The first semester of college in the United States is an exciting time for international students, but there are some obstacles that naturally arise in a new country and academic environment.
Here are challenges international students may face, and tips to deal with each:
1. New assignments: In your college courses, you'll likely be graded in many ways: on tests, papers, and class participation. For students like Vuk Bojovic, who's studying at Augustana College in Illinois, doing research and citing sources in written assignments can be an especially tough challenge.
"When I first came here, I had a problem with research papers, as I have never wrote them in high school in ...view middle of the document...
This can come as a surprise for international students who expect only to take, for example, business or engineering courses in college.
"When I saw my schedule, I was like, 'Wait, why do I have to do history? Why do I have to do religion? I [had] question marks all over the place—I was just so shocked," says Ashima Laad, a student at Iowa's Drake University who's originally from India.
Though she initially struggled with electives, Laad says she came to realize that her extra classes, like meteorology, were exposing her to topics she wouldn't have otherwise pursued. Keep an open mind when it comes to courses—you may even discover academic passions you didn't know you had.
[Find out how to pick the right college major for you.]
4. New friends: College life is not restricted to the classroom. A huge part of the college experience happens after class—and for international students, integrating socially can be a hurdle.
"A lot of [international students] say, 'Man, I want to integrate and connect and just experience more of the culture firsthand and have more American friends,' but they are still ... waiting...