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1 step out of the comfort zone
Chinese students like staying together possibly because they are not confident of their English and do not have much common language to talk with American students. Moreover, Chinese students often choose to be in the same classes, like Math, Economics, and Business. Therefore, they meet more frequently and always do homework together, which leads to fewer chances of getting in touch with Americans.
There’s no doubt that people feel more comfortable with friends from the same culture. This gives them a strong sense of security, especially in a different country, where people often feel lonely. Eventually you will have to step out of the comfort zone so that you can make progress in comprehending English and expand your social network with people of diverse cultures. If you plan on just staying with Chinese students and not getting involved in the diverse atmosphere, you are better off going to a Chinese College with less tuition.
I suggest taking part in more unfamiliar activities, like formal dances, music festival and joining more groups, like sorority or fraternity, not just Chinese students association. You should also pay more attention to American popular culture to acquire more common topics to discuss with Americans. In that way, you can blend in American environment and gain the true value of studying abroad.
2 keep in touch with your parents
After kids go abroad, parents will face the “Empty nest phenomenon”. They can’t adapt to a family without you at first and maybe feel very anxious, lonely and depressed. On the other hand, they will also worry about your health, study, and etc. But even if they miss you so much, they do not want to bother you.
So remember to call your parents frequently and tell them about your current situation to make them relieved. Also, you will feel homesick and lonely being in a different country. At first you will also face many difficulties and setbacks but still remember to contact your parents. Whenever you feel helpless, they will always be there to support you. They will also provide a lot of useful advice but you have to pay attention to the time differences. Make sure not to Wechat them when they are sleeping.
3 manage time well
Homework in American colleges is often shown in the syllabus, which means you can know each deadline of homework at the beginning of the semester. Using an example of writing a 10-page essay, if you are an incurable procrastinator and start working on it three days before the due, it will be really tough for you. Most likely you will stay up late writing through the night to finish the essay.
As we all know, the brain won’t move fast and learning efficiency won’t be high after midnight. Therefore, even if you submit the essay on time, the quality of the essay won’t be great. For the review before midterms and finals, you will suffer from the same situation if you procrastinate. You will even stay overnight in the library to cram every exam.
Actually you can avoid being rushed by working on homework and reviews in advance, maybe a week before. You should make a good time management and push towards yourself, like making a plan and not leaving work behind. Additionally, don't waste so much time in chatting, watching videos, playing games, and etc. because you will regret wasting time before each due date. More importantly, always staying up late will negatively influence your health. In all, please don’t be a procrastinator or a crammer and start working ahead of time.
4 take diverse classes
American colleges do not force you to confirm your major in the first two years. They focus more on general education so that you can determine your major in your junior year. I suggest taking classes in diverse subjects, not just the courses you are interested or major in. You should explore more so that you can know which subject you like most and which one fits you best. Some subjects, like anthropology or philosophy, you probably think is not useful in your future or cannot help you find a job. Unaware that these kinds of social science subjects will challenge your critical thinking and give you the ability to think rigorously and deeply. I hope you try more classes of different subjects in the first two years and you can gain more precious knowledge and make a wise decision of your major.
5 Be independent
Obviously, American colleges are totally different from your previous Chinese schools, which follow the examination-oriented education. In American colleges, professors do not pay much attention and supervision on every individual because undergraduate students have grown up and professors cannot focus on such a big number of students. Therefore, you have to work hard and take cautious actions or you will let your parents down and waste the valuable four years of college. In daily life, no one will help you deal with trivia like buying living goods, cooking, and washing. When you are sick or in any trouble, you have to take care of yourselves and overcome every obstacle. You cannot rely on anyone so you have to be independent, even if it's challenging.