By Seungwon Kim
I have noticed a lot of international students at Iowa State find it difficult to get along with their American roommates when it comes to cleaning issues.
Asian students are not accustomed to cleaning their own apartment by themselves since their parents or even housekeeper used to take care of them and clean their bedroom before they came to America.
According to one of my American friends from my dorm, she had lots of conflicts with her Chinese roommate because the Chinese roommate didn’t
consider the roommate meeting important so she used to miss the meetings. In addition, she didn’t clean up the apartment even though she made it messy.
Eventually she had to move out after a few conflicts. Another one of my friend from Korea had similar issues. Since his mother always cleaned up his bedroom and bathroom back in Korea, he didn’t expect to clean his dormitory by himself. Hence, he found it very difficult to live with Americans at first because he had to learn how to clean his living room and toilet. I could understand his situation because my American roommates were also mad at me when I didn’t clean the shower. Because I was the only Asian with black hair, they knew the black hair in the shower was mine and I left without cleaning. Hence, I had to apologize for my mistake and clean it up.
I am not saying every international student from Asia is unfamiliar with cleaning but it seems most of them were not raised independently in general. In my opinion, since most Asian parents only focus on education, they usually think housework is just a waste of time for their children. That’s why they end up doing the housework instead of their kids.
It is such a great opportunity for international students to live with American roommates so that they are able to be more independent and learn how to clean their place by themselves. In order to avoid conflicts with Americans or other Westerners who were raised more independently, international students need to learn how to do their own housework without their parents’ help. It is essential for international students to be more independent when their parents are not around.
(About the author: Seungwon Kim is an international student from South Korea studying
journalism and is in his second year at the University of Iowa.)