Starting college is a big change for all freshmen, and even more so for freshmen who also are international students.
That’s why US colleges and universities offer a variety of support services for international students who have crossed oceans — or at least a border — to be there. International students will find the support they need for everything from academic to mental to cultural issues.
After learning what you can from international student orientation, here are 5 good places to turn:
1. International Student Services Office
If you already have been accepted to a US college, you probably have emailed or spoken to someone in the international student services office. Be sure to stay in touch after you start college.
The staff and advisers in the office can tell you what types of services and support are available at your school and may even inform you of special activities specifically for international students. At the very least, they will be able to tell you where to get the information you are looking for.
2. International Student Clubs
Many colleges and universities have organizations created by and for international students. In fact, there may be several for you to choose from … or you can join them all!
International student clubs are a great way for new students to meet others who are in your situation and know exactly what you are experiencing. You not only can get advice and support from other club members, but also ease any homesickness you may feel after moving to a new country.
3. Your American Roommates and Friends
If you have questions about American culture, then your best support may come from your American roommates and your new American friends, who might teach you how to correctly use some college terms and phrases.
4. Your Professors’ Office Hours
If you have questions about a class you are in, visit your professor’s office hours.
Each of your professors will tell the class the specific hours they will be available each week and the location of their office. During these office hours, professors invite — and encourage — students to visit with questions and concerns.
5. Counseling Center
Some issues are too important to rely only upon new friends, professors or even student advisers.
If you are an international student (or really, any student) experiencing depression, severe homesickness or another major issue, seek the support of the student health center or a local counseling center.