How International Students can Survive the First Year of College
As an international student in Canada, you are bound to be extremely excited and will be looking forward to it. But keep all your emotions in check, don a hat of practicality and a shield of resilience, because you are going to need this and a lot more to get through that first year of college. It is definitely a time of sudden self-reliance and independence.
There is also enormous expectation from the parents of the students, not to forget the increased study load. The combination of all these factors has a positive as well a negative effect on the psyche of the student. Here are some survival tips to help you outwit, outplay and outlast that first year of college:
- Cultural Differences- This is a factor which cannot be changed, but look around you and you will see that you are not alone. Find people you can gel with and do not necessarily look for people of your nationality. Very soon you will find yourself blending into the milieu
- Language- If you do not speak English or French well, you might feel like a fish out of water. But you are required to have a certain level of spoken and written English. Take some extra language classes and get on track
- Consult Professors: Keep in mind that your professors are there to assist and guide you and that there is no need for you to feel intimidated. Most professors will be more than happy to help you with improving your grades and your well being
- Meals- Regardless of how busy you are, make it a point to stock up on healthy food and eat healthy meals. Avoid eating out as much as you can and maintain consistency with what you consume. It will keep you healthy and you end up saving money too
- Exercise & Health- Focus on staying healthy. In addition to eating well, ensure that you get sufficient sleep and rest. Try to get some regular exercise- and even walking 3-4 times a week or playing a game of tennis/squash regularly can keep you fit
- Savings- Know that you are in a foreign land and that every penny you save will be the buffer you need in case of an emergency. You might not realize it now, but when you live away from home, you have to pay for EVERYTHING
- Support System- Develop a support system. There will be times when you feel low, dejected, frustrated or home sick. Make a few good friends, ones you can confide in and share your thoughts with. It goes a long way in alleviating the depression issue. Speak with family via Skype/ International Calling Cards (its free/cheap); it will make you feel much better.
Explore, travel when you can, get out of your comfort zone and very soon you will find that you are more comfortable with your surroundings and that all your fears and reservations are melting away. Before you know it, your first year will be done and as you move through to the next year, you will wonder what all the panic was about.