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April 6, 2016

Do International Students Learn American Culture?

Integration into another culture is not easy. As a foreigner (American) living in India for the second time, and this time for five years, I can speak to some of the complexities of cultural integration. It's not always so straightforward.  

In 2015, I had the opportunity to conduct workshops on American business and professional networking techniques to overseas students from India, China, Taiwan, the Middle East, African countries, and Latin America at SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Brockport, Monroe Community College and Binghamton University in New York State. After the sessions, I spoke to a few students one-on-one. While there were a few students who were a true minority, either by choice or design, many others were one among many from their country or region in that university. As China and India are the top sending countries (according to SEVIS, SEVP), it was very interesting for me to interact with a few Indian and Chinese students in one-on-one coaching sessions to learn how difficult it was for them to learn American culture. They were so appreciative of the sessions I provided, saying that though they have been in the US, studying an American university for one up to four years, they were unable to understand American culture. So, how is it that college students from other countries earning their degrees in American colleges, surrounded by Americans are unable to learn American culture? Watch the video below to learn more about my insights into this matter. 

Jennifer Kumar, an American citizen earned her Master's degree in India. As predominately the only American in the college and the only American in her department, Jennifer learned about Indian culture quite quickly. While this is the case for some international students in the U.S., many may still require extra help to learn how to navigate U.S. academic, social and corporate culture to be successful and comfortable among Americans in the U.S. Authentic Journeys can provide on-site or on-line cross-cultural seminars and workshops for international students in your university. Contact us for more information. 

Related Posts: 
Video testimonial of a student from Colombia who chose a college she was the only Colombian at and why! 
Jennifer Kumar participates in the Executive in Residence Program at Binghamton University 
Do I have culture shock? 

Authentic Journeys: Bridging Culture on Virtual Teams

We help build effective, culturally competent global teams with focus on the cultures of the USA and India. Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director, an American citizen, has almost 10 years experience living, studying and working (owning a business) in India. Authentic Journeys Consultancy is registered as a Private Limited in India (Kerala) and an LLC in the USA (Salt Lake City, Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.