Priyanka Thaddaeus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, U.S., provides some do’s and don’t’s for overseas-bound students.
Experience is truly the greatest teacher. I wish to share my experience overseas as a student and I believe it will help prospective students planning their study abroad.
I wasted a lot of time on trivial matters and ended up wasting precious energy prior to leaving to the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Arizona, U.S, to pursue my Masters degree in Safety Science. Right from the beginning, I learnt that I needed to do everything for myself from the scratch when I landed in the U.S — right from dragging my luggage over to my room after checking in and starting house on campus in a completely new country for the first time.
I suggest that when booking your connecting flights and shuttle buses, provide leverage for any unexpected delays in flights. Wherever you are, give respect to those around you. The convergence of people from all over the world is an education everyone must experience. For international students especially this is a learning process.
The ERAU campus in Arizona is small, and everybody knows each other! Respect each other’s need for space and cultural differences, merge with the crowd. That is how your knowledge and experience can widen. Attend the orientation and information sessions. Make sure the orientations are there on your schedule. Such sessions help in getting to know the people in the university and familiarising yourself with your surroundings. Always be punctual and professional. Living on-campus is immensely beneficial. There is less travel time, and with the work-load, living next to the library and the in-house Starbucks is always a good idea! That apart, staying on campus instils a feeling of security. You can do a lot of networking and develop friendship with many within the university. Campus cafeterias are also now more open to vegetarian and vegan options on their menus. When you are a student at a foreign university campus, ensure that you make use of all the facilities made available to you. Always grab whichever opportunity comes your way. At Embry-Riddle, we have tutors assigned to students for all subjects for free. Perks like these always need to be put to the best of use. Tour neighbouring counties and States if and when you get a chance. Play new sport and get involved in various activities. Join science or engineering club, take part in research projects and proposals, use the library.
Interact with your faculty members. Never stay silent in classroom. The classroom scenario here is more discussion-oriented; everybody’s opinion is of value. Open up to the topic being taught and be innovative — thinking outside the box is directly proportional to getting constructive feedback. Manage you time efficiently. Methods of instruction are of high quality and all professors are well qualified and friendly. Clarify your doubts and ask questions, and never mock the ones you think are silly.
Studnets living abroad have to prudently and efficiently plan their finances. It goes without saying that finding a job on campus is crucial to support yourself and being independent. The U.S. is not an exhaustively expensive country, but a lot depends on where you live and shop. Plan your monthly expenses accordingly. Also, before leaving for the U.S., make sure that all monetary numbers quoted on your I-20 are well explained by the university; check if accommodation and meal-plan fees pertain to a single semester, or a year. Never take casual mentions for granted, as they may turn out to be very different in reality, and also expensive.
The government comes down heavily on miscreants. International student need to be all the more careful. Use a legitimate driver’s licence, and do not misuse Social Security Numbers or government-issued ID. Don’t even opt for sly, immoral means within the classroom. The price to pay is high. Breaking the rules is definitely not funny.