READ THE LATEST FROM USTL PARTICIPANTS
Culture-should about Gender Identity in the United States
Posted on: 01 February 2023 BY: NMarques
Nelson’s Blog: Culture-Shock about Gender Identity.
As an international student in the United States, there are several experiences and challenges that you might encounter during your stay.
Culture shock: Moving to a new country can be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. You may feel out of place, homesick, and find it difficult to adjust to the new culture.
Language barrier: English may not be your first language, so communicating with others, understanding lectures, and even reading signs can be challenging.
Homesickness: You may miss your family, friends, and familiar surroundings. You may also miss the foods, customs, and traditions of your home country.
Making friends: It can be hard to meet new people and make friends when you are in a new country. However, you can take advantage of clubs, organizations, and events on campus to meet other students and make new friends.
Financial stress: Studying in the US can be expensive, and you may have to use your money frugally to support yourself.
Hence, I'd like to tell you about the first cultural shock I experienced in my life here in the United States. While studying here, I also participate in some clubs and sports at Whatcom Community College. One of the clubs I belong to is called Talk-Time, and we have eleven members from all over the world, including the United States. We were talking about the upcoming activities and sharing our thoughts and ideas. There was a transgender friend who was born biologically male but transitioned to become transgender woman, and this was something completely new to me. She has previously told us about her pronoun, which is she/her or they them. During our discussion, she gave us a great idea for the upcoming activities we wanted to carry out. It was my turn to speak, and I said that I completely agreed with him because he had done this before, and that I thought it was a great idea from him because he had some experience that could benefit us with his idea.
Suddenly the other guy friend who were sitting beside me immediately speak up and said "C'mon man are you kidding me, why are you disrespecting her like this? She had told us her pronoun and still you repeatedly treating here like this, this is unacceptable".
I was shocked, and I thought I was doing something wrong and was in big trouble. My other friend jumped in the middle of him to calm him down. I was defending myself because I was unaware of my mistake. My other friend explained why he was upset with me, and I finally understood what was going on. Once he had calmed down, I tried to explain to him that I was not intentionally disrespecting her here because in my country, when we saw someone who appeared like a man, we called him he and him, and vice versa. Furthermore, I explained that English is my second language and that I occasionally use people's pronouns inadvertently, with no intention of disrespecting anyone. After everything was cleared up, we became friends and continued our normal teamwork.
To conclude, I believe that this is one of the new things that I have learned. It is possible that it will be difficult for any international student because of the differences in religion belief, social and cultural belief, and the many other characteristics that we have in our country. It is reasonable to expect that international students will bring with them cultural differences and may be shocked by the relative freedom and variety of expressions of gender identity in the United States.
Despite these difficulties, there are a lot of positive aspects to being a student from another country in the United States. You have the opportunity to gain valuable life skills, expand your cultural horizons, and build connections that will last a lifetime.