend in us.  After all, we’re always around to chat.

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