College brings a whole lot of new experiences, new lessons and new people. But it seems that no matter what school you go to there are same characters on every campus. The frat house groupie, the sensitive all American, the cool girl, the Unhinged Coed, and the Americanized International.
Allow me to refine this status: Americanization is not to be confused with Westernization, nor is it a put-down.
International Students take up a demographic in most US colleges and universities. They are usually easily spotted on campus. No, not because that of clothing choices or accents, but because they maintain a certain wide eyed fascination and solemn intelligence. International students seem refined and sophisticated. Hard working and goal oriented. They worked hard to get to this prestigious American university and they keep that in mind as they work even harder to graduate.
Most International Students stick together, seeking the comfort of the familiar. They tend to sit back in class and take notes as the more abrasive and comfortable students take over answering the questions, debating the topics and joking with classmates. As soon as class ends, they head to the library or the comforts of their dorm room to get started on the reading assigned. They never join the rest of campus at the weekend parties.
But then something starts to change. As the semester rolls on and these students find themselves more at ease in their new environment, they begin to engage in common American customs. They become The Americanized International.
The Americanized International has parted ways with his/her frequent dialect for slang, exchanging pleasant “hellos” for degraded “what ups.” Their freshly acquired iPods are now filled with the rhymes of Lil Wayne and the Billboard Top 100. Whereas studying used to take up most of their time, it has now been reduced due to their newfound love of Thirsty Thursdays and football pre-games.
Their love of food from “back home” (Moussaka, Wat, Masala) has been trumped by a new addiction to late night Mickey D’s or the Midnight Special at the campus pizza place.
The Americanized International has become fascinated by the media and pop culture and may know more than you about current events in Celebrityland. TMZ and Perez Hilton have become a fixture in their life.
Before you know it, the refreshing style of the International Student is been overcome by Uggs (no offense, Aussies), Crocs, North Face jackets and other over-rated trends. Their hair gets a little shorter/gel-ier/lighter, their jeans more expensive.
They begin drifting from their International friends who don’t embrace the new culture and immersing themselves more and more into their new world. They don’t deny their culture completely, but don’t embrace it readily. They are Americans now and do everything in their power to fit in. Pretty soon you can’t tell where the Americanized International came from.