5. The writing center: Writing is often a large component of the college education in the United States. If you're not comfortable writing in English, seek out your school's writing center for individual attention. It's one way to transition to a new educational environment, UNL's Wilson says, and to become a more confident communicator.
"Writing is the currency of our curriculum," he says. "It's the way you most often communicate to a faculty member what you know, and how you get evaluated."
6. The career services center: Though foreign students on visas will not have all of the same work opportunities as their domestic peers, your school's career services center may be able to help you understand what options are available while you're in the United States. For students at the University of California—Berkeley, for example, international students can meet with career counselors for help with internship searches or résumé tune-ups, according to the school's career center website.
That kind of help was vital to Shatonova at Augsburg College when she applying for internships. "[Career services counselors] are just extremely resourceful," she says. "They really helped me to understand the ideas of what American companies are looking for."
7. The legal services center: Consider dropping by your school's legal services center if issues beyond immigration and visa questions arise, Texas A&M's Tacey recommends. She says that center is a good resource for international students who are having marital problems, for example, and are considering the implications of divorce, or for students who have received an underage drinking citation or a speeding ticket.
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8. The student union: By surrounding yourself with other students, it might be easier for you to make friends and get involved in activities outside of class—a key component of an international student's happiness, experts say. It's also important to interact with students of different nationalities, which has been found to increase international student satisfaction.
"There's little advantage to a more globalized campus if the students aren't doing more than just sitting next to each other in classes," UNL's Wilson notes. "It's learning how someone from another country sees the world; it's learning the ways in which we're different and similar that opens so much of the richness of what can happen with these transnational encounters."
Besides, Wilson adds, "If [Chinese students] are going to hang around with other Chinese kids, they might as well have stayed at home—it'd be a whole lot cheaper."
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