Your one-stop resource for studying and living in the United States.  International students can search our directory of over 4,000 American educational institutions.  Find the right college, university, or other school for you, and study abroad in America!  Let us provide application forms as well as information on tuition, scholarships, grants, financial aid and much more.
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Your one-stop resource for studying in the United States. International students can search our directory of over 4,000 American educational institutions. Find the right college, university, or other school for you, and study abroad in America! Let us provide application forms as well as information on tuition, scholarships, grants, financial aid and much more.

 
 

 Study and Live

Making Friends

Forming friendships is one of the most fun aspects about studying and living in the United States. Especially if you are willing to explore new ways of thinking. And aren't afraid to explore your many social options.

You're Not Alone
Before you arrive in this nation, you should try to learn as much as you can about the culture. This will make it easier to deal with a different lifestyle.

Expect the first weeks to be a bit of an emotional roller coaster. You may be leaving behind your friends and family. But you're also awaiting an exciting adventure. Be extra kind to yourself during this time and expect things to be confusing for a while.

Most experts recommend you avoid selecting a school that has a high percentage of students from your own nation. You might be too tempted to spend all your time with these students. This will isolate you from American students, and prevent you from strengthening your English language skills. Besides, one of the main reasons you're here is to learn about the US culture. Right?

Once you get on campus, attend the international student orientation program. You'll not only learn a lot about practical day-to-day issues, you'll also meet a lot of students from around the world, who are facing the same challenges as you. In addition to these orientation programs, your international student office will probably offer different activities throughout the year.

Numerous Opportunities
Most colleges or universities offer a number of student resources for free.

These are a great way to meet new friends and get into the spirit of the school experience. There are all types of clubs, sporting events, activities or student government opportunities. Often there is an organization devoted solely to international students.

To find out about these many opportunities, look in the student handbook. This is typically distributed throughout campus wherever students gather.

The student activity center is a wealth of information. Make a point to visit there regularly.

Student newspapers typically come out a couple times a week. You'll find them a terrific resource of events, clubs and resources.

Still not satisfied completely? Then ask your classmates, your international student advisor and even your professors. You'll find most people very willing to share information. And you'll feel proud of yourself for taking the initiative towards building an active social life.

Adjustment Issues
With the right attitude, your experience in this country can be terribly exciting. Especially if you are willing to examine the cultural differences between your nation and here.

Typically, US students are notoriously individualistic. They rely on themselves more than on their parents. Many are self-supporting and work summer and part-time jobs. They tend to make major decisions on their own.

In personal relationships, American students can be very outgoing and friendly. Much more so than in other countries. However, they expect others to appreciate their "personal space" and privacy. Don't confuse friendliness as an opportunity to pry into their personal matters.

US students also insist on adequate space between people. In fact, they can become offended if someone stands or comes too close to them. Always allow plenty of space between you and them.

Although Americans tend to be quite talkative, they don't make a lot of gestures when they speak. They also don't tend to make a lot of physical contact, unless they know the person well. So your best bet when meeting someone is a handshake. Kisses on the cheek are usually reserved only for closer friends.

Punctuality tends to be important. Especially in the case of class times and professional meetings. However, you are allowed to arrive about 15 minutes or a half-hour later for social gatherings, unless dinner is being cooked. Then you should show respect to the cook and come right on time.

There are many resources available that can provide additional helpful tips about this culture. Taking the time to learn these points will make your school experience more rewarding -- and make it easier to make friends.

Remember that despite these differences, people are people. In time, you will begin to relax, laugh at your mistakes and enjoy the exciting diversity of US campuses. Have fun!

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