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Justin Stephenson

Justin Stephenson is a former technology teacher from California. He enjoys contributing to blogs in various areas of interest.


14 Aug 2015 2K Book icon 2 mins Share

Six tips to help you make friends while studying in US

The friends you make play a crucial part of your international student experience-after all, it won't be any fun if it’s all study and no play-agreed?

14 Aug 2015 2K Book icon 2 mins Share
Justin Stephenson

Justin Stephenson is a former technology teacher from California. He enjoys contributing to blogs in various areas of interest.


Share this article
Six tips to help you make friends while studying in US

If you have decided to study abroad in America, then I would like to congratulate you, as you are about to embark on a fantastic journey which promises to be a truly life changing experience. Whether it is for a single semester or multiple years, your time in the U.S. will likely be full of beautiful sights, entertaining adventures, a first-class educational experience and new friends, creating a stockpile of extraordinary memories.

Of course, studying abroad in the U.S. will entail mass amounts of studying and in a foreign language! However, when you’re not studying, I suggest maximizing your happiness at your new university campus. How is this accomplished? Simple… Make new friends. There is an old saying in America, “the more the merrier”. This means, the more people you have in your group, the more enjoyable the activity or event will be. Thus, surrounding yourself with new friends should definitely enhance the enjoyment levels of your study abroad experience.
Making friends at a new university in the U.S. may seem intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. Most U.S. college students are very nice, sociable and kind. So, if you’re a bit shy, here are six great tips on making friends at your new campus. (*Note from the author: I attended a respected private university in southern California and made new friends with a large amount of international students).

Get Involved

America’s university campuses offer a large collection of interest/activity groups, organizations and clubs. Some are organized by the university and others are headed up by students. Either way, these are great opportunities to meet others who share your interests. Additionally, this type of social setting is a very comfortable way to start engaging with groups of students.

Don’t Worry About Your English Proficiency

Too often, international students hold back their true personalities due to lacking confidence when speaking English. I can understand this, however, people won’t judge you on what you say, but instead how you act. Therefore, it’s very important to be yourself. Laugh, smile and be happy. Do this and I guarantee others will want to be around you.

Take Advantage of the International Student Unions

The international student unions are organizations led by international students at your new campus. Inquire as to how you can become involved. They are always welcoming and looking for help. You can make new international friends easily this way. Additionally, by hanging out with established international students, you will likely be introduced to the friends they have made on campus.

Collaborate on Projects

Working with other students on a project or assignment is a nice way to combine learning and socializing. It can be as simple as asking a fellow classmate if they would like study with you in person, through email or social media.

Be Social

In all truth, you are going to have to be proactive and get out there to interact with other students. This isn’t hard. U.S. college campuses always have events and activities taking place. Ask some other students you have met to go to one of the campus sporting events, concerts, etc. Wear clothes showing your school pride and have a good time. Hold up your hands and offer high fives to others around you when the crowd cheers.

Play an Intramural Sport

Intramural sports clubs are non-competitive sports leagues for students. This is an excellent way to quickly build a group of friends. There are usually a wide array of sports offered, from the major U.S. sports and international sports to choose from. The best part is that you don’t have to be good! Those who are highly-skilled at a sport will play for the real university team. Thus, all you have to do is sign up and have fun!
In closing, college campuses in America are special places, full of ideas, energy and a real sense of community. I encourage those interested in studying abroad in the U.S. to take the leap. A last tip to help you with the study abroad travel logistics would be to work with a company such as Collegeboxes for your study abroad shipping and college storage needs.
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