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Office of International Students & Scholars East Asia

"In China, people say things directly. They don't use like 'can I...' do something. Sometimes, if you say it like 'give me that' -it's kind of rude in American culture. But it's okay in Chinese culture. That's the way we communicate. Soby that I mean to say all different cultures deal with things and have different perspectives. There's no way that you can learn those things from books.

When international students try to speak English to people around them, they're not always really sure, really confident [in their words], and that can become a barrier. And the same is true not only from the international student perspective, but also from the American student perspective -they think, 'if I say this, will they be able to understand me?' So because of that there's certain barriers between local students and international students and that's not a good thing. Once you get to know people, you see that people are willing to teach you. If you have the attitude of learning to communicate, you grow really quick. You figure out that people will respond to you, they will tell you what they know.

My recommendation is: do not be afraid of talking to people. Break that barrier. Make friends with them and you will come to realize that there's not much difference. Step out of your comfort zone, to do things that you're not really good at, not used to doing."