Living the American dream isn’t always what the individual expects it to be, it is not so-American after all.
The United States is a landmass with an assorted existing population today; this nation is known as a mixture of various societies, every one remarkable in its own particular regard.
Assistant Professor of Psychology, Dr. Matthew Hand tells us how international students come to the US thinking of living the so-called American dream; where they only imagine how the places and people are going to be something that reflects off of a movie.
“There’s this idea that things are going to be beautiful,” He said. “This could look like it does in the movies and what their parents told them about what it is like to be in the United States.”
Most international students travel to the US seeking for a better education, because the education system back home isn’t sufficient enough; the atmosphere in the US is generally very independent, the opportunity of being here is a privilege says sophomore accounting major Shu Chen.
“I was very excited to come to the States, because it is like living the American dream.” Chen said.
Junior computer science major Prajwal Gautam, also expands his thoughts about what living the American dream meant to him when he moved to the States.
“It was an opportunity for me as well as a challenge,” he said. “Since my childhood it has always been a dream for me to travel abroad.”
Opportunities come and go, but some opportunities are meant to be; when you come across them you have the tendency to move forward and build your path from there.
Second year political science and criminal justice major Nasar Sailab scoped his idea of being here in the States and was a good chance that he took.
“I have been to most parts of the world,” he said. “US, in a map is a very big name, I guess for me to be here, it was pure luck.”
No matter how much international students say that being in the States is exciting, there is always that voice in the back of their head which makes them miss home.
Sure it is freedom, it is being independent, but there is always that strike of lightning like moment snaps them back to reality said, Dr. Hand.
“When the international students get here, the anxiety really hits them,” he said. “Because now, they are away from home, they have different customs which they aren’t used to.”
There is always the communication barrier, words might not come through to some people says Shu Chen.
“I was afraid to talk to people,” Chen said. “My English was awful.”
Culture shock in general isn’t a negative factor, it just takes the individual time to adjust; the most common comment that is heard is “missing moms cooking,” professor of theatre and dean of freshman success, professor Joe Brown said.
“American students mostly complain about cafeteria food,” he said. “These international students normally miss the food they can’t get here, especially if they are living on campus.”
Freshman mass communication major Huynh Mai Han said, being here wasn’t much of a shock to her but the food and their portions were a struggle.
“I think for me, I didn’t have much shock,” she said. “But the food, the portions were huge and the taste was different.”
Junior business management major Karl Willis also explains what he misses the most.
“Back home I used to drink 7 cups of tea a day,” He said. “Here, I’m barely getting one.”
Staying away from family isn’t a easy thing, some students don’t go back home until they are done with 4 years of college, some just don’t go home at all.
Missing family and hanging out with siblings is always going to be a common regard that an international student would hold said Nasar Sailab.
“I miss my family, fighting with my siblings, but in general and most important of all, I miss acceptance,” he said. “Something about home is different, you feel safe and accepted.”
Many individuals befuddle the term culture shock with the phase of feeling discomfort, confusion, dissatisfaction and pining to go home before acclimating to an outside culture. However, culture shock is so much more.
When they get here it is the honeymoon phase, everything is wonderful and exciting; there is a lot of freedom that they experience and make the most of it, however, suddenly things might not go so well said Professor Joe Brown.
“They get a lot of freedom here,” he said. “suddenly when that gets too comfortable they fall into a slump and start coming out of it again, and it goes back and forth.”
Dr. Hand explains that for most students the feeling of coming in to a whole new place is that the mindset is generally about taking on new adventures, getting to know the customs of the new place and getting to know the people.
“I think the intent most the time, when coming here is to learn the customs and make friends,” he said. “But that intensity and anxiety is so significant, that they retreat back into customs that they are familiar with.”