Even if you have travelled abroad extensively, actually studying abroad in the US, UK or another country can feel quite intimidating. One of the most important factors, which will make your university experience abroad memorable, is your ability to build a network of friends and acquaintances in this new chapter of your life.
So as an international student, how can you make friends? Thankfully, the opportunity to make new friends on campus is promising.
Here are four tips to help international students socialise and make their university transition easier:
1) Explore your college campus:
Chances are, there are many international students on campus who are feeling just as overwhelmed as you. Connect with them through the International Students Office (ISO), which sponsors events and programmes to help students adjust to life on campus and the university’s various clubs. Immerse yourself in the activities offered through associations and groups on campus based on the interests, hobbies and causes close to you. There is a club or group for almost everything–sports, social service, mentoring, dance, music, film and so much more.
2) Explore your city:
Studying abroad is as much about new academic experiences as it is about broadening your perspective. Use this opportunity to explore your neighbourhood, city, and state. One great way to meet people outside of campus is by volunteering your time and skills on projects. Platforms such as Meetup.com help you connect with people who share common interests. You will also find suggested events in your area through your Facebook page. Join a book club or an adventure group. Go trekking. Enrol in yoga classes. Participate in guided heritage tours and walks. The possibilities are endless!
Another great way to connect with local people is through informal work, such as babysitting or tutoring. Local, Indian families might be keen to hire you to expose their children to Indian traditions and language or simply for some maths revision!
3) Keeping in touch
Once you make new connections, actually stay in touch with the people you meet. Whether it is through social media or in-person over coffee, be proactive (without being too pushy, that is). And, when someone reaches out to you with an invite, go for it (if it fits into your schedule)! Developing meaningful connections and friendships require ongoing effort.
4) Be well-informed
Read up on local news and stay on top of current events. Being conversant on different aspects–politics, sports, culture, economy–can be tremendously useful in understanding the culture and breaking the ice when you meet people for the first time. Being informed will also help you when you apply for internships and jobs.
Most importantly, maintain a positive attitude. People respond to those who are thoughtful and upbeat!
To know more, get in touch.