What is considered an appropriate topic to talk about with friends or acquaintances can vary somewhat between countries. Many international students comment that they do not know how to start a conversation with Americans, because of a lack of shared background. When speaking to someone they do not know well, try to talk about fairly neutral topics and to look for similarities. Begin with "small talk": discuss the weather, or the immediate situation (the class, professor, party, host, decorations). It might continue with questions or comments about common acquaintances, sports, movies, work or school.
- Don't be afraid to take the initiative: Start a conversation, show interest in others by asking questions, invite someone to have coffee with you after class.
- Be positive: Don't assume someone doesn't like you if they don't respond in a way that you expect. Just as you are apprehensive starting a conversation with an American classmate, your classmates may also feel the same way about talking to you.