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3 Tips For International Students Who Want To Make The Most Of College

I’ve spent two years at Ohio University and I’m close to the end of my Master’s program. When I started in Fall 2017 I didn’t know what to expect. Now, after a short stint as an international student at an American University — I have some experience in the bag. So here is some advice I have for fellow international students like myself.

Make friends outside your community

While I was a student at OU I noticed one thing, many international students only had a friend circle full of people from their own country. While it’s totally understandable that you might get homesick and you might need these friends to stay in touch with your culture and people — it’s also important to get to know American students and other international students. You’ll learn so much about other cultures and get a chance to expose yourself to things you haven’t experienced before.

Don’t feel like you have to give up your culture to fit in

If assimilation is what you wish to do, then go ahead. But don’t feel like that’s the only option you have. It’s possible to experience American culture while also exposing your American friends to your own culture. Don’t feel like you only have to eat American food, only wear Western clothes and only do Western things. In most cases, your American friends will appreciate it if you bring something different or unique to the table.

Don’t let the language barrier stop you

If you are an international student you might not be very fluent in English; or if you are, you might have an accent that might be difficult to understand for Americans. Some students in your class might make fun of that and avoid you (if you are an instructor with an accent you have all my sympathy). This might cause you extreme anxiety especially in social settings or while giving class presentations. But eventually, you will find friends who don’t care that you sound a little different, or that they have to pay a little bit more attention to understand you. Keep talking to people, keep making the first move.

Purva was born and brought up in Mumbai, India and is now a graduate journalism student at Ohio University. She is interested in women's magazines and issues of diversity in the media.
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