International Student Newsletter

Dear International Students,

We hope you are staying warm and safe so far this semester.

In the Announcements section of this newsletter, learn more about resources and events which can help improve your social and academic experiences at BU. For example, learn about the many tools the Center for Career Development offers to help you get ready for your career, and consider attending a virtual Talk About: Transferrable Skills and Career Readiness event on March 27 at 4 pm (registration information is forthcoming). If you are passionate about helping your peers through their academic and career journey, consider applying for the CCD & ERC Student Ambassador position (deadline is March 12). If you are looking to make connections with fellow Terriers and spark conversations about the human experience, join the Howard Thurman Center’s Book Club (every Tuesday from 4-5 pm). The Spring 2023 book is Weightless: Making Space for My Resilient Body and Soul by Evette Dionne. Lastly, please note the annual Global Programs Photo Contest is March 20-31, 2023, and the theme this year is Global Engagement. Submitting your Global Engagement-themed photos (up to 3!) is a great way to showcase how you have engaged globally during this past year, here in Boston or anywhere around the world! In the Employment in the U.S. section, BU alum Lifu Zhang (CAS’22, ENG’22), shares advice on his path to his current position as a Software Engineer at Google. In Culture Corner, International Student Programming Assistant Doga Sevgi shares her tips for crafting professional emails.

We wish everyone good luck with any mid-term projects and exams!


someone burying their head in a book

Howard Thurman Center Book Club

The HTC Book Club uses literature to spark thoughtful conversations about the human experience, discussing topics like culture, identity, and belonging. The Spring 2023 book is Weightless: Making Space for My Resilient Body and Soul by Evette Dionne- a collection of essays with connecting themes. Book club is every Tuesday, from 4-5 pm in the Gathering Space. All books are provided by the HTC.

More Information
students collaborating at a whiteboard

Career Resources for International Students

The Center for Career Development offers a variety of tools and resources to help you get ready for your career. From self-reflection exercises to choose your major, to understanding your career type (there are 5 career types!), to improving your interviewing skills, the CCD can be an invaluable resource for international students at BU.

More information
cartoon hockey figure

Global Programs Photo Contest

The annual Global Programs Photo Contest is March 20 through March 31, 2023, and the theme is Global Engagement. All students are eligible to submit up to three photos. For a full description of the contest, prizes and submission guidelines please see the contest page.

Your BU. Your Voice. We'd Like a Word. Yours.

Paid Leadership Opportunity

The CCD & ERC Student Ambassador Program is looking for undergraduate student leaders who are passionate about helping their peers through their academic and career journey. Ambassadors plan events, run programs, lead workshops, collaborate with professional staff, manage social media accounts, and more. The Application deadline is March 12.

More information

Employment in the U.S.

lifu Zhang

A Word from Students

BU alum, Lifu Zhang (CAS’22, ENG’22) reflects on his time at BU and shares advice on his path to his current position as a Software Engineer at Google.

Read the Full Story

Culture Corner

Advice for Crafting Professional Emails

Written by Doğa Sevgi, International Student Programming Assistant

Being part of a community of scholars means you will need to reach out to the professionals, whether in your institution or outside, through emails. You might know how to approach the professionals in person settings but crafting emails can be tricky when you are starting off. There are some things you should be aware of before pressing “send” on that email but don’t worry, we are here to help.

Keeping the Subject Line Short

Even before starting your email, you should think about a short but meaningful subject line. Your subject line will indicate the general premise of your email and prepare the audience for the rest. Rethink your past experiences and how you chose to open or not open the emails depending on their subject line. It goes the same way when you are the one writing the email. It doesn’t only help the audience understand what it will be about but also allows them to sort through their own emails depending on the subject.

Addressing the Audience

Writing an email to a college professor or a company is different from writing an email to a high school teacher. You would need to approach significantly more professionally. Starting off with “Hi” or “Hello” (especially if this is the initial email) could be risky. Instead, one of the options below would be better:

  • Dear (name) Professor
  • To whom it may concern – for when you don’t know who will respond
  • Dear (title)

These are good options to consider if you are the one reaching out to someone in a higher position than you. Depending on how they start their email you can change the addressing to “Hi (name) Professor”.

Keep to the Main Points

When you are writing the paragraph, keep in mind that the person reading the email might be on a time crunch so instead of telling them unnecessary information, try to stick to the main points. If not needed in the context, there is no need to explain every minor detail and thought process leading up to your final point of question. Another aspect to eliminate unnecessary information is to avoid run-on sentences. Focusing on writing shorter sentences will allow you to eliminate unnecessary information, repetition, and keep the attention on what answer you are looking for / what message you want to convey.

Usage of Emojis and Abbreviations (or lack of)

You should not use emojis in your emails. Although it may seem like you are being genuine or sincere, it gives off the impression that you are not professional or can be. Even though you are fully capable of taking the responsibilities you have, it would push people to not take you seriously going forward. This goes along with writing in abbreviations. To keep sounding professional you would need to fully type out the words unless it is a location well-known like the GSU.

Usage of Active Voice

While writing your email, it would be preferable to use active voice. Active voice will emphasize the person doing the verb mentioned in the sentence and not draw attention away from what is important. Some examples include:

  • I completed the given task.
  • The professor announced the grades.
  • The group presented the project on Tuesday.

Although passive voice could be beneficial in some cases, most of the time the subject is expected to be the emphasis of a topic, therefore, expected to be drawn attention to.

Signing Off Professionally

After writing your email you would want to sign off. There are some simple ways of signing of, from more casual to more professional, including:

  • Best,
  • Thank you,
  • Best regards,
  • Kind regards,

All of the above should be followed with a full name. At times it might be beneficial to add your class section for the professor to find related information better targeted towards you. If this is for a work email you could add your job title, the line below your name. You could also create personalized signatures through the Gmail settings section where you wouldn’t have to type the signature every email, but have it added automatically.

Although there is no one way of crafting a professional email, there are still some basic steps that can guide you. Following these steps will allow you to sound professional, save time for your audience, and overall provide better communication between the parties.

The Compass

There are over 250 academic, housing, community, and employment resources currently on the Compass and each issue we will highlight two.