Have you ever wondered what it's like to experience a new country or culture?
Maybe you can't travel right now, but you can learn about the world by making a friend on campus!
Join An Event (Or Several!)
Many college campuses have international events or clubs that meet regularly. Ask around and you might find events like:
Chinese New Year celebrations
International Education Week
So many more!
These events are a great opportunity to learn more about cultures that you might not be familiar with.
Invite Someone Along
You've met a new friend at an international group, and you want to get to know them better.
The best way to make a friend is to BE a friend, so invite them on an adventure!
Just make sure it's a place where they can be comfortable — for example, avoid the bar if you're not sure whether they're comfortable around alcohol.
Keep An Open Mind
There is so much joy in an international friendship! You can make the most of your friendship by keeping an open mind about their culture, language, and food.
Focus on learning about your new friend.
Offer to help students when they have questions about campus (i.e. "Who should I talk to about...")
Ask if they're open to teaching you words in their native language — try your best!
Be open to trying new foods with your friend.
Learn some basic facts about their home country — like finding it on a map.
Only talk about your own culture.
Correct someone's grammar, just to be "right"
Call their food "gross" or "smelly" — maybe it's just not something you're used to eating!
Make generalizations from what you see on the news or in movies — people are much more complex than their government or pop culture.
You just learned your new friend celebrates a holiday you've never heard of. What's a good question to ask them about it?
You can learn to befriend people from many different cultures and countries. So get out there and make a new friend!
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This Byte has been authored by
Creative, Cross Cultural ID and HPT Practitioner