Wayne State College

Cultural Adjustments

Making Friends

Most Americans are curious and may ask you many questions, some of which may appear uninformed, ridiculous, or elementary. Try to be patient in answering them since you may be the first foreign national of a particular country whom they have met. They will have little understanding of life in your country, but most of them will be interested in learning more about you and your culture.

It is sometimes difficult for international students to understand how Americans form and maintain friendships. Friendships are often transitory or are established to meet personal needs in a particular situation in today's mobile society. Casual friendships in the United States allow people to move freely into new social groups, which usually form around work, school, shared interests or places of residence. Most Americans readily welcome new people into their social groups. Americans have many interests and engage in a variety of activities so the warmth expressed in one meeting, while genuine and sincere, may be confined to that occasion. Close friendships are the result of repeated interactions between individuals as they identify similarities in point of view and share a variety of experiences.

It is possible that some American family customs will annoy you because they are very different from your own. To help you enjoy your visit more, try to discover what in the two cultures is behind the differences in customs.