5 Tips for International Students

Your first year at college is already daunting, and for international students, the addition of navigating a new country doesn’t make it any easier. College is a new stage of life full of surprises and new experiences and adjusting to a new environment. There can be a culture shock when attending a school in a different state, let alone a foreign country. 

Depending on where you are coming from, living in the U.S. can be vastly different than what your use too!

As students from all over the world prepare for their first year in college, we’ve compiled a list of some helpful tips for international students.

Depending on where you are coming from, living in the United States can be very different from home. Different rules and laws, strange customs, new food, maybe even a new language, and miles away from home, but don’t fret!

Even if studying in a new place is scary, there are people on campus to help you succeed.

You’re Not Alone

Getting stuck on the idea that you are the only person feeling out of place when you first get to college is easy. Everyone else looks like they’ve already made lifelong friends and embracing their new life at college, but the reality is that everyone is in the same boat. No matter where you’re from, students are always nervous and worried about their first year. It’s a normal feeling, so don’t forget that and don’t let your fear deter you from going out and meeting new people.

Suppose you are participating in a student exchange program with your home university. In that case, there will likely be events just for you and other students studying in the United States this semester. Depending on the size of your new school, there may even be dorms or classroom buildings designated for study abroad students, which is the perfect place to meet other people who are in the same boat as you.

Attend Welcome Events

You may hear that participating in school-hosted events is not the “coolest.” However, they are a fantastic way to make some new friends! Welcome events can go on for a week up to a month, depending on your school. Either way, try to attend at least one event. These initial days of school are intended to help you meet new people and get to know some other students in your class. It can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, but they are a great way to get to know your peers and see what your school offers.

There are plenty of mixers for incoming students, and you may be able to find one specifically for international students. Welcome events are the perfect place to ask questions, explore your campus, and become familiar with your new environment. 


Whether a campus tour or even a local city tour, take some time to get to know where you are. Schools often offer various tours for incoming students that help map out the campus and the surrounding area. This allows you to get an idea of the campus and what is available to you on and off campus. Tour guides will point out important places on campus that you’ll need to know and provide helpful tips for incoming freshmen.

If you take a city tour, you can have a little more peace of mind by visiting restaurants, museums, stores, and more. You’ll have a better idea of where your school is located and may even find a fun place to hang out with new friends!

Participate in Campus Life

Your college community’s atmosphere can depend on the school’s location and what is offered. But taking advantage of it and knowing what events are happening can help make your new home away from home feel a little more comfortable. You might not be the biggest football fan or don’t know anything about music.

However, various events like sports games and student performances are great opportunities to meet new people and get acquainted with various student activities. These events are also great ways to initiate connections. When you meet someone new, you can suggest going to a game together or production, which helps ease the awkwardness of making new friends.

Ask Questions

There really is no such thing as a stupid question. Don’t be afraid of sounding clueless and ask the questions on your mind. It’s better to be over-prepared than under. Connecting with student leaders on campus and various advisors is one of the best keys to college success. So many people on campus are there to help you out and ensure that you are on track to do your best. If you’re unsure of something, need advice, or even just want a recommendation of something to do, just ask someone!

At the end of the day, college is hectic and crazy, and exciting all at the same time. You’re never gonna feel like you’re 100% on top of everything in your first year, especially if you’re an international student, and that’s totally fine. Don’t get overwhelmed with everything; take time to enjoy it, learn, and soak up the new experiences. Four years go by fast so take advantage of every opportunity.

How GradGuard Can Help

Going away to college for the first time can be a scary thing to anyone, but what if you were going to a different country? International students are not only smart but incredibly brave for making the journey to a foreign country to further their education. However, that transition is not always seamless.

There are many things international students can do to make that transition a little easier and safer; a major one is being sure to have renters insurance.

GradGuard is the leading renters insurance agency on the market for college students, especially international students. Here are some of our benefits:

  • Low deductibles- With most other companies, your renters deductible can be upwards of $500-$1000. That doesn’t do you much good if your $600 iPhone gets stolen.
  • No background or credit check– Most college students have little credit history. We do not increase your rates due to this because we understand your situation and hardships as a student. We want to make things easier, not harder.
  • No raising of rates– A huge pain of insurance is that rates usually increase if you need to file a claim, even if the claim doesn’t pay out. We don’t raise your rates regardless of the result of the claim.
  • Worldwide personal property coverage– Every GradGuard policy comes with worldwide personal property coverage, so if you’re at the library or traveling home for spring break and your phone gets stolen, that’s covered!

Do we have you convinced yet? GradGuard is always here to help you with the hard times that college brings, especially to international students who seem to be taking a more considerable leap than others.

Author Bio

Author Bio

Joining the team for a second year, Morgan is a sophomore at the Walter Cronkite School in Downtown Phoenix for ASU Barrett Honor College. She’s a native Arizonian, and taking after her dad, she loves writing and art of all mediums. Morgan is excited to gain new experiences through her second summer as an intern at GradGuard and form new relationships with the GradGuard team.