So, you have an American roommate...
We in the Office of Residential Living understand that living
in a different culture than your own can be challenging. Here are some things about American culture
that will hopefully provide some information to you and help you to adjust
better and more smoothly to life at Washburn.
Even though this information may be helpful, it is also important to
understand that it is a generalization of American culture, and you are likely
to experience Americans that are very different than what you may read about
- If you need help, or want to know something, don’t
be afraid to ask. Americans will be
willing to help you if you ask for it, but if you don’t ask, they will assume
that you understand, and /or everything is ok.
- Americans are typically open and direct. They will often speak up and make their
opinions heard. You will see this in the
classroom and in personal relationships.
It is not uncommon in American culture for people to challenge each
other’s views and opinions and still be friends. You may also hear the phrase, “We can agree
to disagree,” acknowledging that they may have different opinions and that is
- If someone offers you something like food or
drink, it is ok to accept upon the first offer if you would like it. This is contrary to some cultures where it is
considered polite to refuse two or three times before saying yes. It is also ok to politely refuse something that
is offered to you if you do not want it.
- If you do not understand what is being said to
you, it is not considered impolite to ask someone to repeat themselves, or
phrase something differently. This is
similar to the idea that if you need something, ask, because Americans won’t
always offer again or ask if there is something you need.
- Homesickness and culture shock are real things
that students experience. If you are
feeling like you miss home a lot and are having trouble adjusting to Washburn
there are many different people who can help you: Your Resident Assistant,
International Programs, or Counseling Services.
- Know that your Resident Assistant (RA) is there to help. They are a student living in your hall that has been trained to help residents with any of their needs. RAs can help with everything from located resources on campus to helping mediate conflict between roommates. If you have an issue with your living situation, your RA is the first person you should talk to about it to get help and advice!