This post is a part of our weekly International Voices column, writing by UT students, for UT students. Enjoy!
From the lady in line at the grocery store, to the new student you met in class, to the musician at the bus stop, to the exchange scholar at an ISSS event, to your professor, to your best friend, we always have so many conversation opportunities with so many different people.
As international students, we might hesitate at it sometimes. We might also try, unconsciously, to seek people from our own country or with a similar cultural background. We tend to stay in our comfort zone and not make any initiative, or respond in a way that will not carry the conversation forward.
One small chat, one short conversation can teach you something about a new culture, a new field, about the other person or even about yourself. It might help you get this internship, give you an idea, or inspire you to start something you never thought about. It can simply make your day, or someone else’s.
When I moved to the States, I got exposed to more diverse types of conversations and a bigger variety of stories. I get asked a lot of different questions as an international student. Some of the common ones are where my accent is from (of course), why I chose to come to Austin, what were the cultural differences, Lebanese food descriptions and recommendations, places to visit in Lebanon, what I study and why, my aspirations for the future after graduating.
This exchange of words turns into a very interesting experience and rich exchange. It gives me a chance to talk about and reflect on decisions I made and plans I have with others and hear about theirs; verbalizing these ideas and passions are a step towards making them happen. Even aside from the potential benefits of the conversation’s content, the process of sharing emotions, ideas and stories itself makes you feel good.
It is always beautiful when the mind is expanded and exposed to the variety of cultures, people, stories and perspectives. This makes every conversation worth the shot.