Apologies for the provocative title. I grew up in a number of different locations (Singapore, HK) and am the classic "international" kid. My parents grew up in South America. I've also lived in South America, Asia and went to school / work in the US today. I had always heard the stereotype that America is welcoming and extremely open.
This is based entirely on my anecdotal observations across the three places I've lived, but it fundamentally seems like Americans in college and at work are much more closed off in terms of peer groups, topics of conversation, and seem somewhat judgmental if you're not from here after some initial curiosity. I'm sure all of you noticed that the foreign students hung out separately in school, be they europeans, south americans or whoever, although these two groups tended to mix quite a bit. I notice the same thing at work, where the Italians, Colombians and everyone hangs out together.
A number of my close friends worked in NY but didn't enjoy this cultural aspect of the US, and I can't imagine how much more closed off it is in smaller cities like Boston, and moved to London. They all say that London is much more welcoming and open to people both in and out of work, despite NY having on paper the more diverse city, and Europe being supposedly more classist. This isn't a race thing as most of these people I'm referencing are European or white south american. Like it doesn't make any sense to me that my Colombian friends who went to Penn undergrad like London more than NY socially or that the random Swiss guy at work is friendlier than the midwestern guy? By the way, I think there should be a distinction between American policy being welcoming of low-wage immigrants at least historically vs. American culture at elite institutions being somewhat closed off to the "international class."
What are your thoughts? I imagine my perspective is a bit colored by the fact that I am a foreigner here and so is most of my social circle, so we're not a random sample. But still, the fact that people of many walks have felt more at home in London says something about my point.
Any Europeans and south americans working in the US care to opine as well?