Leaving the family and the familiar home-country environment and going abroad to study is a big transition for international students. When they step on foreign land their minds are filled with lots of questions and apprehensions. They have to adjust in the new society as well as the new education system.
I know this first hand as I am an international student who came to the U.S. in 2008. Here are some Dos and Don’ts for international students that may help them adjust in the new atmosphere:
Learn the Culture
Learn the basic aspects of social culture as soon as possible. For example, greeting others with a smile when you have an eye contact; maintaining personal distance while talking (In U.S. people prefer about 2- 3 feet of personal distance); holding or opening the door for others, do not slam it on their face. Do not call your professors as sir or madam; they are addressed as professor or doctor, depending upon their title.
Don’t be shy
Participate in classroom discussions. Do not hesitate to speak and ask questions. You cannot get a good grade without participating in classroom discussions. Talk to your professors; do not hesitate. They are there to help you.
Always submit your assignments on time. If you cannot submit them for some reason, tell your professor in advance, and you may get an extension for valid reasons. Also do not be late for your class.
While driving, if a police officer stops you, never leave the car to talk to him. Stay in your car and keep your hands on the steering wheel so that your hands are visible. If someone shouts at you, or some kind of misdemeanor happens on street with a stranger, approach the police and the law will protect you, don’t try to resolve it yourself.
Network and Seek Help
If you are having a problem with your course work, form study groups with native students. It really helps to learn the style of writing. Make use of services provided by the university like the Writing Commons and Career Services. Join student organizations and learn more about your profession.
Be well informed
Read the international student newsletter for updates on health insurance, immigration news and events for international students. For example, Kent State University has ISSS weekly newsletter informing students about news and events on campus.
Go to university events, meet people, and make friends.