Advice for International Students

Advice for International Students

August 31, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


Advice for International Students [music throughout] “Adjusting to a New Culture” YI: In terms of personal life, as an international
student, the most difficult thing for me is to make the move from whatever country you’re
from to the U.S. because everything is new. DASHINI: An additional challenge being an
international student and having to navigate not just the new experience of being in graduate
school but the new experience of being in a completely different country with different
cultural rules, different practices. And so I think that is an additional challenge. YUAN: U of M has a very international atmosphere.
You may meet different people from the world and they have a different cultural background.
You have to understand, to get to know their culture, but understand their different habits. “Expanding Your Network of Friends” DASHINI: I think something really important
to do is to not fall into the very comfortable trap of just hanging out with friends from
home. YUAN: If you wanted to feel connected to the
community, you have to be active, to be brave, to talk to people, to make friends with local
people. SARANG: I would definitely recommend making
as many American friends as you can in your classes, people that you just run into in
the hallways in your department and trying to get know about the American culture through
them. Because the fact is that what you see about the American culture in sitcoms and
in movies is not entirely true and the real American culture and the real American life
is fairly different from that. “What Are Some Ways to Meet New People?” YU-HAN: To make the international student
transitions easier is to get involved and be open-minded. For me coming here, I understand
that the culture can be a shock and you probably don’t know anyone here but my advice is to
stay positive, open-minded, get involved with any student organizations that you might be
interested in. Pick one of the physical activities, sports, or something that you’re interested
in. DASHINI: Take advantage of activities organized
by your department. Departments will tend to organize talks, lectures, sometimes social
mixers. I think that’s important to take advantage of. YU-HAN: The first year when I entered the
University of Michigan, I stayed in a house with 5 other roommates, none of them speak
the same language as I do. Because of this, I get to know the culture in terms of Americans.
One person is from New York and one is from Portland and there’s another roommate who
can speak Spanish. Because of these experiences, it makes me not only hang out with friends
that speak the same language and with the same culture. Of course, I would really love
them to, but it’s really important to see the world outside of your own culture, because
you are in America, in the U.S., then why don’t you take this advantage to know a different
culture? “Connecting to the International Community” DASHINI: Participate in the international
student orientation that the I Center organizes. I think it’s a great way to meet other international
students. After participating in the orientation my first year, I decided I wanted to be a
peer-advisor at the summer orientation the following year and that was a great way for
me as a second-year student to meet tons of new international students who were coming
in. PHILIP: As an international student, one of
the easiest things to do to get connected is to meet up with people who share your background.
There are several student organizations that are culturally central. RAHUL: I come from India and there are many
Indian students studying here at Michigan, but most of them are in the Engineering departments,
whereas I study in the Physics department. In my department, I don’t find many Indian
students and sometimes I feel like I miss people from my country and when I got in touch
with this Indian Students Association, I thought that they had a very good platform that all
the Indian students here come together, share their thoughts, what they’re doing and it
was a very good experience. “Resources at the International Center” DASHINI: Make use of the resources at the
International Center here at the University of Michigan. I think we’re really fortunate
because it’s an international center that doesn’t just care about your immigration or
issues like that. It’s really interested in easing your transition into the University
of Michigan. They also have important workshops such as adapting to U.S. cultural values and
I think those are activities and workshops that are really helpful in facilitating that
transition. “Good to Know” PHILIP: As an international student, it’s
important for me to be able to have access to ethnic foods and Ann Arbor has actually
been pleasantly surprising in that there’s quite a few different types of markets out
there, Vietnamese, Thai, Asian in general, Middle Eastern, Indian. Definitely lots of
choices that are all within bus ranges as well as driving. RAHUL: One thing that I would like to point
out about international students coming to Michigan is the weather. The winters can become
really, really cold, so you should come prepared for that, bring enough warm clothes, have
the right type of shoes. YUAN: After I got here, I felt it was difficult
to communicate with Americans because you cannot speak sentences like in a textbook.
If you prepare well in your English speaking, especially if your mother language is not
English, if you can speak well in English, you can make a lot of friends, especially
American students. That will help you to be connected to the big community and your professors
will understand you more and help you more while you study. PHILIP: Continue to take the risks that you’ve
already taken coming to a new place. A lot of times, coming to a new institution can
be very anxiety-provoking, when you actually get here, you may find that the language barrier
may be even more intimidating than you thought. I think what’s important is to continue to
take those risks, to get to know people and to push yourself to really make sure that
you enjoy your time here and you get what you want out of this place.