The challenges an international student will face when making the decision to attend an American college can be overwhelming for many reasons. Simply choosing the right college can, in itself, be difficult, not to mention, the grueling application process. However, once all of those things are in place and the student’s bags are packed with ticket in hand, there are still many potential obstacles down the road for them.
Not only are they leaving their family and friends thousands of miles away with very limited opportunity to be able to visit, but they are leaving their culture, their language, their comforts. Although, this can sound exciting, the reality of the transition is elephantine to these students.
Language and Cultural Immersion
The differences in language and culture may pose to be the most trying for the student. He or she must be privy to the methods of becoming more acclimated with their new environment. It is crucial for them NOT to wane or hide in their dorm or only talk to other students of their native tongue. Experts have said that the most effective way for language and cultural immersion is to actually “immerse.”
It is recommended that the foreign student spend as much time with speaking students as possible, to join organizations, and be social. Additionally, it is recommended that the student read to broaden their English vocabulary skills.
Schools also offer ESL programs, which can assist the student in ways, not only to become more versed in English, but to help the student adapt to American culture and provide additional resources.
Monthly Meetings With an International Supervisor
Some schools may require the student to meet with an international supervisor on a monthly basis to assess the student’s progress. This person will act as an advisor or guidance counselor and can be an excellent resource for the student.
Without any kind of work visa, international students can only work and are limited to approximately 20 hours per week. (Finding a job on-campus is an excellent way to become more accustomed new surroundings.)
Holidays and Summer Home Traveling
In order to leave the United States to return home for holidays or summer vacation, the international supervisor must be notified. As a representative of the school, the international supervisor will complete a letter and sign the I-20 document for passage back to the student’s home. These must be completed to avoid any complications at customs.
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