Strengthen The Friendships Your Made As An ESL Student In The US

 In Cultural Immersion

Cross-cultural friendships can be a challenge to form.  Different values, beliefs, and religions mean you might have little in common at the start.  But, if you were able to overcome, or better yet, embrace these differences, and form friendships with your US classmates during your time as an ESL student, take the time to nurture and maintain your friendships after you return home from study abroad.

Study Abroad Friendships Are Strong

Often friendships formed during study abroad are more durable than say, work friendships.  The pressure of unfamiliar territory, shared experiences, and the dual stresses of independence and expectations, makes it a memorable time in your life.

As an ESL student studying in the US you were immersed in the American culture.  You woke every morning, got dressed, and boldly headed into the unknown.  The rewards for having been open to a new culture are: stronger English language skills; cultural sensitivity; more self-confidence; flexibility in your thinking; AND international friendships.  Why not pass these rewards on to your US friends by inviting them to come stay with you, and learn about your culture?

Host Your US Classmates In Your Own Country

Hosting your US friends will give you a chance to see your country through their eyes.  Think back to the first days and weeks you spent in the US as a study abroad student.  Everywhere you looked was something curious or novel.  This sense of wonder will be the same for your US classmates in your country.

You can give your friends an intimate understanding of your culture.  Help them to gain confidence speaking your language.  Encourage them to use the words, and phrases they’ve learned, and teach them more.  Go to all the tourist sights, and the secret places that only the locals know.  Take your US friends to your favorite restaurant, and let them taste the classic flavors of your culture’s cuisine.

True and lasting friendships require maintenanceCommit to your long distance friendships, stay in touch on Facebook, or via Skype, and when you can, host your US classmates in your home country.  You’ll both ultimately learn that, despite entirely different cultures, your likenesses are greater than your differences.

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