At the beginning of each semester, students attend what can seem like a completely different college; with new classes, new professors, and new activities shaking up what a student may be used to. Whether it’s the student’s freshman year or final semester, whether they are a transfer student, or an international student, this ever-changing landscape can be challenging. These challenges can be especially trying for international students, who are leaping into this new environment far away from home into a new and different culture. No matter where you are coming from, fitting in at any college and forming friendships can be tough! But don’t worry. Although it may seem difficult at first, college can provide some of the best and most rewarding years of a student’s life.
Here are some strategies to help you along:
It may sound obvious, but the first and easiest thing to do is to get involved in an activity that you enjoy. This could be anything at all. College is a great place to meet others with interests similar to yours, and to learn new things. For example, group activities, such as playing a sport at the college gym is a perfect setting to make new friends. A simple game of basketball, frisbee or soccer could form a friendship. If you make a connection with another student it would be a great idea to exchange contact information. You can then ask them to include you the next time the group is doing the activity. Don’t worry – most other students are excited to make new friends, too!
Join a Club
Not all activities revolve around sports. Usually at the start of the school year or each semester the various clubs and organizations on campus hold a fair to share information about their group. From community service organization, to academic clubs, to groups dedicated to certain cultures or languages, there is so much opportunity to both learn something new and meet other students.
Form a Study Group
Introduce yourself to students in your classes and offer to create a study group to study and work on projects together. This is a great way to get to know your classmates while getting their perspective on the subject you are studying.
Attend an Event
Attending a campus event is another great way to meet new friends and get to know your new college environment better. Check with the student activities center or student union for information on any upcoming events and activities. Especially at the beginning of the semester, there should be plenty of activities for you to participate in. Some events may include game nights, movie nights, music performances, cultural activities and more.
Get to Know your Fellow International Students
Many Universities have an international student services or multicultural center that provides resources and assistance to international students. You can often find things to do and events here that will offer great opportunities to get to know other international students and to share your common experiences.
Starting life in a new place can be difficult, but if you’ve come to the US to study, then you are already off to a good start! Don’t be afraid to take advantage of the resources your university has to offer. The most important thing is to be yourself and take advantage of both the academic and social opportunities at your school this semester!