How Do Americans Perceive Arabs? Social and Cultural Experience of University Students

Bilal Obeidat, Mohammad Salman AlKhaza’leh

Abstract


The study aimed at identifying the social and cultural perceptions of American students toward Arab international students at a Midwestern university. To achieve the objective, the researcher conducted individual interviews with 15 junior and/or senior American students in the business college (13 female and 2 male). Study participants were selected through purposeful sampling. The main questions led the study were: How do American students describe their social and cultural experiences with Arab students? And what factors influence their perceptions toward Arab international students? The results of the study indicated that most participants lacked accurate or in-depth knowledge about who Arabs are as an ethnic and cultural people. Participants held many misconceptions about Arabs and assumed they did not like to interact with Americans on campus due to some factors such as language barriers and cultural clustering. Because of these assumptions, Americans were hesitant to approach Arabs or build social relationships with them.

Keywords


University, diversity, social, interaction, international students

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