Dear Harlan: I’m a Muslim student who is going to attend college in the U.S. this fall. I’m worried that I’m going to end up with a racist roommate. What can I do to help with this transition? I will be very far from home.
— International Student
Dear International Student: The overwhelming majority of teenagers in the U.S. are welcoming, accepting and inviting when it comes to meeting people of different faiths, religions and ethnicities. Please don’t let a few headlines paint the picture of an entire nation.
But I understand your concerns. Find the Muslim student association on campus or the center for international students. Connect with these communities first.
Trust that your roommate will be welcoming. Make it safe for your roommate to ask you questions about you and your culture by telling him or her you’re open to answering questions. If you ever feel uncomfortable, having a strong community on campus will help you address these issues.