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STUDY ABROAD : Student Life - Must read

Misconceptions about Sri Lankans That You’ll Hear When You Study Abroad

A break-down of the most common misconceptions about Sri Lankans that you might come across when studying abroad.

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Studying abroad can be a wonderful experience for any student who chooses to do so, but as you spend time in your country of choice, you may find that there are many annoying misconceptions about Sri Lankans. Every student who chooses to study abroad will face misconceptions about who they are as a person based on where they are from. It’s no different for students from Sri Lanka. Below are 5 misconceptions that you may hear about students from Sri Lanka.


1. Sri Lankan Students are from India

Sri Lankan students tend to be clumped into a stereotypical category with all of South Asia and for the most part, all South Asians will be referred to as being from India. Maybe your fellow students have never really got to know that part of the world. Now’s your chance to broaden their horizons!


2. People from Sri Lanka / India / South Asia are either very poor or very rich

South Asia is often depicted in the US and other English speaking territories as being a very poor area. The focus of study in geography classes tends to be on the poor and desolate areas of South Asia. It’s also depicted as being a very dirty area of the world. There isn’t much focus on the beauty of South Asia, or the very large middle class. This creates the misconception that Sri Lankans are poor and have probably lived a life of struggle and hardship or that they are super rich and live in palaces!


3. People from Sri Lanka / India / South Asia either become doctors, or convenience store owners.

One of the most common misconceptions about Sri Lankans and other South Asians in general is that they are either doctors or convenience store owners. You may find during your time studying abroad, that people will ask you if you plan to become a doctor or if your parents are doctors. It is typically assumed that if you are going to college, it’s to study medicine. This may be true for you, or it may not be. As an international student you’re going to have an advantage in any field you choose to specialise in.


4. Students from Sri Lanka are nerds


It is also understood that within South Asian cultures, people tend to have a very good work ethic, and therefore it is concluded that they tend to be nerds in school. You may be just as lazy as your fellow students, or maybe you are hard-working! Either way, you can enlighten your peers by letting them get to know you as an individual, and not a ‘Sri Lankan student’.


These are just a few of the misconceptions about Sri Lankans that exist. You may find that you come across others as you study abroad, or you may not come across any at all. If you do come across any misconceptions about who you are as a person during your time abroad, just remember that they are ill-advised stereotypes and nothing more. If anything, international students from all over the world are one of the biggest attractions to native students in higher education. They can learn from you and you may find a few friends wanting to visit you in your home country!