“… ENGLISH NEEDS TO BE PRESENT IN THINKING, WORK, VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES, YOUR ROOMATE CHOICE, READING, WRITING AND ENTERTAINMENT. IF YOU DON’T LIVE IN ENGLISH, AT LEAST HALF YOUR TIME, YOUR ENGLISH NOT IMPROVE … ”
According to the most recent statistics, there are about 600,000 international students studying in the US. Mostly, students study very well and are a great source of benefit for colleges and universities where they attend. At the same time, most international students in the US study in an educational system with a language than their mothertongue. They need to be aware of these challenges in order to overcome them well and become excellent students in the United States. Here are the solutions:
Pursuing your passion is not just to get “A good job”, focus on your specialty and life
Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard at his first year to study some very simple computer in the garage with some friends. Harvard absolutely does not support that, but Bill continues to explore and found Microsoft, worth about $ 30 billion according to the most recent statistics. I think he became very successful without attending Harvard. Many students spend many years pursuing a major that they think will help them get good jobs later, but they don’t really love that discipline. Why use money and time to prepare for a job that you will dislike in the future? Confucius was right when he said, “Do what you love, and you will not have to work one day throughout your life.” Let passion guide the field and in your life, good things will come.
If you like Harvard, become a Harvard student
Many international students look for a “formula” a system of methods to be admitted to a prestigious university like Harvard, Yale or Stanford. There are absolutely no such things. Admission to elite universities requires English proficiency, maximum overall GPA, excellent grades for all tests, an outstanding resume and even good luck. . If there is a formula for these things, it is: students who identify passion and pursue passion will have more opportunities to be admitted to elite universities rather than students staring at the numbers (GPA and scores on tests). Top universities are always looking for potential students. What do you really care about? In addition to studying, did you ever do something that really makes sense to your own life? If the answer is no, you are not a Harvard student.
Live in an English environment
If English is not your first language, it is clear that you are experiencing a disadvantage compared to American native students at school. The better your English is, the higher your academic performance and the greater your job opportunities after graduation. You will never learn English well if you only study in class. You need to live in English, learn English through friends, work, read, write and even have fun. If you are not exposed to English at least half the time when you are awake, your English will never get better.
Learn to study
Many international students come to the classroom mainly to get good grades. Scores are very important, but learning doesn’t just need to be about scores. Some students go to their teachers just to get a high score because they “need grades”. It is really a wrong learning method. Ask for help to learn better subjects. A good learning method will give you the knowledge that will be useful for your work later and for good grades too.
Do your own work
In today’s internet age, plagiarism is on the rise in both American and international students. This is not true for 3 reasons. Firstly, this is fraud that teachers never liked. You can (and will) lose points for that. Second, it makes it difficult for you to develop the skills you need to do your job well. Third, it will become a habit and your job will become more and more difficult at a greater level because you have not developed lowerlevel solving skills by yourself. Doing your own work means “having difficult first but gaining longterm benefits.” Cheating makes the opposite.
Participate in class
Most American instructors expect their students to participate in class. That means they want students to ask questions, contribute ideas, and definitely not sit at the end of the class and say nothing. This is a big challenge in the foreign language environment, and especially for students who often keep quiet in class. “When in Rome”. At first, it may be difficult. However, it will gradually become easier, and it is really necessary to become a successful student in the United States.
Develop other interests
A Harvard study found that students who work or volunteer for up to 20 hours a week have more valuable experience at university than others, and their average scores are rarely reduced. The message is clear develop interests in outside activities and do it regularly. American colleges and universities offer countless opportunities to learn new skills, pursue new interests, and participate. Learn karate or boxing, join a club or student association. You need to find such activities for yourself, however they will not automatically come to you. Be active!
Connect with the local community
Many international students live and socialize only with people from their own country or the same language group with them. Many American students do the same when they are abroad. This is a huge mistake! Occasionally spend time with friends of the same language, but you should also interact with Americans and people from other countries. To truly have an authentic experience in a country, you need to understand the people of that country by establishing a personal relationship with them. So you will not only learn, but also feel at home in your new country.
Never be complacent
Most international students reach the point where they can be recognized, academically and socially and then stop learning. They cannot do better a comfortable place and do not feel the need to achieve better. Don’t let that happen to you. Always motivate yourself to improve your English while speaking, writing and reading. If you don’t move forward, you will be left behind.
Grow your network
In many countries, students study in the same class with the same classmates for 4 years. These classmates become a mutual support group in life and become their own community. In the United States, every student participates in a different class with different classmates, so there is no classmate group. Make friends with students from all countries, faculty, advisors, employers, and anyone you closely associate with. Please acquaint yourself with with at least one lecturer each year. Stay in touch with these friends and get involved they will be the support group for you in the future (and you’ll be the same for them one day).
Ross Jennings is the Vice President of International Programs at Green River Community College in Auburn, Washington, USA. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of California Santa Barbara, earning a Master’s degree from University of Washington, Oklahoma and Stanford. He followed these advice as an international student in Beirut, Lebanon, and had great experiences that inspired him to live in the Middle East for another 12 years. You can contact Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“… MANY INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS LIVE AND SOCIALIZE ONLY WITH PEOPLE FROM THEIR COUNTRY OR WITH THE SAME LANGUAGE GROUP AS THEM. A LOT OF AMERICAN STUDENTS ALSO DO THE SAME OVERSEAS. THIS IS A BIG MISTAKE! OCCASIONALLY SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS OF THE SAME LANGUAGE, BUT YOU SHOULD ALSO INTERACT WITH AMERICANS AND PEOPLE FROM OTHER COUNTRIES.”
Writer: Ross Jennings
(Source: Global Study Magazine: www.globalstudymagazine.com)