Everyone knows U.S. universities and colleges are academically strong. But they’re also a place to make new friends and share experiences that you’ll remember for a lifetime. So be sure — after studying! — to explore these strategies to get the most out of your time as an international student.
Join a club
Early in a new academic year, colleges organize fairs where student organizations recruit members. You might join a dance club like the step team pictured below, try out for an athletic team, or link up with clubs where students paint, sing, or even sail (it helps if your school is close to water).
Welcome back yesterday’s students
Most schools have a homecoming celebration. That’s when alumni return to their college to reconnect with their college friends and recall their time on campus. It can be a great time to current students to meet and network with alumni. A football game is often a key homecoming event, and there often are dances, parades, and many other opportunities for students to bond and show their school spirit.
Pledge a fraternity or sorority
Fraternities (for men) and sororities (for women) are social organizations, many of whose members live together in a fraternity or sorority house. Rush, or recruiting season, is in the fall, and includes many social events. Students join to make friends but also to cultivate career connections or perform community service.
Host Mom and Dad
Most schools schedule time in the fall for students to invite their families to visit. That’s the time to have your parents sit in on a class or show off your new friends to younger brothers and sisters.
Get in shape
Let’s face it — college classes can be difficult, and stressful. Hitting the gym is a great way to relieve that stress, and many U.S. colleges have top notch student gyms.
Sometimes physical activity isn’t enough. Most American campuses offer counseling services for when you need to talk through a problem.
The Pitch Perfect movies have sparked interest in a cappella singing groups. Consider trying out, or joining the school orchestra or marching band if you play a musical instrument.
Take in a concert
So you like music but are not a performer? Stars like Janelle Monae, Diplo, Snoop Dogg and Brad Paisley have all performed on campuses for free or with reduced-price student tickets.