International student orientation is an exciting experience that will not only let you meet fellow international students, but also provide you with all of the info you need to survive your first year at school in a foreign country.
As an American, when I went to McGill University in Canada for my undergraduate degree, I didn’t think I needed to attend international student orientation. They speak English in Canada, I had visited the country before, and it’s right next door to the US – how different could it be?
I thought freshman orientation would be all I needed to survive my first year at school, and skipped the international student orientation. Bad idea!
I found out the hard way that if you’re going to school in another country (whether that’s Canada, the US or elsewhere), international student orientation is definitely a must, no matter how familiar you think you are with the country where you will be studying.
Topics Covered During Orientation
Most schools offer an international student orientation that covers all of the little administrative details that international students need to keep track of. Many of these are incredibly important:
- college health insurance for international students,
- tips on choosing international student bank accounts, and
- details about maintaining the status of your student visa are just a few of the topics that are likely to be covered.
These are things you will want to know about in advance. You don’t want to suddenly discover that your international student visa is about to expire and have no idea how to renew it– which is exactly what happened to me!
What You Do at Orientation
Maybe it sounds like international student orientation will be a drag. Who wants to spend their first days at college learning about boring things like health insurance and banking, right? Not to worry — most schools make international student orientation a lot of fun.
Activities might include:
- Informational sessions and Q&A’s with school staff and older international students.
- Fun social and cultural events for international students to participate in during orientation.
- Day trips and activities like white water rafting, bowling, and museum visits might be among the activities offered by your school.
The Extra Perks
International student orientation offers students loads of useful info and serves as a great way to introduce foreign students not only to the university, but also to the new country where they will be living while studying abroad.
What’s more, with plenty of social activities included, most international student orientations are a great way to meet a diverse group of people and make new friends, all a new college student needs to thrive in a new social environment. After foolishly skipping international student orientation, I was smart enough to join some international student clubs, which allowed me to meet fellow students from all over the world.
How Do I Sign Up?
If you are an international student, your school will most likely send you an invitation and information packet for international student orientation before you arrive. Double-check to see if you need to RSVP, or if you need to pay for any optional special events, like cultural excursions.
Too excited to wait for the itinerary? You also can check your school’s website to see what services and special events it offers during international student orientation.
How ULS Can Help
If you’re applying to programs and colleges overseas, ULS can help with all your translation needs. From diplomas and transcripts to recommendation letters and student resumes to medical records and birth certificates, we provide professional, certified translation services in more than 200 languages.