The american life: from an international students perspective :D

My advisor wanted me to write about how living in America really is for international students. Frankly international students are not a new or rare phenomenon in the US. The engineering, math’s and sciences departments of almost every university are filled with people of varying ethnicity.

I like studying here. I know that before we, especially the Pakistanis, get to the US we are pounded by scare stories of rigorous immigration examinations. I could deny this because my own immigration went remarkably smoothly (All they asked me was “so you are going to Florida State for your education? I said yes and he said “welcome to the US”, with a smile) but I have had a number of friends who did end up being detained for prolonged hours at the airports. However one thing that I can vouch for is that most of the suspicion is limited to the airports and after you are out nobody really cares where you are from. I have yet to meet someone who debases me based on my identity or religion. Most of the people I have met are genuinely interested in my culture and are keen to learn more about it.

 Every documentary talks about cultural shocks and states that the central problem is the major differences in  values and behaviors between the foreign students and the Americans they meet. I think that maybe for me the  whole cultural thing might have been downplayed because coming to America was not my first international trip. However at the same time, I agree that there is a remarkable cultural difference. Even though, well speaking about Pakistan, my generation is extremely different from the previous ones because I think that we are less antagonistic and more open to change and having different perspectives by basing our opinions on what we see and not on what we are spoon-fed, however the way of life, the family integrations and some of the values we grow up with might seem as a stark contrast for some.

The English can be a slight problem, at first my roommates didn’t understand what I said because they weren’t used to my accent. Even now that they can understand most of what I say there are moments of miscommunications. Linguistic differences make international students stand out more in crowds. I read a funny story related to linguistic problems,

“A person in a media agency was trying to tell them that they had to put an underscore between two words in a website’s URL, but could not think of the right word in English. She stared at the “_” hopelessly, trying deadly hard to find the right word in her mind: “Line?” “Strip?” “That U with a line below it symbol in Microsoft Office 2007?” Finally, she came up with a word which she thought may be most similar to the accurate one. She ended up asking them to please use the “DASH BUT A LITTLE LOWER!”

Moral of the story: even though we have to go through the entire standard TOEFL and SAT English, that is only appropriate for classrooms.

I came to US to get a degree. Initially education was my main goal, it still is now but my goals have shifted a bit and I realized that there are other more important things than just what you can learn inside classrooms and through your textbooks. I have made great friends. There is great diversity here, with representatives from nearly all countries, cultures and languages. My experiences have taught me a lot about the world. Honestly, millions of students come to the US for education. And everyone goes through more or less the same experiences.  I love being here especially because I got to experience a whole new level of independence I otherwise would not have experienced if I had stayed in Pakistan.


One Response to The american life: from an international students perspective :D

  1. abadullah says:

    you have defended well a society made up of great expectations – thanks for a good post.

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