Offices & Resources

Making Friends

One of the attractions of having a campus that is international is that friendships can be formed across global lines. Having friends from around the world is rewarding and enriching and helps everyone learn new perspectives and to develop empathy. However, making friends at a new school can often be difficult, whether you are from a neighboring town or from across the globe. As an international student, making friends can present unique challenges because of cultural differences. However, studies show that international students who develop rich friendships while at school are overall happier and healthier than those students whose sole focus is academic and than those who do not take the time to make friends. While some international students are discouraged by their parents from making friends with students from their home countries, it is important to have a range of friends to support you, so make sure to make friends from home and from other countries!

Here are a few tips that might be helpful as you work to make friends at St. Mark’s. Be aware that in America friendship may be defined differently than in your home country. For example, according to an article in the Atlantic, it is not uncommon in the U.S. for friends to enjoy each other's company but not do everything together; often different friends enjoy different activities.

  • Participate in one or more of our Affinity Groups, which are coordinated by the Office of Community and Equity Affairs. Ask Mr. Long, the Assistant Director of Community and Equity Affairs, if you have questions.
  • Get Involved. Join a team, participate in a community service program, and participate in weekend activities.
  • Be balanced. Doing homework is important, but spending time with other students is also important. Be sure to have some time each day that is social.
  • You are from a different part of the world and that is wonderful! Be proud of your culture and share that with people at the School. Explain when you need to and ask questions when you need to.
  • Be open minded and work to understand different perspectives. Having friends from around the world will enrich your life, but you will have to get out of your comfort zone to make those friends.
  • Watch a movie with someone in your House. Ask questions. American students may make assumptions about what you know about movies, music, or American culture.
  • Asking questions will open up a conversation and help both you and your American friends understand each other’s perspectives.
  • Again, if you are having trouble making friends don’t be afraid to ask for help from the Global Citizenship Office, the Office of Community and Equity Affairs, from your Advisor, House Head, House Prefect, Health Services or the International Student Advisor.

More Information on Staying Healthy

Asking for Help
Culture Shock