Eleven tips for international students

Claire Boston | Multimedia Journalist

By Elise Crosley | Reporter

Transitioning to Baylor is difficult for some students, especially if they are moving from out of the country. Here are some tips for international students from international students transitioning into life here in Waco.

1. Talk to people. “Talk with people in your dorms, classes and at events, especially the first year. Everyone is fresh to Baylor. You have nothing to lose and nothing to win. Baylor is such a loving community. I can’t guarantee all of your experiences will be perfect, but you won’t regret trying,” said Shanghai senior Jinni Tang.

2. Find one friend. “Try as much as possible to build a good relationship with at least one person that’s been here before you, either a native or an international student. You need to constantly talk with someone here to help you embrace your new living environment. The international students’ P.A.W.S. program could be of help here,” said Patrick Olademehin, a doctorate student from Abuja, Nigeria.

3. Join multiple friend groups. “Find your own cultural community, but don’t make it your only comfort zone. You don’t necessarily have to expose yourself in a different cultural community,” Tang said.

4. Ask for help. “Be very vocal in asking for help. America is a place where people mind their business as much as they can, but surprisingly, they would go the extra mile to help you, if you dare to ask for help,” Olademehin said.

5. Community helps homesickness. “Do your best to be part of a community, from a local church or within Baylor, because you need all the love you can get to overcome homesickness,” Olademehin said.

6. Engage in Texas culture. “If you can speak great English and have a sufficient understanding of the Texans’ culture, just feel free to go to different events on/off the campus. If not, go to the events that are held specifically for international students — usually held by Center of Global Engagement,” Tang said.

7. Stay on top of your school work. “Get used to the American style of education. It is the core reason why you are here and would be the main source of your stress. The earlier you stay ahead, the less stressful it will be for you. So prioritize your time effectively,” Olademehin said.

8. Practice, practice, practice. “Don’t be afraid or feel embarrassed if you cannot communicate well with the native students. Practice makes perfect. Trust me, the more you speak with them, the better your English will be,” Tang said.

9. Move out of your comfort zone. “Integrate with people from a different culture as yours. There is a natural tendency to only relate with people of same background, but you need to move out of your comfort zone before you can see that we are all one, even though we may see things differently,” Olademehin said.

10. Find a church. “Church activities — Sunday services, college services, life groups and bible study groups — are always good ways to connect to people and the community,” Tang said.

11. Enjoy it. “Have fun. There is so much your new environment has to offer. Visit new places with friends and try new foods,” Olademehin said.