Adjust to U.S. life as an international student
August 20, 2019
As a former international student, I understand the myriad of obstacles one may face on their way to making a smooth transition into a foreign country. Adjusting to a new way of life requires equal parts self-motivation and teamwork.
When it comes to what you can do yourself, there are only a few crucial tips you should keep in mind.
For starters, don’t be afraid to talk to anyone. Be the one to start the conversation because getting to know the people around you has several benefits. You can find out about things going on around campus, who to avoid talking to and, most importantly, you can form friendships.
This goes without saying, but building solid friendships exponentially decreases the stresses of being an international student. Having someone to talk to in person is a great way to relieve tension after a tough day.
It’s intimidating to initiate anything in life, especially in a brand new environment and it might take a little longer for others, but doing this is an investment in your future that will in turn also make you more approachable to others.
If language is an issue, it’s a good idea to reverse the frequency of the languages you use. For instance, if your mother tongue is Korean and you need to learn English, it helps to force yourself to speak only English because, according to Newsweek, it is nearly impossible to learn a new language and speak it as fluently as their mother tongue.
Lastly, try to avoid staying in too often when coming on campus. It’s easy to form your own bubble by staying in all the time, and while trying to fit into a new culture, not going out may prove detrimental. While I’m sure introverts disagree with this, by going out I don’t mean going to bars or partying all the time. It also means finding your favorite restaurant, a place to meditate or your go-to midnight snack joint. The feeling of isolation and uneasiness begins to relieve itself the more you get to know the surrounding area.
It definitely won’t be a simple move, and there will be numerous challenges to overcome, but by following these tips, hopefully you can take advantage of the wonderful opportunity at hand.