August 11, 2016
International students ramping up to the school year have a lot to prepare for. Many students find the combination of moving to a foreign country to study combined with choosing academic courses and settling into a new culture to be a bit daunting. That’s why it’s crucial to get ahead on the basics of orientation ahead of time. With a little planning and some savvy foresight, you’ll arrive to orientation ready to tackle anything in your path.
Where you live will substantially shape your university experience. If you’re pursuing an undergraduate degree, you might want to live among your classmates in a university dorm in order to become part of your peers’ social community. Graduate students tend to live off-campus, although university housing may be available. Make sure to arrange your housing ahead of time, and make good use of online tools to search for and secure your new home.
If you’re studying in a big city, chances are you’ll be just fine without a car. Research the cost of your city’s transit pass and either order physical transit tickets or download an app that stores digital tickets. There are also plenty of ride-share and car-sharing programs that give you the convenience of a car without the cost of owning one.
Some in-demand courses will have a limit to the number of students they accept. Study your university’s course catalog as early as it’s published in order to arrive to orientation with your course plan in mind. You may even be able to register for your courses online before orientation begins.
As with courses, some campus jobs are more popular than others. Research campus job options for international students and think about the types of jobs that will suit you best. Do you need lots of quiet study time at work? A library or computer lab might fit the bill. Interested in growing your network through your campus job? Find one that lets you engage with the academic department that interests you most.
Every orientation experience is different. But the one thing they all have in common is giving new students — especially international students — a flood of exciting, perplexing, actionable information to manage. Plan your strategy for staying organized while you shake new hands and hear a wealth of presentations. You’ll thank yourself later for bringing a sturdy folder and keeping a notebook or mobile notes app close at hand.
Most universities have student groups and clubs that bring people together around common identities, hobbies, and professional pursuits. Your orientation might include a student group fair with booths where you can join whichever groups appeal to you. Don’t skip the opportunity to make new friends and diversity your campus experience in this way. Another useful way to connect with your community is by joining student groups on Facebook. Your university may have an informal international student group online that provides newcomers with valuable resources and chances to make new connections.
Amid finding new housing and transportation, sorting out your academic plan, and making new friends, it can be easy to forget your financial priorities as a new international student in the U.S. Many international students find they have extra hurdles maintaining their financial health upon arrival due to an absence of previous U.S. credit history and not having a social security number. Luckily, there are still many ways international students can build good credit and reap the benefits.
The ModernLend credit card was designed specifically for global citizens like you. With no SSN or previous credit history requirement, ModernLend helps you establish and build a strong credit score, earn cash back on qualified purchases, and start your new chapter as a student in the U.S. with an initial credit limit of up to $2,000.