Getting involved on campus is one way to meet new people—whether that's in academic clubs, social organizations, or even at part-time jobs. For Providence College student Iryna Bocharova, working in her school's information technology department helped her find a diverse group of friends and start to feel at home on the Rhode Island campus.
"I had trouble accepting people and building relationships the first two weeks," the Ukranian native says. "By the second month, I had a lot of friends, and everything was perfect."
5. New food: In America, it's a trend known as the freshman 15: Weight gain is relatively common among new college students who aren't accustomed to daily meals at buffets. For international students, adapting to new food in unlimited quantities can be especially challenging.
"The first week, I enjoyed having pizza and pasta and American stuff," says Drake University student Laad. "I gained a lot of weight when I came here, and then I decided that, no—I'm not going to eat all this junk stuff anymore."
The good news is that colleges usually offer wellness services and nutrition counseling to help you identify smart food choices. For Laad, meeting with Drake's nutritionist, coupled with her own diet research, helped her to get back on a healthy eating plan.
[Get tips for staying in shape in college.]
6. New culture: The United States is often called a melting pot, mixing people from cultures all around the world. Still, American culture is distinctive, and might be different from your own.
"I think I was too hardened to the culture difference—I just rejected it, telling myself, 'No, there's no culture difference,'" says Providence College student Bocharova. Instead, "Accept that there is a culture difference, and accept that it is OK," the Ukranian student recommends.
No matter what obstacles you're facing at college, remember that you're not alone—and you don't have to deal with them on your own. College campuses provide a vast array of resources to students, because the transition can be tricky for anyone.
"Even though I came halfway across the globe ..., I don't think it was just me," says Augustana College student Bojovic of his transition challenges. "Just like any other freshman, it takes a while to adapt—but I felt like I pretty much grew up at Augustana."
For more international student tips and news, explore the Studying in the United States center.