Adapting to university as a foreign student | Best colleges

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Samantha Shay, 21, grew up in a rural town of Jonestown, Pa., About a 3.5-hour drive from Adelphi University. Joining school clubs helped her adjust to the rhythm of city life in Long Island, New York, and find her place on campus, but she had to get used to living without her mother’s help. when she fell ill or needed help with household chores.

“The hardest part besides fitting in and making friends is adjusting to truly living on your own,” Shay says.

Over 20 percent of full-time students attend college more than 500 miles from your home, according to the annual report of the Higher Education Research Institute first-year student investigation. But whether you’re driving across the country or just hours away from home like Shay, moving to a new city can be shocking.

Learning basic skills like how to wash clothes and balance a budget can help ease the transition, but there are a few things families can do during the application process to help students feel right at home in a new city. College admissions experts encourage international students to include the following search factors on their list when searching for the right school.

1. Look for the weather: Moving to an area with a very different climate than what a teenager is used to can affect more than what they prepare for school.

“If you are from Arizona and the weather is nice 300 days a year, you have to think about what it means to not have the sun every day or most of it,” says LeAnne Wiles, director of the first year. programs at the Washington University in Seattle.

She talks to the students about seasonal affective disorder, depression that occurs around the same time each year, and how to fight it, especially during the winter months.

2. Check out local thoughts on hot issues: Opinions on politics and human rights vary enormously across the country. Over the past year, for example, college students across the country have protested against concerns about racism and sexual assault on the campus.

Students can check the local chamber of commerce’s calendar and read local newspapers to get a feel for the political views of the city or state and what it might be like to live there, Wiles explains.

Experts recommend To ask questions during the university tour on politics, race, sexuality and social climate.

“It’s always good to ask what the environment looks like as long as it’s something you discuss openly? Is this something that students are actively involved in? Says Katie Foshee, assistant director of admissions for new student programs at Southeastern Missouri State University.

Students can also ask about freshman programs that help freshmen connect to their new cities and ask how the university is connecting with the community.

3. Find out what residents do for food and fun: If you have the time, catch a show or try an activity that you think will interest you as you visit schools and stroll around the surrounding neighborhood.

“Ask your admissions counselors or the faculty member you meet where their favorite place to eat is and get a touch of that local flavor or what the environment is like,” says Foshee.

Students should also take a look at local annual events taking place in the city and see if they match their interests, experts say.

4. Think about accommodation: Some universities do not allow students to live on campus for four years.

Students should Google neighborhoods before committing to attending a school to make sure they are comfortable with the housing options available and that they live in the surrounding community, according to the University of Washington’s Wiles.

5. Create a plan to deal with homesickness: “Expect to feel some homesickness whether you’re out of state or just a few hours away – it’s a big, big life change,” says Rebecca Whitmer, admissions consultant at college and internship director at The Enrichery, an admissions consulting firm in Texas.

Families can create a schedule for their arrival. Parents should talk to their teens about the people they meet and the activities they pursue in school, experts suggest.

Parents can send care packages to help students feel connected when they are away and tickets or gift cards for activities like concerts or a spa trip – during times of high stress to help fight homesickness.

“I’m the biggest advocate for sending mail,” said Foshee, of the southeastern state of Missouri. “It can help the student know that the family at home is supporting and supporting them.”

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