Adjusting to a new setting as an international student is a combination of stepping outside of one’s comfort zone and becoming familiar with new cultural norms and customs. Although these adjustments can be frustrating, they are necessary to getting the most out of your time studying abroad. To help you adjust as an international student, here are four tips to keep in mind.
1. Advocate For Yourself
The professors and faculty at your school are there to help you learn, not to do the learning for you. Remember that it was up to you to get into college, and you impressed admissions all on your own. Suppose you find that you have difficulty keeping up with the course load. It is your job to communicate your needs and concerns to your teachers.
At the college level, students are expected to advocate for themselves. Schedule regular meetings with your international student support team to optimize your learning experience. Do not be afraid to ask for help when needed.
2. Use Your Resources
In addition to communicating your needs to counselors and faculty, utilize all of your other resources to get the most out of your time abroad. Make friends and ask them for advice, research study habits, and study tools that may assist your learning and connect with other international students to create a support network. If you have access to a highly-regarded library, go there and read up on everything and anything that will make your transition smoother.
Try to make connections outside of school as well, whether through a day job or meetups you find online. Get to know positive people who will lift you up and motivate you to do your best while studying abroad. Given that college costs have risen, be sure to utilize your financial resources to stay financially secure while studying abroad.
3. Record Your Lectures
With a handheld digital recorder or your phone, record your lectures while you are in class so that you can refer to them later. Especially if you struggle with knowing the language, referring to what was said in class will give you more time to review the information you might have missed the first time.
Recording lectures is a smart study habit for many students who want to check their lessons after the fact and avoid college burnout. Given that this practice is so commonplace, you do not need to worry about looking peculiar or out of place. Make sure that out of respect for your teacher, you do make an effort to get their permission before recording, but know that it usually is not a problem.
4. Prepare In Advance
Before you head out to study abroad, read up on the social expectations and norms that take place within the dominant cultures of your new setting. The more familiar you are with these aspects of college life, the more comfortable you will feel immersed in that unique environment.
There may be tutorials online that can explain common phrases and mannerisms to know in your new setting. Take some time learning these essentials so that you feel more adjusted to your new environment from the start.
The Bottom Line
Adjusting as an international student is about taking steps to advocate for yourself, making the most of your resources, and connecting with as many people as possible. It is up to you to ensure that your experience abroad is as enriching and memorable as you wish it to be. Make the best use of your accommodations and work hard to learn in a challenging new environment.