As I embarked on the journey to the United States for my Master’s Degree which promises to be a truly life changing experience, I was excited but a little scared at the same time. Culturally, America differs vastly from India and experiencing a new environment and culture seemed a little intimidating at first. I was worried about making new friends and butchering the language. But in reality, it turned out to be really easy as people are very nice, sociable and kind and they appreciate you for your efforts in accepting their culture.
Even learning the American culture wasn’t that hard as I always used to watch Hollywood movies, TV shows and listen to Rock music and this helped ease my assimilation into American culture. The movies I saw gave me some early insight into this new culture that I was going to explore, learn about, and live in. Binge watching sitcoms like Friends, Seinfeld, Married with Children helped me learn a lot about the American traditions, festivals and their day to day life. When it came to socializing with people, movies were the best common experience to talk about while connecting with people.
Since their inception, movies have been the basis for a shared social experience. There is something about experiencing movies that fosters a desire to talk about what you’ve experienced. Whether it’s a hilarious comedy, an emotional drama, or a thrilling action movie, you’ve had the experience. Maybe it elicited the same response from all of you, maybe you hated it and your friends loved it. No matter what the outcome, the experience of seeing the movie gave me something in common that I could discuss, debate, marvel about, and bond over. Seeing a movie or even discussing the favorite movies was one way to connect with the new people I met at college.
Connection, in a word is what movies are all about. You connect with the story, the characters, and the themes. A difference of opinion when discussing movies isn’t necessarily a negative thing. Debating these points can help you understand the movie from a different perspective, giving you insight into another’s interpretation, or allowing you to understand something that you may have missed during the first viewing.
Connection is also what college is all about, especially at the beginning. Over the next few years, you will be developing lifelong friends, meeting new colleagues, and forming future professional contacts. They will help you to learn more about American culture and, in turn, maybe you’ll get a chance to familiarize them about your culture (and perhaps introduce them to some films from your country). We welcome you all to come into Media Services to explore American and foreign language films and share your experiences with your friends.
Movies are keys that can be used to open new doors by starting conversations and discovering common interests. Just remember, when the lights dim, the screen flickers on, and the show starts, we’re all one and the same. We’re all part of the same cultural audience of awe and wonder, experiencing the story together.