For the tens of students’ thousands that will begin the university in the fall, the summer is a time of great agitation for international students — and probably more than a little anxiety on transitioning to your new school from your country and your new academic list.
As much as this period can be stressful for American students, it is even more for international students who will travel to different environments. Leaving their parents to search for a better life in another country.
Your transition in the American university system typically begins with an orientation that is meant to help all the students to adapt to their new university environment.
This orientation can vary from a day to one week, and can include sessions that are only meant for international students. There will be formal and informal presentations held by students and staff, and also an opportunity for the newcomers get to know each other.
It can be discouraging when you think about the time spent in orientation, but if you know what to expect from the experience, you can feel a little more to individual comfort until it is over.
Keep in mind that all the universities and the other institutes are different, and run their orientations in different manners, these are still some aspects common in American university’s orientation:
1. A wealth of the information
One of the central reasons of an orientation is to supply new information to new students, such as the information about the university or the top associations on the campus — the college/university academic programs, students’ life, and so on.
This can become easily very overwhelming, especially for international students whose primary language is not English.
Rather than trying to take detailed notes in orientation or trying to listen attentively to each word that is spoken, try to collect the material printed like handouts and maps. This does not mean that you should ignore the presentations — it’s easy to say that some part of the information that will be given to you can be found elsewhere, like on the university website.
2. Unknown faces
As well as the learning of new information, you will also meet many new people. For some students, this can be even more difficult under a stress situation. If you’re apprehensive about social interactions, keep in mind that other students are in the same situation like you, and they can also be disturbed or stressed out.
If you can get started, you can get a head start with some of your classmates during a break time, find out if the school has a library, or a group of social network websites (like Facebook or twitter) that you can join before the beginning of the semester.
This will give you the opportunity to form several relationships before orientation starts. You don’t need to be in a hurry to make friends. They’ll come slowly once school starts.
3. Rules and Regulations
During orientation, probably there will be several meetings or presentations related to the rules of the university and the regulations.
The topics to be discussed can consist of responses to school policies, how to change your program or how to avoid plagiarism in the school works, also issues related to drug abuse, the prohibitions of alcohol use on campus and resources on mental health.
These are aspects of campus life, so if you’re troubled that you could miss some important information, do a little search before orientation or be prepared to ask questions.
4. Ice breaker activity
If you have ever been in a formal group with strangers, you should be familiar with an ice breaker. These are group activities that are meant to help people to come to know and to trust one another in a short period of time.
For students with limited language capabilities, these types of activity can be difficult or intimidating, but remember that you’re not the only student in this position.
A simple research on Google, on what is an ice breaker is about can help to be prepared also in advance and partially thaw your fears.
The entering into an unfamiliar culture that is quite different from yours can be anxiety provoking, but again, it is worth to remember that you are not alone.
Many students travel to universities in the United States from around the world. Just like you, they are many new students with diverse backgrounds, cultural traditions and beliefs. However, this offers a great opportunity to bond with other students and learn different cultures and the societies.
Do you have anything else to add to this article? You can leave your comment below.