Tips on getting into the environment as an international student.

Getting into an international university for an exchange (or full time) program can be quite interesting but as the time to go comes closer there is always a nervousness of a new place and new culture altogether. Here are some tips on how to go about smoothly in a university where you are an exchange student.

 

  • Before you go, research about the country and culture you are going to be in because this can help tremendously and help in avoiding a “culture shock”. This shock can often lead to a homesickness and frustration. Also, many countries follow a set of rules and regulation that may seem normal in one’s own country therefore knowing a bit about such rules (if they exist) is important.
  • Attend all the orientation events and take a campus tour if the university offers one. Orientation events are great places to make friends and to get a feel of university’s academic and social environment. You might even get to meet other exchange students like you.
  • Along with the basic courtesy words also try learning the way people greet each other. Familiarizing with the social norms of a place and learning the local customs can help in the long run.
  • Familiarize yourself with the street signs and the street names. Learn how to use maps and become familiar of the major landmarks especially of the places you need to frequently visit. Try taking a guided tour of the city and different means of public transport in the first week you are there.
  • Food is the basic need for survival. Being away from home can get into your head especially when it comes to a longing for home cooked food. On the other hand you need to understand that you need to be economical when it comes to shopping for food. Ask the local students about the various super markets around you. These markets are not just economical for food but also the other basic necessities.
  • Finally, it is necessary to be prepared for a different academic environment from the one you’ve been used to. Here, a lists of books and articles will be given to read on your own which will later be discussed at seminars and tutorials. This requires good time management and organizational skills. Try and participate in class discussions — it’s one of the most effective ways of learning.

 

Being an international student – may it be an exchange or a full time course, this kind of opportunity gives way to confidence and a higher self esteem while at the same time teaches values that may not have been always possible back home.

 

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