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By on May 12th, 2017

What International Students Should Expect from College in America

Although international students coming to America have a lot to look forward to, it’s understandable that they might be a bit nervous, as well. They’re going be in a completely new place with all kinds of different customs and traditions. While there’s no substitution for the experience itself, the following should help you better understand what to expect.

You’ll Have Plenty of Help, but You Still Need to Be Proactive

Although you may feel like a bit of an outsider when you arrive on campus in America, know that the staff at these schools is dedicated to inclusiveness and making you feel at home. You’ll even be assigned an advisor who specializes in helping international students get settled in and figure things out.

At the same time, they can’t follow you around 24/7. You’ll still need to be proactive about making friends, joining groups, attending social functions, and much more.

There Is Plenty to Do

Even if you attend a smaller school, American college kids are good about occupying their free time, so you shouldn’t have to worry about getting bored. In fact, if you constantly feel as though there’s nothing to do, you should probably go back to the last section for a reminder about being proactive.

Just make sure you stay focused on your academics. While a lot of what you see in the movies about college life isn’t true, there definitely is plenty of partying on and around campus.

Most Students Have Taken Out Loans to Attend School

Although most countries treat college with a little more importance than what you’ll experience in America, that doesn’t mean that students completely take their education for granted. The vast majority of them have taken out loans to attend and will need to work for a good 10 years to pay it off.

Many international students think that everyone in America is rich, so college is just a trivial matter they can afford to ignore. This is not the case.

Your Campus Will Be Safe

While you always need to exercise common sense and know about your surroundings, another big stereotype about America that you can ignore is that the entire country is extremely dangerous, especially in urban areas where a lot of schools exist.

You may have also heard that the country is especially scary for ethnic and religious minorities.

America is far from perfect, but again, if you practice common sense, you’ll be fine. College campuses are extremely safe places, too, even if you are in the middle of a city.

Getting Around Can Take a Long Time

Depending on where you’re from, vehicles may not be as prevalent as they are in America. Even in most major cities that have public transportation, the vast majority of people own their own cars (New York City is one noticeable example).

That being said, most students don’t own vehicles. Even with services like Uber, then, it can take a while to get around. If you plan on going to school in Southern California or any other densely populated places, you’ll quickly find that traversing even a few miles of highway could cost you an hour or more of your day.

This is important to remember when you’re looking for a place to live. You’ll want to do some research beforehand so you don’t end up picking somewhere that will make it impossible to arrive to class on time.

As we mentioned at the beginning, even the above advice can’t make up for the lessons you’ll learn by actually spending time living in America. That being said, hopefully, this guide has helped you feel a bit more comfortable about your upcoming adventure.