Relationships with American Students

Try to avoid stereotyping the students you meet.  Drake includes many kinds of students!

Some are from Iowa (about 1/3), but others are as new to Des Moines as you are.

Some believe the U.S. is the greatest place on earth; others are very critical of the U.S. government.

Some are adults who are excited and nervous about attending classes with younger students; others are teenagers who are living away from home for the first time.

Some share your values and interests; others will do things of which you disapprove. 

Some students' families are wealthy; many are not (by American standards).

Most Drake students have jobs and participate in campus activities in addition to attending classes; others may seem to isolate themselves.

In short, you will like some students; others you will not.  Remember, Americans like to focus on their individuality.  It will help you if you look at each student as having some characteristics that make that person unique from the other Americans you meet.  

Many Drake students are not from Des Moines.  Being in a new place with few people they know, they may be feeling some of the same things you feel.  Though Americans are usually very informal when meeting people, and quite direct in their conversation, you may find some students are hesitant to introduce themselves to you.  This doesn't mean that they aren't curious about meeting you.  They may be very happy if you show an interest in them.  Being outgoing and having a sense of humor will help you make friends.  

Drake students may or may not have traveled outside of the U.S. They may know little about your home country.  This will embarrass some of them.  Others will try to hide their ignorance by pretending to know more than they really do.  Regardless, this can be a great way to get to know each other by sharing a little about each other's country, family, and home.

It is not unusual for American students to have many people they call friends.  They may view friendship differently than people do in your home country.  It seldom implies deep obligations to one another.  Friendship, for American college students, implies common interests, values or activities.

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