It’s a new year, which means it’s a fresh start! If 2015 didn’t go quite as planned, now is your chance to take control and make the changes you want to see. Here are a few ways that international students inside the US like you can make 2016 a great year and see progress during your time abroad.
Establish New Friends
Although your time abroad will mainly revolve around your studies- your social life will also play a big role during your time overseas. Because of this, it’s important to make time to stay active on campus and throughout the community. If your residence hall has a social function- make sure you go, if a classmate asks you to lunch- join without hesitation. Making new friends can often make individuals feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s well worth it in the end. Make a goal to develop one new friendship each month and by the end of the year you’ll have 12 new friends!
Start Planning your CPT or OPT
If you’re legally able to participate in OPT or CPT make sure you take full advantage of this opportunity and that you start planning early. Work experience through OPT or CPT will allow you to gain the real-world experience you need and develop a solid connection that might lead to a job later on down the road. To ensure that you can participate in OPT or CPT at the company of your choice, start the application process at that company early. Some companies will take months to decide on who they will hire, so don’t let a slow hiring process make you miss your opportunity to gain experience you need.
Get to Know your Professors
If you haven’t already noticed- your professors are brilliant! If you spend time getting to know them you will see that most of them have either traveled the word, written great publications, had a hand in social movements, discoveries, ground-breaking research or all of the above. Your professors are a wealth of knowledge and can be exciting to get to know. Along with the chance of getting to know someone as great as your professors simply for the sake of getting to know them, it’s can also be beneficial. Throughout the next few years you will need letters of reference or individuals who can give you a good recommendation- whether it’s for graduate school or a job. Developing a strong relationship with your professors will help ensure that when the time comes that you have a need for these references, you will have them ready.
Find your Passion
When pursuing a goal it’s really easy to get caught up and lose site of your passion in life. While working hard on projects, reading assignments, exams and essays, don’t forget to explore and continue to grow personally. Whether this means making sure you continue to incorporate something you’re passionate about into your daily routine, or to stick to the pursuit of finding your passion, don’t let it drift away completely during your studies abroad.
Take a Class- Just for Fun
Every student will have a certain amount of general education courses that need to be filled and what better way to fill those than with a class that you truly enjoy. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to foxtrot take a ballroom dancing class, if your bowling skills are quite embarrassing for you each time you hit the lanes take a bowling class and a gain few pointers. Other than your degree and perhaps your GPA, employers are not going to drill down on your individual class choice, so make one of your general education class choices a fun one.