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International Student College Mistakes

Culture shock and missing home easily cause international students to make avoidable mistakes when studying at U.S. colleges and universities.

Avoid these common international student college mistakes when studying in the U.S. for the first time.

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international student college mistakes

Avoiding New Relationships And Friendships

Don’t be afraid to branch out and meet new people.

It’s natural to stick with people from your own country and culture when studying overseas. It’s a brand new environment and there’s a lot to get used to immediately.

Many new international students end up bonding with people from home alone. There’s honestly nothing wrong with that.

However, college is the time to meet new people from every walk of life. It’s the best time to be exposed to new perspectives.

On-campus clubs are a great way to meet different people who share common interests with you.

Being Afraid To Find Help

Many international students feel scared to ask for help.

Not understanding something in class or particular campus rules is perfectly normal. However, many students often feel intimidated to ask for help.

Sometimes it’s based on feelings of shame or embarrassment. Other times it’s based on fear of being judged.

The truth is it’s always better to ask a professor, campus official, or fellow student for help than stay quiet. No one is out to get you.

People on campus are more than happy to answer your questions when you ask.

Not Communicating With Professors

You need to build relationships with your instructors.

College is different than secondary school because it’s your responsibility to get help. College professors aren’t there to make sure you’re ok.

It is your job to email them or attend office hours for aid. Some students worry about their English not being good enough.

If you’re not 100% confident with your English, feel free to have a friend proofread your emails before sending. During office hours, write down your questions to ask too.

If you put in this effort, professors will notice and help out accordingly.

Always Staying On Campus

Take advantage of the new world around you.

Every campus environment is different. Many of them are in urban environments.

Others may be located outside of larger towns. Just like meeting new people, college is the perfect time to explore new places too.

If you don’t have your own car, there are plenty of available ride-sharing and public transportation options. Do your research before arriving to see what local attractions, restaurants, and other places of interest are there.

Step out of your comfort zone by not always staying on campus.

No Work-Life Balance

Don’t let anything dominate all of your time.

Remember that college is about learning and growing. All that learning doesn’t just happen inside a classroom.

It happens out in the real world meeting people and experiencing things. Very academic-minded students sometimes focus too hard on getting good grades alone.

The flipside is others abuse their new freedom and party too much. Either path ruins the entire experience.

You should work hard to schedule your time around classes but also work in time to enjoy yourself. Time management is huge in college. It helps you get things done better without burning out.

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Dr. Shaan Patel MD MBA

Written by Dr. Shaan Patel MD MBA

Prep Expert Founder & CEO

Shark Tank Winner, Perfect SAT Scorer, Dermatologist, & #1 Bestselling Author
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