Here are eight places just about every university has that can help you during your time studying in the US.
1. The International Student Office
The International Student Office is like a Swiss Army Knife that can help you with just about everything, from resolving school-related issues to helping answer any cultural questions you might have. This is the best place to ask just about anything and be pointed in the right direction. You’ll also meet fellow international students in and around this office, these students can also be helpful with any questions you may have.
2. The Writing Center
Regardless of how strong your language skills are conversationally, you’ll want to ensure your writing skills are excellent for all the essays you’ll be working on. Your university writing center will provide one-on-one tutoring not just to foreign students but to anyone who needs the extra help. This is an invaluable resource that’s worth taking advantage of. Even experienced writers might learn a thing or two.
Your professors will likely understand that international students will have additional challenges to face, whether they’re language-related or cultural. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and seek additional clarification about assignments if needed. Also, if you hear something referenced in class that you’ve never heard of before, just ask about it. Asking questions is a totally normal thing to do at U.S. universities.
4. The Student Union
The best thing about studying in another country is the friends you’ll make. It’s tempting to surround yourself with other international students, but making local friends is what studying internationally is all about. A good place to start meeting people is the student union, which is the social hub for most campuses. Also look into clubs pertaining to your interests to meet some like-minded people.
5. Career Services
If you’re planning on working during your time in the US check in with career services. They’re there to help you with your resume, job interview skills and to even assist you in the search to find jobs during OPT and CPT. They can spruce up your resume, help you find jobs worth applying to, and provide excellent advice as you begin your career.
6. Your Academic Adviser
The academic adviser assigned to you will be a big help. They’ll fill you in on the courses you need to take and how close you are to fulfilling all requirements for your education, but they’re also so much more than that. They help you come up with a plan for your education and help you out as you transition to a career. You’ll likely have a meeting or two scheduled each semester, but set up additional appointments if you feel you need it. Helping out is exactly what your academic adviser is there for.
7. Counseling Center
It’s completely normal to experience some culture shock when moving to another country. The experience can also feel a little isolating or overwhelming at times. University counselors are there to help you talk through your problems. They work around your schedule and can make a big difference in how you’re feeling. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment if you feel like it could help.
8. Legal Services
The legal services department is one of those places you’ll hopefully never have to visit during your studies. However, if you encounter any visa or immigration problems, you’ll want to seek the help of your school’s legal services department. They’ll guide you through the confusing legal process and will have your side as they work to solve your problem. If you don’t have a legal services office then your international student advising office is a good place to start.
If you seek out these resources, you’ll feel prepared for a successful cultural transition and college experience.