10 Ways Universities in the US Help Support International Students

Getting accepted to a university in the US is a fantastic feeling but it’s understandably a little nerve-wracking. Every year, thousands of international students travel to the US to study. Here, we look at the ways that universities help to support those international students studying miles away from home.
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Freshman Orientation

In the US, new students attending university for the first time are called “freshman.” When new students start, there is something called Freshman Orientation which is a chance for all students, local and international alike, to get prepared for the start of classes. There’s tours of the campus to be had, registration takes place and timetables to pick up. Doing all of this before classes officially start is a great way to make yourself at home before the rigors of the term begin.

International Student Advisors

Once you get to university in the US you might find it helpful to go to the international student service office. Here you will have an international student advisor assigned to you to help you settle in the country. They will advise you on everything from finances and visa-related concerns, to help with courses and part-time jobs. Basically, they just make your time as an international student in the US as easy as possible.

International Student Clubs

The thing to remember about going to university in the US is that you will not be the only student coming from overseas. Thousands of international students travel to the US to study and there’s always international student clubs to join on campus. Spending time with other students who have a similar background can help you feel more at home, at least for the first few months.

Student Mentors

New students in the US (freshman) are often assigned mentors from the years above. International students are commonly paired up with other international students to help them settle in. They have been in your place before so can offer very useful advice based on their own experiences. You can feel more comfortable getting help from another student rather than from faculty too.

On-Campus Employment

Many international students wish to earn extra money whilst they’re studying but they have certain visa restrictions. However, most visas permit international students to work on campus and often, universities have career centres where they help students find on-campus employment.

Meal Plans

It’s very common for US universities to have meal plans that students can opt into – paying per term for the privilege. Often this can work out cheaper than buying food from supermarkets and cooking yourself. At least for the first few terms whilst you get to grips with American supermarkets and plan a proper budget. Meal plans are great for helping international students settle in initially and it’s one less thing to worry about.

International Student Classes

Adapting to college life in the US can be a bit of a struggle for some international students which is why some universities have dedicated international student classes. These classes teach things like American culture, writing style and usually have professors who are from overseas. These classes are in addition to your regular course and usually only last one term or so.

Academic Support

A lot of students need help with their studies, not just international students. Most universities provide support for their students when it comes to their courses. You can get tips on the best way to manage your time, helpful study techniques and advice if you want to change your major.

Financial Aid

Going to university can be very expensive, especially if you’re an international student. That’s why a lot of US universities offer financial aid to help international students pay for their tuition. This can be in the form of bursaries, scholarships or extra loan amounts to help international students pay for their education abroad.

Extracurricular Activities

There is more to attending university than just classes and homework (although that is very important). Every US university has a whole range of social clubs, groups and societies for students to join and international students may find these helpful when trying to settle into their new life. It gives you the opportunity to meet new people, socialise and learn a new skill.
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