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OVERSEAS ROOMMATES

Having an overseas roommate can be a fun way to learn a little bit about another culture while you share space with a traveler. In most instances, your overseas roommate will be here working, attending school or on holidays. It is a good chance that she does not have many friends or any family nearby and thus you need to be as nice and friendly as possible. Take this time to get to know your overseas roommate and make him or her feel welcome.

Overcoming Culture Clash

There are a number of battles you need to overcome when you are living with a stranger. You will need to get to know one another and in some instances your personalities may clash. Now, add in a culture clash or even a language barrier and you could be looking at months of awkwardness if you do not act the right way.

One of the biggest concerns when you have an overseas roommate is that your lifestyle will offend them. They may have been raised to believe that wearing short sleeves is wrong or that eating pork is wrong and this can be a huge problem if you love your teeny tiny tops and your bacon. Take the time to learn about their culture by asking questions and doing some research online. Your overseas roommate is most likely here to learn about America and thus you don't have to stop being American to keep her happy. However, you may wish to tone down some of your lifestyle habits that may offend her.

Another problem when living with an overseas roommate is the language situation. If they speak a different language from you, then it can be hard to communicate. Even broken English can be hard to understand. However, be patience and try to keep a conversation going with your roommate. One of the reasons she will be here is to learn to speak better English and the easiest way to do this is by talking, talking and talking. Keep the conversation going and, as frustrating as it seems, work on it.

Overseas for the Holidays

One thing you need to keep in mind when you have a roommate from overseas is that holidays can often be tough. If she is not going home to her family for Christmas or other big holidays, then she may be on her own. Ask your family if they wouldn't mind letting your roommate come home with you. In most instances, your family will welcome the idea and hopefully your roommate will love to tag along and see how an American Christmas is celebrated.

Even if your roommate declines the offer to spend Thanksgiving or the Fourth of July with your family or friends, you have done the right thing and made her feel welcome. It can be hard being away from home and family on the holidays but having someone open up can take away some of the homesickness for your roommate. If you notice that your roommate is having a hard time, don't avoid her. See if she wants to talk about it or do something to take her mind off being away from home.

In some instances, you and your overseas roommates will become instant best friends. In other instances, however, it may take some time and your relationship may feel strained. Try to be as welcoming and friendly as possible when living with an overseas roommate. Be respectful of their situation and their lifestyle and try to make their stay as pleasant as possible. You will play an important role on how your roommate views America so make it a good experience for both of you.

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