What international students should know before coming to study in the U.S.

By Catalina Duran Ballen | June 15, 2023

When moving to a new place, one must do some research in the different areas that might be impacted by changes such as cultural differences.

It is important for international students who are coming to the United States to study to do some research of their own.

Be aware of all the cultural differences you will need to adapt to and start making a plan to make that transition as efficient as possible.

More Importantly, don’t forget there will people who will help you, Peers and professors at Charleston Southern University are a community who care about each other and want everyone’s success!

Some ideas to consider are:

  • Make your dorm your home, decorate it 
  • Include a place in your dorm where you have pictures of friends, family, and places back home to help you when you get homesick
  • Make sure to take into account time zone differences when trying to call home
  • Have a schedule of calls with your parents in place
  • Orientation is a great place to get to know people and make a friend group
  • Be prepared to face culture shock
  • Class participation counts for your grades. It may be different in your county, but you will be expected to have discussions during class with your professors and peers.
  • There will be plenty of reading required for your courses. Make sure to read before your class and understand how the syllabus works.
  • The quicker you learn about all the resources available to help you, the better. Make sure to use all the opportunities available to you for your success. 
  • Join the clubs you are interested in
  • Having a balance between studies and a social life is important, so have fun too
  • Teamwork is extremely important, and you will learn how to work with different types of people. Make sure to communicate.
  • Understand the value of time and what is considered impolite 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • If you can, bring treats from home!

Remember to ask about any cultural differences you are still struggling with upon arrival. Reach out to the International Students’ office! They exist to help you!

Catalina Duran Ballen is a junior communication studies major at Charleston Southern University. She was a 2022 summer intern in the Marketing & Communication office.