Social Labels Emily Camire

I explored the label of international students

An international student at Thornton Academy is a student who has traveled from any country to the United States to attend school. Some examples are students from China, Europe, Vietnam, etc.

Here's what people said:

“They act different from Americans, they have different customs and different ways they experience things.”
“They keep to themselves and stick with their own friend group.”
“They are quiet and cliquey.”
“There are some dorm students that don’t care about school and others that really care and put a lot of effort into school. It all depends on the person. They are also expected to have a lot of money because it is expensive to attend TA.”
“They are thought of to be really smart and they usually stay in their own social group”

What are the expectations of this social group?

  • An expectation of the international students is that they are extremely intelligent. They are expected to take challenging classes and excel in them.
  • People at Thornton expect them to look Asian or European.
  • They have a different sense of style than the American students, and sometimes wear clothing brands that are unfamiliar to American students.
  • We expect them to speak their own language when with each other, but they are also expected to speak and write well in English.
  • A stereotype attached to this group is that they are smart. It is a positive thing to be considered smart, but the negative aspect is that there is a lot of pressure from teachers, parents, or themselves, to always perform well in school.
  • Another stereotype is that they are wealthy and come from extremely wealthy families. While it is definitely expensive to attend TA as a boarding student, many people do not take the time to learn about the sacrifices their families may have had to make to send them here or other reasons why they are able to afford to come here.
Stereotypes of International students

Advantages of this social group:

  • There are many international students at TA from about 20 different countries around the world and they are all integrated within the dorm and the program. Within the dorm, they can meet students who are from their home country that they didn’t know before or meet students from other international countries.
  • Being a dorm student does have a positive effect on a person’s life because while they may not always become very involved with the American students, they still have the opportunity to interact with them and learn about American culture.
  • Being social with other international students within their group is not a negative thing, but it would be a better experience for everyone at TA if there was more communication and interaction between American and international students.
  • This group is desirable because you can meet different people who have had different experiences than you and come from around the world.
  • This group has its own social ladder because they still mostly stay separate socially from the American students and establish their own social ladder within themselves as international students. There are some exceptions though, such as the international students who are involved in athletics or theater, which allows them to interact with American students outside of the classroom and be higher on the social ladder.

Disadvantages of this social group:

  • Although the international boarding program has existed at TA for some time, there still seems to be a divide between the international students and the day students who are from the Saco/Dayton/Arundel area. Although there are definitely some exceptions, it still seems to be two separate experiences, even though the international students and the day students see each other throughout the day in classes, the cafeteria or hallways. Most of the local students just don’t take the time to introduce themselves to the international students or try to learn about their cultures. While there are things in place to try to integrate these students, there is still some divide.
This survey, conducted on students from various American colleges and universities, investigated the divide between American and International students. More on this study can be found below:

Labeling myself

I think I would be categorized as an AP/Honors student, which also could go along with being considered an overachiever.

The expectations of this group is that they are above average students who only care about getting good grades. I feel pressure to do well in school, but I don’t think it is completely influenced by others but more by myself because I consider myself to be an ambitious person by nature. With this label comes with the expectation that you are a person that only cares about school and getting good grades. While that is a part of who I am, it does not define me.

Besides being an "honors student," I am a friend, a daughter, a sister, a coach, a coworker, a former athlete, a sports spectator, a dog lover, and more.

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