If you’re struggling with your classes as an international student in the US, you’re not alone.
In fact, most college students — whether international or lifelong US citizens — run into academic issues at some point.
Luckily, there are resources available to help, as well as steps you can take to make college a little easier.
1. Don’t Let Language Barriers Hold You Back from Success
If you are still new to the English language, don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re having trouble understanding professors. Immersing yourself in this language by going to class, watching TV shows in English, and living with an American roommate can help you become familiar with it. But even when you do all that, it will take some time to truly become fluent.
If you want to speed up your mastery of this language, you can sign up for classes at your school that focus on helping you improve your English. Taking this kind of course during your first year should allow you to gradually improve your language skills.
In the meantime, try to stick with classes that require minimal reading and writing, such as math, until you’re more confident in your English fluency.
2. Get Help from the Staff
If you’re struggling in a particular class, let your professor know. As long as you attend class regularly and appear to be trying your best, your professor is likely to take the time to further explain a concept until you get it. You can usually schedule a visit during your professor’s office hours if he or she is always busy right after class.
If you are having trouble with more than one class or feel overwhelmed with your current class schedule, you should let your college advisor know. He or she likely helped you set up your schedule and is aware of the classes you need to take for your major.
Therefore, your advisor can let you know if dropping a class or taking fewer courses next semester are options to consider. Don’t do anything rash without discussing it with your advisor — you need to know how your decisions will affect your ability to graduate on time.
3. Make the Most of Campus Resources
Virtually every college offers resources for students who are struggling academically, at no extra cost. In fact, you’ve probably already paid for them in your yearly tuition, so take advantage!
For example, your school probably has a tutoring center — ask around your student center if you’re not sure where it is. If you are having trouble with writing in particular, find out if there is a writing center at your college so you can get help with essays for class.
Another option is to connect with other international students to find out how they have been managing academics. They might have some tips and tricks for you based on their experience in college, so joining an international students club may be a good idea.
Of course, you can always head to the library or computer lab for additional resources. You may find books or websites that clearly explain the concepts you are struggling with. At the very least, you can work on your language skills by reading books in English!