Unfortunately this kind of behavior is more common than we think, particularly in academia. Maybe they see you as a threat to their position, or maybe they are just insecure or jealous, who knows. Perhaps they come from a common social and cultural background and they are not prepared to let anyone else in their group.
On the one hand you must grow a thick skin, because you find people like that in every area of society. On the other you need to think very carefully what you are doing there and what you want to take away from this experience. You are there to learn and give your contribution to that research group. Hopefully you will build a network that might be useful for your future research. If you manage to build up a friendship, it would be wonderful, but this is not a given and definitely not the point of the exercise.
I came across people like that many times and in different environments. So, my advice is: do not try hard to fit in. Keep it simple and professional. Usually people with that attitude auto-eliminate themselves from the scene pretty quickly.
When you have a meeting prepare yourself as well as you can. When you have something to say, do so, gently, but firmly. Often it is just enough to say: I would like to add....if you don't mind. You don't need to sound sarcastic, or to shout, but you need to be assertive.
It might be hard the first few times, but then with time you will earn their respect if you bring something useful to the group, and the rest will follow.
with regards to building friendships: I would suggest that you look at your mates very carefully - what ideas/ values/ behaviors do they share (other than ignoring you)? Are you prepared to conform to or give in to some of them? If they behave as you said, maybe it is better to look somewhere else!
Thank you so much DrCorinne for your wise advice. You exactly got my situation right and I feel your recommendation will be really helpful. I have recently started to act that way and I feel it's working! In response to pm133 and Tudor_Queen, I will give you some examples when this semester finishes. Since I don't know real identities here, I have some concerns about this semester. I will soon provide some more information. Thank you so much for caring!
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