Conquering Freshman Year!!!!

You have received an acceptance letter to join the university of your choice abroad? Are you feeling scared or overwhelmed? Do not be, we have you covered. Starting university is an exciting and transformative journey in your life and is filled with opportunities for growth and self-discovery. 

However, it can be a daunting experience for freshmen, especially international students. Do not be scared; you are not alone; according to Security‚Äôs Students and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) report, there are 1.08 million international students with active study visas in the US. 

To help you navigate the crucial year successfully, we have compiled a list of tips to help you figure it out, for instance, Dealing with culture shock, bringing the right documents, learning the language, orientation course registration, accommodation, and making new friends.

Navigating Freshman Year as an International Student

Conquering Freshman Year: Attending orientation

 If you ask yourself if you need to go on another campus tour, then the answer is yes. Some colleges offer early  Orientation, either a few earlier just for the international students to get settled in and connect with the international student office. 

It may include tours around the campus to help you familiarize yourself with the new environment. It is important to attend each orientation as it will provide a guide to choosing your class schedules, meeting people and making new friends, checking dorms and your roommates, and important information such as security and academic support.

Conquering Freshman Year: Bringing the right documents 

To be on the safe side, ensure you have all the necessary documents required during your university stay. In case of losses or damages, it is wise to have backup copies of all your documents that are easily accessible, especially if requested by the school or immigration officials. 

You must make several copies and back up the following documents: passport, flight documents, student visa, admission letter, health insurance, medical records, prescriptions, list of emergency contacts, and specified documents required by the country you are traveling to.

Conquering Freshman Year: Develop your language skills

 As an international student, the language barrier does not need to be an obstacle when you move overseas. For instance, if you are moving to the US, an English-speaking country, many Shore Light programs have English-language programs to improve both your academic and speaking skills. Here are a few tips for international students who want to learn English:

  • Download a language app: Use an English-language app like Duolingo that allows you to read and learn
  • Watch Television programs: several TV sitcoms have more realistic usage of the English language and can in turn help you improve your conversational skills, cultural references, and understanding of different forms of humor.
  • Seek tutoring help from various platforms such as SonicPapers who are experts in helping students.
  • Vary your friend group:  making friends with the locals is also another way to hone your language fluency, as you can improve through having regular conversations, learning how they speak, and asking questions.

Conquering Freshman Year: Immerse yourself in the culture

Learning and adjusting to a foreign culture can be a challenging experience for most freshman international students. Dealing with culture shock is one of the most common challenges, and it is completely normal since many international students experience it. 

You can improve on this by researching the social norms, having an open mindset to embrace diversity, and visiting around.

Conquering Freshman Year: Building a strong network of support

As an international freshman student, during the transition from your home country to your university the admission office of international students will be a great source of help. 

Other forms of support will come from making new friends, academic advisors, and counselors who are willing to help you adjust and reduce the stress of moving into a new country.

With these tips as an international freshman student in mind, you can get a head start on how to navigate studying abroad and thrive at your new university.