Spending any amount of time in a foreign country can be difficult, as students will need to adjust to a different culture, new customs and in many cases, a new language. When studying abroad, the new country will become a home to international students, which can make these challenges even more difficult.
There is a lot that can be done to make international students’ transition to the United States simpler and stress-free. Studying abroad in the United States provides students great opportunities to broaden their cultural experiences and pursue degrees in fields that may not be available in their home country. However, being uncomfortable in a new environment can be enough to deter a student from finishing their degree program. This is why it’s important for international students to know the resources available and how to best adjust to their new environment. Here are a few tips worth sharing with these students as they make the transition to their new home.
Get involved in student organizations
Making friends who have mutual interests is one of the best ways for students to become comfortable in a new setting. Universities all across the country offer a variety of student-run organizations that provide opportunities to network with other students while also pursuing academic and social interests. Whether it’s an organization that focuses on specific degree studies, athletic club, heritage club or another subject, there are plenty of opportunities for students to get involved on campus and meet other students who share similar passions and interests.
Take advantage of campus resources
Most universities have a resource center for international students to ensure they have everything they need before arriving on campus and throughout their time studying at the university. Each school is different, but most services will include information on immigration regulations, university policies, employment opportunities, travel and more. Additionally, students will often have personal advisors on campus who are available for any questions or concerns with their experience abroad.
Locate a food source
Depending on the university, students may have the option to live on or off campus. If a student is living off campus, they will likely be sourcing food from local grocery stores or markets.
Students with dietary restrictions may initially have trouble finding a food market that sells what they need. If this is the case, searching online for stores in the area that sell international foods will often solve the problem. If not, students can ask their university advisor for recommendations. Most cities have entire markets devoted to international foods, students will just need to know where to find them.
Find affordable furniture and more
If a student is living in an off-campus apartment, they may need to provide their own furnishings and other household items. This can be challenging, as they will need to find the most affordable options while also sourcing high-quality products.
If the apartment is unfurnished, students should consider furniture rental for an affordable and simple solution. Over the past three years, more than 15,000 students across the country have relied on CORT, the leading provider of furniture rental in the U.S., for their furniture needs. CORT can even arrange for the furniture package to be delivered and installed before the student arrives at school, and picked up when it’s time to move out.
Other everyday items – such as kitchen utensils or toiletries – can be bought as a package set in most supercenters. Buying these items as a set will often save the student time and money.
Make the transition
Adjusting to a new country and culture can be extremely difficult, especially with the demands of being a full-time student. This is why it’s important for international students to know the resources available to them and how to best navigate tasks like finding food and everyday items.
Making the transition will take time, but these tips are a great starting point for students as they begin their studies and new lives in the United States.