Sunday, May 19, 2024

Outside view on U.S. culture 


By Victoria Campbell

Americans are stereotyped to be more selfish compared to other cultures. A reason for why Americans might be perceived this way is that they tend to be more individualistic, which causes the impression of selfishness. 

The United States has a high international student count. There were more than a million international students during the 2022-2023 school year, according to Statista.

SUNY Plattsburgh has more than 250 international students coming from more than 60 different countries, according to the SUNY Plattsburgh website. 

Mila Yuki, an international student from Japan and an alumna of SUNY Plattsburgh, has a different view of the stereotype of Americans being selfish. 

“I don’t think Americans are more selfish,” Yuki said. “As long as I’m friendly and nice to them, they are not mean.”

There are a lot of international students in Plattsburgh, so many students are probably used to seeing and interacting with people from different cultures.

Most Americans mind their business and keep to themselves, which could be why they could come off as selfish. However, Yuki likes how Americans are and does not think they are self-centered.

Cultures all have different social expectations, and while Americans are used to it, people with different backgrounds might not be used to American norms. 

“I don’t think it’s a problem,” Yuki said. “It’s like them being them, and we feel like it’s somewhat cold or too less caring, but I feel like it’s just a culture thing, and I feel like communication solves it.”

From an outside perspective, people will always have opinions, but Yuki has not had a negative experience and enjoys how her American friends are and how they act. The selfish stereotype does not worry Yuki, as she said she has many good friends who are American.

As Americans, we have our values, habits, beliefs and expectations. While I don’t think most people are selfish, there will always be a small percentage who are.

If it was a significant issue, I do not think the connection and friendship between international students and Americans would be as strong as it is.


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