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Overcoming Stereotypes…

Headshot of FIU Global student

Global First Year student, Puneet Singh Gill from India, discusses the stereotypes he had about American people before moving to the United States and how those stereotypes have now changed.

lobal First Year student, Puneet Singh Gill

“When I think of America, the first thing that comes to my mind is the people. In India, people usually have a common thinking that people in the U.S. are kind of rude and don’t think about others. I used to think maybe that’s just the culture in America.

Meeting people in the U.S. personally, has made me realize how different the people actually are in America than the stereotypes I used to hear from my uncles and aunts. Thinking about what I heard about people before arriving in America has made me contemplate how absurd those stereotypes turned out to be. The people that I have met so far are so helpful and undemanding. I still remember the day I came to the U.S., everyone welcomed me so warmly and kindly, they made me feel at home.

Of what I have observed in India and America, people in India do not open up quite as easily as people in America. In India, people usually take a few meetings to be sort of frank with others. But in America, people are more candid and straightforward. This statement can be false, but this observation is based upon MY meetings and anecdotes, I have found people here to be always up-front and this is what I love about Americans. I feel that people in India tend to make judgments about people quickly and don’t easily change their minds. In one instance back in India, I got a C on an exam, but on the next exam I got an A… so, the professor started asking me, “Didn’t you get a C last time?” I nodded my head and said yes. He replied, “How did you manage to get an A this time? Did you cheat on the exam?” I was so infuriated and exasperated, I wanted to tell him I got an A by practicing and hard work and that people can change their ways. But, my Indian values stopped me… as we are always taught to respect our elders.

My prejudices about American people have started to change. I no longer think that if I go and start chatting with someone, he or she might disregard me or be rude. I no longer believe that if a person comes to me and talks in friendly and kindly manner, he or she may want something from me. Of what I have seen here, I can truly say that the preconceptions I had about the people in the U.S. were false. All the fallacies and notions were fabricated about American people, for they are nothing like I thought before coming here.”




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