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Surviving the First Month

Published on Thursday, August 13, 2015

Surviving the First Month

Tips for international Students planning to study abroad

By Dayanes Rodríguez

Recruitment Officer – Miami Campus

During the last five years, Albizu University´s ESOL program (English for Speakers of Other Languages) has increased its enrollment tremendously from 6 students in the Fall of 2010 to 44 students in the Fall of 2014 and it keeps growing for Fall 2015 with around 100 new students.

The 2014 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, recently released, finds the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by eight percent to a record high of 886,052 students in the 2013/14 academic year, confirming once again that the United States remains the destination of choice for higher education.

Well, this is a big step that will bring a lot of enrichment to your life, but there are several tips that I want to share to help you out in your adaptation process. Besides taking care of your student’s visa, admissions requirements at our Recruitment and Admissions Office, and any other legal paperwork, you also need to be mentally prepared for a change in atmosphere and culture.

Most international students agree that surviving the first month is very hard and that there is a lot of confusion and psychological pressure involved.  I would like to add that these external factors are somehow normal; they shape up the adaptation process. The key is how you as an international student handle the situation and approach this new phase in your life with: courage and enthusiasm. Without any doubt, study aboard is an amazing experience full of excitement. 

The exposure to new concepts will give you a unique advantage that will enrich your personal and your professional path. Studies have shown that employers have preference for candidates that have been internationally exposed. The reason why is because an individual get to developed a lot of skills through the process and also this action demonstrate that the person is capable to adapt and to be in charge of new and different situations in life. Believe me! The experience is worth it.

Still thinking about it?  

Here are some tips for you to follow and grab the first month’s challenge:

·       Familiarize yourself with the culture: Before your trip, read articles about current events that are happening in the area. Study the region’s history and learn about the culture in general

·       Network: Use the internet as a source for networking with people in the area. Just be cautious about where and with whom are you networking with.

·       Get a sense of location:  Make sure you are familiar with the geographical location of the city, the climate etc. Also, before your arrival it would be a good idea for you to study the area’s major roads and forms for transportation.

·       Choose your place:  Where are you going to live and what do you want out of this place? Ask yourself several question such as location, cost, safety, internet access, transportation accessibility, nearby hospitals, stores, etc..  Leaving in the right environment is vital for your adaptation.

·       Attend to the University’s activities: Go to the student service department and ask about different activities such as: Open House, Student’s Orientation, and Special Events, among other. Make sure you get involved and participate on these different activities. They are excellent tools for networking and to familiarize yourself with the system.

·       Be part of a group:  There are always clubs and organization that you can join. Explore your areas of interests and see if there is a match for it.

·       Be productive: Are you good with numbers, science or language art?  See if you can get a part-time position as a tutor at the campus. This will allow you to develop camaraderie among the university’s faculty, staff and student and of course money is always welcome.

·       Don’t be afraid to explore: Go and sightseeing the city main monuments, museum, parks, and attractions. Don’t go alone get together with other international students and make trips to different places. Ask the university, sometime they provide transportation or packages for this type of activities.

·       Be flexible with your surrounding: In other words, be open to new texture, colors, flavors and way of thinking. Be open to try different things. This is part of the experience.

·       Don’t judge and don’t stereotype:  Be away from all the feelings that will prevent you from growing as an individual experiencing a new way of life.

·       Search for your customs: The world is getting smaller and smaller. I am sure that you will find people from your country that can give essential tips and help you through the process. What about finding a restaurant in where you can enjoy a traditional dish just like back in home?

·       Understand that it is fine to feel alone sometime: Do something about it; don’t take it personal remember that is part of the process.

·       Have a clear goal:  Go for it.

·       Last but not least, HAVE FUN AND LEARN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!

Are you ready? Pack your bags and start the journey.

A Recruitment Officer will be available to help you with Application Form submission as well as with any question.

2173 NW 99th Avenue Miami, Florida 33172
(305) 593-1223, exts. 3137, 3188, 3160

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San Juan location
151 Calle Tanca San Juan, PR 00901
Phone: (787) 725-6500 Fax: (787) 721-7187
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2173 NW 99th Avenue Miami, Florida 33172 Phone: (305) 593-1223 Fax: (305) 592-7930
Centro Mayaguez
56 Calle José De Diego, Mayagüez, P.R. 00680 Phone: (787) 838-7272 Fax: (787) 721-7187
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