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4 Tips for International Students in the United States

Going to a university in the United States can be exciting as well as challenging. In addition to learning a new language or immersing yourself in English to a degree you never have before, you are also in an entirely new culture, which can make you feel both exhilarated and exhausted. Keep the tips below in mind to help make the most of this time.

Dealing with Stress
Even the best experiences will include some stressful times. The way to cope is not to avoid the stress altogether but to learn how to deal with anxiety. While living away from home can cause a lot of that stress, and you can look at a guide on how to deal with it. Your campus might also offer telehealth, which allows you to connect remotely with health services at your convenience. This can sometimes be a better option than visiting a medical professional or a counselor in person although your school probably offers this option as well. It can be helpful to know that it's normal to go through a period of homesickness and culture shock before settling into your new country.

Find Your Own Space
Dealing with a foreign culture and speaking a foreign language can be tiring, and it's okay to take some time to yourself if you need it. Sometimes, you might need to just spend some time alone or with others who speak your language and perhaps watch some movies or TV from home if you have access. Be sure to also make time to talk to your family and friends back home.

Reach Out
At the same time, it's important to find a balance and immerse yourself in new experiences. If there are a lot of people from your country attending the same school, it can be tempting to spend a lot of time with them. You can even find ways to justify it. After all, when you are learning English, even your social time can be exhausting. A good compromise can be spending time with other international students where you use English as a common language but it is a foreign language for everyone. This can help you better cope with some of the stress of speaking English with native speakers.

Make Yourself at Home
A good way to make a foreign country feel more like home is to make yourself a regular at a few places. For example, if you go to the same coffee shop most days, you will get to know the staff and feel like it is a place where you belong. You might want to make a routine connected to a hobby. If you love films, maybe you will visit the same cinema regularly, or if you enjoy running, you may be able to find a regular group to run with. The key is to make a place part of your regular pattern. It can also be tempting to think of where you live as just a temporary dwelling, but you should try to make it as homey and inviting as possible so that you feel like you always have a refuge.
Author: Torsten Daerr