Practical Tips for international students

Header image for the article Practical Tips for international students Credit: ISTOCK (FRANCKREPORTER)
Are you ready to live the Canadian dream?

Adjusting to a new life halfway across the world can be daunting. But does it really have to be? Here are some helpful tips to help make your life easier. Be smart, be aware and most importantly be accountable.

Save, save, save. Money can be a major stress-factor for most students and we all know how expensive studying abroad can be. We also know how attractive an item on sale could be (you know you’re guilty). Don’t buy everything you see when you first arrive, no matter how cool things seem. Many grocery stores and retail outlets have student discounts too so make the best of it.

Build a network. Chat up with your professors, they’re a lot more well connected than you think. Whether it be professors or classmates or flatmates, it is important to make connections and build a pool of contacts. You never know who could help you on a rainy day!

Do not be afraid to ask help. Never be afraid to raise your hand or ask for clarification when you don’t quite understand something. That extends beyond the classroom too. While it is important to prepare for culture shock and familiarize yourself with your campus, higher education is meant to be a time to learn and explore as a community. It is helpful to remember that a lot of the other students on campus are also likely away from home and are adjusting to a new place too.

Eat your meals at home. Looking for an easy way to save money and be healthy? Cook your meals at home. Eating out can be a very expensive hobby and you do not want to fall prey to it. Learn a few of your favorite dishes and in no time, you’ll be an absolute pro! You can try to limit yourself to a meal outside once or twice a week so that you’re not depriving yourself entirely!

Make friends and have fun. It takes time and effort to adjust being in a new country or city and away being away from your family. Get to know your flatmates, classmates, and other people on campus. And don’t just stick with the other international students. Mix with the locals too and you’ll settle in much faster than you imagined!

Get involved in campus life. It is so easy to network and make friends if you get involved in campus life. Get outside your comfort zone. Attend seminars outside your department, join societies that you may not have considered before and say yes to new opportunities. And before you know it you have made tons of friends and learned a lot more!

Look up student support resources. The International Centre at Fanshawe College’s main campus in Room E2025 is your first point of contact at school and is filled with students just like yourself. The international office has expertly trained professionals who are there to guide and advise you. There are many other facilities like this at Fanshawe College to help you at any given moment. Some of them are Fanshawe Student Union (FSU), Wellness Centre, Counselling and Accessibility Services, Campus Security, etc.

So, hold your chin up high, walk through those college doors and know that you will come out on the other side stronger and way more prepared to take on the real world than you ever were.