So, you have an International roommate….
Living with someone for possibly the first time ever can be
a difficult and scary thing for most students.
Then, you add all the unknowns about living with someone from a
different country and culture. It can be
overwhelming, but here are some resources that you can use to help build an
effective roommate relationship across cultural barriers.
- First, know that you and your roommate are in
similar circumstances. They have to overcome
the same cultural barriers that you do, just from the other side of
things. They here to learn at Washburn,
and are paying to utilize on campus facilities just like you are.
- Having an international roommate doesn’t mean
that it’s automatically going to be more difficult or stressful than living
with anyone else. Communication and
living together can be challenging for any roommate pairing, it’s the desire to
develop a good roommate relationship that usually determines success.
- Avoid stereotyping. If you create an image of what you think your
roommate will look like and how they will act, it makes it more difficult to
allow them to create their own first impressions. Allow your roommate to tell you about who
they are and what they are like, instead of going off of other’s experiences,
or what you may think.
- Try not to assume every issue is a result of
cultural barriers. It can be easy to
chalk everything up to cultural differences, but that could lead you to think
that it is something that is out of your control to change. If you have an issue, address it, but leave
room for them to explain what things may look like at home for them. Example, if you feel like you and your
roommate have different standards of cleanliness, it may be an individual issue
instead of a cultural one. Communicate your
expectations with them and maybe ask what kind of cleaning schedule they have
at home; understanding the other side of the issue is helpful.
- Be prepared to compromise. Compromise is a natural thing that needs to
happen in any good roommate relationship.
Don’t expect that as an American your roommate needs to meet your
standards and expectations. This is a
recipe for disaster in any roommate relationship.
- The skills you learn and use to build a
relationship with your roommate are important skills that can be transferred to
most situations and work environments.
Communication and compromise will be something that you will use for the
rest of your life!