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Tips for BU’s New International Students

Peers offer advice about getting the most from your BU experience

For any freshman, college is an adjustment. But it’s especially true for international students, who must adapt to a new culture, and in some instances a new language, all while finding their way around campus and learning to live in an unfamiliar city. This week, BU is welcoming 860 international students as members of the Class of 2020. They hail from 74 countries, with most coming from China, followed by India, South Korea, Canada, and Taiwan. Collectively, they comprise 24 percent of the freshman class.

To help the newest members of our international student body make the most of their college experience, BU Today reached out to more than a dozen current BU international students and recent alums who have weathered the initial plunge into a new culture. We asked them to reflect on their experiences and to share some suggestions for settling in.


4 Comments on Tips for BU’s New International Students

  • Lara on 08.26.2015 at 3:27 pm

    Thank you for doing a feature on our international students! As an American who just came back from a year abroad – having to live, work, and perform research in another country where the culture and dominant language are VERY different – I can’t say enough how important it is to support and welcome students brave enough to study and live abroad in Boston for extended periods of time. I would also love to hear from students at BU who do not speak such fluent English – I wonder if their experiences are very different, because struggling with a language barrier alone can make living arrangements, studying, and avoiding social isolation really difficult.

    • Michelle Smith on 03.07.2016 at 8:03 pm

      Hi Lara, I am an instructor at BU’s Center for English Language and Orientation Programs. If you would still like to speak with international students, let me know! We would love to have you visit our class and share your experience!

  • Massire wague on 07.19.2016 at 12:53 pm

    What are the challenges to which foreign students are faced by first year Master ?
    Foreign students often tend to be confused by a system that is not their own , so I think it is better to set up a guidance system of foreign students after language the test.

  • Stephen on 09.01.2016 at 9:52 am

    I support 300% Massire’s suggestion. Foreign students should be given upon arrival a ‘road map’ of ‘survival’ that includes in-depth discussions of the uniqueness of the American university, its social dynamics, and its extra-curricular groups. In addition, each new foreign arrival should be assigned to a ‘mentor’—that is, a foreign student who has already attended BU for at least one year (and, in addition, ideally, a faculty mentor), “Culture shock” and isolation CAN be avoided, but only if user-friendly measures are in place. (Studied five years abroad.)

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