This semester will be my first and last time in Boston since I’m an exchange student from South Korea. I currently take a lot of courses in the Metropolitan College with lots of other international students. At first, it was hard to become friends and get along with them. After a few months, I learned how to associate with them, and now we’re all friends. So, here are some tips on how to become friends with students from different cultures and countries.
1. Start with a simple conversation.
It may sound a little awkward to you, especially because it’s the first time you’re meeting new people. There could even be a language barrier. However, you can start a small conversation by asking, “Where are you from?” and “What is your name?” with a big smile. Even though this seems small, just asking a question shows your interest and international students will be really pleased to talk to you. They might even remember you later!
2. Invite international students to your home.
Before I came here, I heard that it’s common to have house parties in the United States. In my country, we don’t usually have house parties, so I decided to try this out. For my own small house party, I prepared tons of food, drinks and some music. My friends and I even took pictures, connected on social networks and exchanged numbers so we could communicate whenever we wanted to talk with each other.
3. Go to a popular tourist destination with them.
As you know, Boston has some majorly popular tourist destinations, such as the Freedom Trail. That’s why many international students chose Boston to study abroad. International students don’t know the tourist attractions as well as the natives or domestic students here. My friend enjoys taking international students to the Museum of Fine Arts. She acted as our tour guide, showed us around and we had a really fun time. It was cool because we were able to share an experience together. It also allowed us to make plans for another tourist destination.
4. Have a lunch at a restaurant you like.
Last week, I went to Korean Garden Restaurant because my new friends from China asked me to show them the best Korean food in Boston. We decided to go for lunch and ate Korean pork belly (or “Samgyeopsal”). During the lunch, I introduced them to Korean food, showing them how to eat it, what Koreans call the food and what kind of side dishes are usually paired with the main dish. It was really meaningful to share my culture’s food with them. After that, we made plans to eat at Hot Pot Buffet the week after so my friends could share their favorite Chinese cuisine with me.
5. Write letters to each other.
Sometimes there will be a language barrier when you meet international students. In my introduction to creative writing course, each student had to connect and share their opinions with each other. My professor also assigned us to write letters to each other based on the stories we told and write some advice we wanted to offer. I received many letters from my fellow students, which enabled me to understand what they took away from reading my story. By getting these letters, it helped me understand everyone’s perspectives and grow us closer as friends.
6. Watch a sports game with them.
Boston is famous for the Boston Red Sox, so my MET friends and I went to Fenway Park to watch a game. Cheering on the Red Sox and absorbing the intense atmosphere together made us more integrated and bonded. I also enjoy watching BU’s men’s ice hockey team. When they played a home game against University of Prince Edward Island, I cheered with my friends and even chanted with the pep band. Even though we’re from different countries, we realized that we all cheered for the same team and used that as a common link to become better friends.