Heading to college is an exciting but sad time, packing the stuff in your room at home to take to your new home, college. But before you get your Bachelor’s degree, you have to get packed! As college-bound high school seniors anxiously wait for their admission decision, the thought of actually preparing for life on campus tends to take a backseat until they learn of their acceptance. The years spent at university are some of the most stressful yet exhilarating and awakening of many young adults lives. It’s a time to meet new people and figure out who you are and what you want to stand for, as cliché as it sounds, it’s pretty true!
Before heading off to school, it’s great to do a little research on the hierarchy and structure of the university. This can help you feel part of the community, and also helps you to know where to turn for assistance when you need it.
The international office at any university is more than just a place for mixers and potlucks, though these are fun. The international office is an international student’s first point of contact at school and quickly becomes a home away from home. When you’re not sure where to go or who to ask, start at the international office, and they can give you advice on the best next steps.
Planning ahead was important in preparing for admission to your top-choice colleges, and it’ll be even more important once you’re in college. Students are expected to be independent. There won’t be anyone to make sure you attend class, do your homework, or study for tests. It’s important to stay organized and make a plan for projects, studying, and even extracurricular activities. It’s also important to plan ahead for things like applying for research opportunities, finding internships and other milestones that are important to your college experience. Stay on top of your work, go to class, and stay motivated.
Studying overseas is a unique opportunity to learn about a culture other than your own. However, don’t forget that it allows you to educate your new community about your own life and culture back home as well! Say yes to everything and ask questions when you need to, don’t be shy! This is one of the best ways to learn new things and meet new people. While it may be easy to stick with other international students when you first get to campus, try to branch out and attend events with American students as well. There should be a full list of student organizations on your university website or through your university’s student center.
Don’t be nervous about meeting US students. Being an international student means you have a unique perspective that others may not have. If you are worried about interacting with strangers, think about how to summarise yourself in a few sentences. If you practice how to introduce yourself and what you want to say, it will make talking to people a little easier.
You may have honed in on a particular skill in school, or have a few areas of interest you’d like to learn more about, so it’s time to really gain experience now that you’re in college. Be it clubs, groups, organizations, or other activities that align with your major, get involved! Explore a new activity that you’ve never had the chance to experience before, take advantage of extracurricular opportunities on campus and make an impact. Not only will this help guide you to better understand your current interests and explore new ones, but it will also give you experience that can be highlighted in internship, job, and graduate admission applications.
Studying for a college degree, surrounded by classmates who will soon become great friends and a support system, is an amazing opportunity that you will remember for the rest of your life, so make the most of it! One of the best ways to take that experience, amplify and accelerate it is through a college degree in the US. Not only do you get to go to another country but you also get to experience what it is truly like to live and embrace a foreign culture and its people.
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