By: Allison Clymer
OSU is home to a thriving international student population with many people calling the university home who are from thousands of miles away. To gather a sense of how American fashion is perceived abroad and what is different on campus, I talked two master's students on what styles have surprised them.
First, I interviewed Shahed Uddin who is working on his second master's in industrial engineering and was drawn to Oklahoma State for its academics and welcoming environment. Coming from Bangladesh, the difference in fashion from the Eastern hemisphere to the Western hemisphere was major due to the more conservative ways of Bangladesh. Uddin states that back home students would wear much more formal attire to the classroom, including long pants and long sleeve shirts, compared to OSU students' more casual looks. He also mentioned the constant flexibility of American students attire and how fashion does not matter in the classroom as much as comfort. When asked whether Western fashions have influenced his home country, Uddin explained that corporate attire of workers has changed and that women of Bangladesh are converting to more American-inspired styles. He said being in the United States has changed his personal style slightly due to wearing shorts more often, along with t-shirts, which allow him to be more flexible and comfortable. Interestingly, when asked what America styles he doesn't like he stated that it's all different in its own way and requires adjustment.
Next, I interviewed a first year master's student in the business analytics program, Varun Bhatia. What drew him to OSU from his home country of India was the faculty within the business school and the opportunities the school would provide him. When asked what American fashion means to him, he said it's that comfort and fashion must be complementary and that one should feel comfortable while wearing clothing. This is in contrast with India, where tradition, culture and religion often dictate what one wears. Bhatia found the promotion of Oklahoma State and other universities through t-shirts and other attire fascinating and that it differed greatly from his home country. Yet, he does find the attire for specific events similar to India, such as how individuals in Greek life dress up for Bid Day. He expressed that at times he feels overdressed and the change in wearing jeans in the summer to wearing shorts has influenced his style. Though some students' attire, such as hoodies worn with shorts during colder weather, does make him wonder whether at times students can be too casually dressed.
I cannot thank these two students enough for speaking to me and for teaching me what style looks like through an international student's eyes.