From Gaungdong Univeristy SAF Spring Correspondent Vito Meow is chronicling his experience at UC Berkeley.
Everyone seems to know each other and have someone to talk to in the first class, and I am seated there in a silly manner, friendless and lonely. The beginning of the first semester was hard because the classes that I took were about English literature, there were few international students or exchange students like me. Often times, I found myself quite isolated.
To fix this, I figured out a way to make friends. I thought it would be great to share it with all of the international students currently studying in the United States and those who are looking forward to making friends.
The first step is to take the initiative and start the conversation. If we want to make friends, we need to be friendly with people around us. We may say something like “Hey, did you do the assignment yesterday,” or “What was the assignment? I did not quite catch that.” Anything like this would not be as boring as talking about the weather, and will quickly establish a connection that you are on the same team with the other party – struggling to do the work before deadlines. According to my experiences, this worked quite well, and people are willing to talk to you after class or when you meet them next time, for instance, on campus.
In an American culture class, I made a good friend named Davy. He invited me to a small party at his place. I think it was a valuable experience because I got to see what goes on at an American party. Also, I made a friend from France named Victoria, and she always invited me to grab a tea or boba. Sometimes international students are quite lonely, by making friends with others our lives will not be so dry and full of only homework. Another “perk” of making friends is that we may gain more academic insights. For instance, I know this guy named Patrick in a Literature class about music, and we often walked on Telegraph together and chatted a lot. Before the essays were due, we would exchange papers to see if we were on the right track. Also, before the final, we would exchange notes and further discuss the meter pattern of a specific poem, its significance, and so on.
I think my way of making friends is a bit brave, but it is definitely worth a try and rewarding.
Host: University of California, Berkeley
Home: Guangdong University of Foreign Studies
Major: English (Advanced Translation and Interpreting)