9 Practical Tips to Help an International Student Succeed at School

9 Practical Tips to Help an International Student Succeed at School
  • Opening Intro -

    You’ve graduated from high school and are ready to head off to college.

    You’ve been considering it for a while and are pretty sure that you want to travel overseas to the US for that purpose.


Going to a foreign school isn’t easy. As an international student, you have to get used to the language, make friends, adapt to the culture, and learn to study all while feeling at least a tinge of homesickness.

It’s not unheard of to feel a little overwhelmed. We can help take the pressure off. To help you become successful, check out these top tips for international students.

1. Check Your Email Each and Every Day

To be successful as a student, the number one thing you should do is check your email at least once or twice a day. Professors use email as their major method of communication. They’ll use it to give you important updates in regards to assignments.

The last thing you want is to pull yourself out of bed to go to your 8 AM class and be the only one there. Teachers use emails to keep their students informed about class cancelations. You’ll also use emails to get in touch with your advisor and other important faculty members.

2. Become a Master of the English Language

Even if you’re pretty fluent in English, it’s still not a bad idea to polish your skills. You’ll need it in order to complete your papers and other assignments.

There are fun tricks you can use to get better acquainted with the English language. For example, watch a movie with the subtitles on or listen to the radio.

Most colleges have an English tutor that you can visit. They have writing centers available as well. All you have to do is schedule an appointment and someone will sit down with you to go over your papers before you turn them in.

3. Make Use of Your Resources

Most colleges have a special office for international students. The staff in this office want to see you succeed and will give you pointers to make your college life a good one.

They hold events that make it possible for you to meet other international students and get information that you need to get used to the US.

4. Sign Up for Organizations and Clubs

Speaking of events, every single school has clubs. At the beginning of the school year, you’ll have the opportunity to attend a huge fair. Clubs and student organizations set up booths where you can learn about them and sign up for their email list.

Sign up for any of them that catch your eye. You don’t have to fully commit to all of them but at least being an active member in one or two will allow you to have a little fun and make some lasting friendships.

5. Find Ways to Make Yourself Feel at Home

When studying overseas there will be at least one point in time when you begin to feel a bit homesick. Finding little ways to make yourself feel at home will help make it better. If you have a kitchen available to you, make one of your country’s famous dishes or crank up some of your favorite songs from back home.

Make a plan to keep in contact with your family. Give them your schedule so they know when they can FaceTime you. Just make sure that they are aware of the time zone differences.

6. Find a Work-Life Balance

All work and no play make for a very stressed out international student. Take some time away from studying to go hang out with a friend from class. Head to a coffee shop and grab a drink for no reason.

Getting out of your room will help you get adjusted to the new culture and allow you get to know the locals. So, when you’re creating your class schedule, make sure you leave room in it for relaxation.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Around for Help

If you don’t understand something that your teacher is going over in class, don’t be afraid to raise your hand and let them know. Your instructor is there to help you learn. They’ll be happy to answer anything you throw at them.

If you do feel a bit uneasy asking a question in front of your peers, try to speak with your professor after class or go see them during their office hours.

8. The Library is Your Friend

When it comes to studying, the library is your best friend. It’s a quiet place where you can go over your materials in peace. There are phone plugs where you can charge your phone and computers available so you can get your research done.

If you get hungry or need a caffeine boost, many campus libraries have vending machines and coffee shops around for you to get refreshments.

It might be a little hard to find a computer during exam time but as you can see, going to the library is better for you than trying to concentrate in the noisy dorm rooms.

9. Read Your Materials Carefully

If English isn’t your first language, trying to absorb the information in your textbook can be a struggle. Try to break your reading up into small paragraphs so it doesn’t feel as overwhelming.

other valuable tips:

As your instructor goes over a chapter, jot down notes so you can go back and review them all at the end. Remember, if you come across a section that you don’t understand, mark it and come back to it some other time or make a note to talk to your professor about it later.

Helping You Succeed in School as an International Student

Coming to the US to study as an international student can be overwhelming. Between getting used to the language, attending classes, making friends, and signing up for extracurriculars, you’re going to have your plate full. The key to success it to take everything one step at a time and never forget to pencil in a little time for fun.

Looking for more ways to survive your first year of college? Check out our blog daily for more articles like this one.

Image Credit: international student by Pixabay

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Categories: Study Abroad