Cultural Assimilation

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With globalization and people’s living quality advancing dramatically, every year, American universities welcome tens of thousands of international students from all over the world. The land of freedom and justice has opened its doors to those who seek new options and better opportunities and sometimes it asks for certain changes and adjustments fir those who come to study aboard. When these international students pursues higher education in US, fulfilling their life experience and learning something new from American culture, they too bring with them elements of international experience to an American university. Taking up a considerable portion of student population in the university, international students face difficulties to assimilate with local students, particularly in terms of linguistic and cultural differences. International student struggles to become one with the world around him. Some popular cultural studies experts believed it is best for students from all over the world who come to the United States and lose their cultural identity and “melt” into or assimilate into the American culture. Assimilation occurs in many different ways in our universities, and it is unfortunately, a part of life that we all international students have to learn to accept, no matter the consequences. According to various critics, the process of assimilation occurs in two distinct forms: Language and Culture. My paper will demonstrate the distinction between these two types of assimilation, arguing that language assimilation is necessary, but cultural assimilation can be problematic or damaging.

I, being an international student feel that most important aspect of assimilation that an international student faces is language. In American society, learning to speak English properly is a crucial factor and is a form of assimilation. However, people who have decided to come to America to study have found it rather difficult to assimilate into American society for several reasons. International students are forced into an English – speaking classroom and expected to assimilate to the local language with very little help of the educators. The educators are not be blame, the demand for teachers is extremely high and the teachers we have fill the gaps, whether they share a language with their students or not. Linguistic assimilation is important for international students but they should keep in mind that they should not completely melt in other language, which results in eradication of their cultural language. This situation is perfectly portrayed by Salman Rushdie in his essay “‘Commonwealth Literature’ doesn’t exist” that discusses the conflicts in India over the English language. Salman Rushdie in his essay “‘Commonwealth Literature’ doesn’t exist” discusses the conflicts in India over the English language. Some in India see English as the language of British imperialism and believe that it shouldn’t be used. Others disagree because the language that is proposed to replace English in everyday use is Hindi, which has strong connections to religion, which are not universally accepted. Rushdie states that this ideological divide is mostly between the north and south of India. He sums up his position by saying, “…it is completely fallacious to suppose that that there is such a thing as a pure, unalloyed tradition from which to draw” (pp. 2541). Rushdie believes that language is an essential part of expressing culture. He explains that, though Indian and British literature are written in English but they are distinct from one another and that just because they share a common language doesn’t diminish the value of the Indian culture. Rushdie acknowledges the growing importance of global trade and that English is well suited to serve as its communication medium. There is essential technical and scientific vocabulary that is used regularly in international exchanges that have no analog in local languages, such as Hindi. He believes that...
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