Being an international student is harder than most might realize

By Danielle Skinner | LTVN Reporter/Anchor

Many students from around the globe travel to go to schools in the United States. However, the process may be harder than most people think. As an international student, I understand the difficulties of traveling to a new place and having many more responsibilities.

For most students, maintaining immigration status is not a concern, but international students must prioritize this when choosing classes in order to remain a full-time student. They must have 12 hours to maintain their immigration status, and if this is not followed, then they may not get the opportunity to take classes at all. As a Canadian student, I found that research was very helpful in guiding me through the delicate process.

International students have a much more difficult time going to school because there are many documents to sign that allow you to keep your immigration up to date. Although there’s a lot of help from international advisers and people working at the school, it is still a student’s responsibility to keep up.

Adjusting to school can be much more difficult, as students have a brand new culture to adapt to while dealing with homesickness, visa requirements and language barriers. Many of these factors make going to school difficult for students from out of the country, and it may not seem like a lot, but when you are fresh to the college experience, everything is very new. You’re not close to home, and you’re in a new environment with new people.

I personally found that the people in Texas were larger than life, allowing me to feel like I belonged right away. A few culture shocks that surprised me were the food — specifically the amount of Tex-Mex — and how people actually wear cowboy boots, have mullets and go line dancing.

As a student from Canada, I know it may not seem that I have as many difficulties as students who are traveling across the sea. However, that is not actually the case, as every international student must go through the same processes to travel.

For many students, traveling can be very difficult, especially at this time. COVID-19 did not allow for students to travel internationally, meaning some students did not get to go home over breaks. These travel restrictions limited students from seeing their friends and family.

Being an international student does open many opportunities, and it is an exciting experience. It is such a privilege to be able to go to school in the United States and live the college life. There are challenges that must be overcome as an international student, but that does not stop us from gaining a lifetime of experiences and an amazing education.

Personally, I have had many highs in college, and I would not have been able to have these experiences back home. I am able to join clubs, participate in big school events, be in a sorority and do a number of amazing things. Being able to meet so many supportive people and have friends from all over helps guide me and shape me as a person and has truly made this experience extraordinary.