Sometimes I can feel the unsaid words from people. Although American people did not said anything explicitly about how they view Iranian students, I can feel the pre-judgement that exists behind their words. I took a class called Business and Marketing this semester, and I was assigned to team with another three students to finish a project. In the first meeting, we divided the project into parts and assign each teammate a part. Each American student offer to write a section in the paper, and the leader ask me, “Do you want to work on the Powerpoint?” I was surprised that they did not want any of my contribution on the actual paper. The Powerpoint is just a sum-up of the content on the paper.
It is my first time to become an alien, or more practically, a minority in a place. I need to re-learn the rules, behaviors, and customs of this place, and abandon what I have learned and got used to in Iran. What I used to eat, dress, talked, behaved all are considered “wrong” or “abnormal” in this society. For example, I like to eat Iranian food, and I figured out a way to make the American food match my tastes. So each time I went to the Union Market restaurant I will ask the server give me a special combination. Usually they don’t understand why I do this, but I have to, otherwise I do not feel happy when eating.
I think I like a minority in this country, who need to experience “abnormal” life in this society and sometimes will need to tolerate the prejudice of people. Being aware of these actually helped me to better survive int his place and helped me run the F.A.I.R. organization better. Because we are “abnormal,” F.A.I.R. can attract people who seek different life style. We held international picnics and cultural display activities during this semester. The “difference” actually helped us to better promote our organization and the programs we have. For example, we had a table in Student Union to promote our newest event – Trip to the Washington D.C. We told every passers-by that it is not just a trip, it is a cultural exploration. In this trip, you will hear many different language, you can learn their opinion about the Capital of United States (probably it is very different from what you learned from the media), and you can exchange each other’s idea about life in the global village!
Morita, N. (2009). Language, culture, gender, and academic socialization. Language and Education, 23(5), 443-460.