While TV shows can help students unwind and procrastinate, they also form part of the culture that is known and accessible around the world. Many international students, before even coming to Troy, were familiar with American TV shows.
Farwa Ranjha, a senior economics major from Lahore, Pakistan, said she has been watching American television shows for the last five years.
“People back home—especially the college students—watch shows like ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘One Tree Hill,’ ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and ‘Suits,’” Ranjha said.
Ranjha said her favorite show is “Game of Thrones,” the multiple Emmy Award-winning television series.
According to Sungeun Shin, a senior economics major from Busan, South Korea, many Koreans also share the craze for “Game of Thrones.” She said that people in Korea watch TV series not only for entertainment, but also to learn English.
“It’s like comics; easy to access and understand,” Shin said. She also explained how American shows differ from Korean ones in that not all American shows are focused on love stories.
In Nigeria, according to Joan Owei, a freshman nursing major from Lagos, Nigeria, American comedy shows are very popular.
“People at home mostly love watching comedies like ‘Big Bang Theory,’ ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and ‘South Park,’” she said, and recommended a popular comedy from Nigeria, “Jennifer’s Diary.”
“‘Jennifer’s Diary’ shows this girl who left her village and tries fit into the city,” Owei said. “It’s hilarious.”
Owei also said that she likes “Supernatural” and “Switched at Birth,” and prefers fantasy and horror shows.
Julian Achemdey, a sophomore biomedical sciences major from Hohoe, Ghana, said that he watches science fiction series, including “The Flash” and “Breaking Bad,” but in Ghana, romance and action drama are the favorites.
“People back in Ghana not only like to watch American shows but also are interested in predicting the plots,” he said.
According to Achemdey, the success of American TV shows lies in advertisement and resources.
“The media and popularity—the platform here is wide ranged and they have a lot of resources to show it to the audience,” he said. “Back home, we have limited resources. That’s why they (local shows) are not that popular.”
“The American shows make the story look real,” Owei said on the topic.
Other students attribute the success of American TV shows to other factors.
“They (American TV shows) have pretty good acting,” said Xochi Celis, a sophomore political science major from Apure, Venezuela. “They really make you laugh, and if it’s romance shows, they really get the emotions going.”
Celis, who’s a fan of “Pretty Little Liars” and “Friends,” said she started watching American TV series when she was 15.
According to Eun, the slow plot advancement in American TV shows strikes a chord with busy students.
“TV shows back at home are too sequential, so I can’t understand things if I miss an episode,” she said. “It’s not like that here.”
Achemdey said that along with the American series, people in Ghana follow many anime series, telenovelas and Bollywood movies.
Foreign productions are also popular in Saudi Arabia, according to Layali Bakri, a junior nursing major from Asir, Saudi Arabia, and a fan of reality shows since 2013.
“We also watch other foreign television shows like Mexican and Spanish ones more compared to the American shows,” she said.