Regardless of where in the US you decide to live and study, you will have the best time of your life. Student life in the US may be different than you expected and I bet you want to enjoy every opportunity that you have available at your university.
When you are in international student in the US, it’s important to make the most of your social life because you may never have those opportunities again, so check out our tips for optimizing your time.
1. Get to know the US before you arrive
The US is one of the most interesting places in the world and almost any young person has dreamed at least once of living in The Big Apple or another amazing American city. People from other cultures take all their information about the US almost entirely from movies, but sometimes things are not exactly like the Hollywood industry portrays them.
Most Americans are open and very friendly, but probably not everyone loves to party every Friday night. Don’t assume you already know everything about them and take some time to read and discover their culture before arriving there. Also, you could read a few facts about the history of the city you are going to live in. This will help you adapt faster and deal with culture shock.
2. Enjoy the diversity of American culture
The United States is a large and diverse country with people from across the world living in every imaginable geographic location and climate. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by all the new things you do and learn every day, you should try to enjoy that feeling. After all, America is the land of freedom!
International students usually meet each other first through international student orientation events at the school. They often stick together and form a strong bond based on being new to the US. Talking to other young people who are experiencing the same feelings as you is amazing, but you should also try to make friends with American students.
You can meet so many different people in just one day of living in the US. You don’t get this kind of chance anywhere else. Interact with as many people as you can, be friendly and stay open to knowing more about them. You will definitely collect some cool stories to share with your friends at home.
3. Make the most out of your student accommodation
Most colleges and universities in the US offer on-campus housing usually known as “dorms”. These dormitories often become small communities, where you can meet other people who attend the university and enjoy particular activities with the people in your residence hall. This will be your home for the next year or more, so it’s important to really make the most of it.
Maybe it will feel weird to share a room or apartment with people you don’t know, but you will regret it later if you spend your first days in the US ignoring your flatmates. So, make sure you introduce yourself and get to know them as soon as possible. Once you will have adapted to student life in the US, you will be very happy that you and your roomies have a great relationship.
Make a quick search on Facebook to discover if there are any Facebook groups for students living on the campus of your university, and join them. Most of your classmates will be living on campus, so getting involved and interacting with many of them is a great chance to meet new friends from other flats in your halls.
4. Travel and explore
The US has so many cultural landmarks many people only dream of visiting, but you are going to live there, so make the best of this opportunity. Go have an adventure at the Grand Canyon, take some cool selfies near the Golden Gate Bridge, climb to the crown of the Statue of Liberty and have a walk on Broadway. Of course, the US is too big to be able to visit every single attraction, but try to get out of the city you are living in and explore further.
Also, if you want to get familiarized with the city you live in, try giving up public transportation for a few days and just go for a walk. It will not only save you money, but it’s also the best way to explore a new place. You will notice more about the city’s life, customs and find interesting spots that probably aren’t listed on TripAdvisor.
5. Join a student club or sports team
If you study in the US, you will soon discover that after classes, students are still very active on campus. Many universities offer many types of activities and clubs for students to participate in. Sports and athletics are also a huge part of student life in the US. Joining college sports teams is a favorite pastime of students, whether they are international students or from the US.
You also have the chance to join a sorority or fraternity, which are organizations with a social mission or focused on doing service projects and activities. By joining a sports team, sorority or club you will have more chances to get closer to American students, who will teach you a lot about the culture and introduce you to their other friends.
6. Keep an open mind
Maybe the most important advice that any international student in the US can receive is to keep an open mind and enjoy every new thing that appears. You will encounter lots of new people, ideas and ways of life and in order to enjoy this period of your life, you will need to abandon any stereotypes you might have formed. Try to see university as the exciting time that it is and set a goal out of learning as much as you can about your host country and its people.