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Change, while exciting, is often difficult. These difficulties are aggravated when you’re far from home with no friends or family nearby to offer comfort or help. This is often the situation for international students who attend American colleges.
International students confront challenges that are unique to students arriving with a different native language and background. This is especially true when it comes to the college classroom. Luckily, international students have access to a wide range of resources to help them become a successful student.
Students whose native language is something other than English may find it difficult to keep up in an American classroom filled with fast speakers or technical terms. Universities may offer several options to help international students who wish to improve their language skills, such as English classes or pairing students with a volunteer conversation partner.
Students can also record a professor’s lecture or join a study group to make sure no information is lost in translation. In fact, University Language Services has helped students by transcribing and translating records. We urge you to get permission from your professor if you are interested in this service.
Professors expect students in their classrooms to participate and share their opinions and ideas. Don’t be afraid to do this.
Most of your professors and fellow students will be happy to provide help for international students regarding college classes and culture. If you have trouble understanding a professor during a lecture, ask classmates if you can copy their notes. Make friends in your classes, at your college dorm or at the cafeteria, and they will be even more likely to fully answer your questions.
Professors often have office hours, when you can visit them at certain times each week if you have questions about their class. You can also check if your university provides tutoring in specific subjects.
Being an international student can be exciting but also very nerve-wracking. It will be challenging to navigate a new country (and maybe even a new language), but hopefully it will be rewarding in the end.
Above all, international students must not be afraid to ask for help. Your classmates will be glad to point you in the right direction, and many universities have options already set up for international students who are having difficulties.