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Arriving in a new country as an international student potentially means that you will be exposed to a wide range of experiences. The tendency to get home-sick is almost guaranteed. The desire to chase your academic goals should not take a hit just because you are ‘far from home’. Therefore, you should look to adopt a viable support system to keep your mind sharp and motivated constantly. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you create the feeling of “home away from home” as an international student.

1. Join University Programs and Organizations

A host of universities offer specialized programs to assist new international students in the adjustment phase. There’s sure to be at least one program or organization that suits your interests or goals. Student mentorship programs where fresh intakes receive quality counsel from experienced mentors also go a long way toward creating a solid support system. Considering the need for cultural adjustment, social integration, and academic advice, you should be looking to explore strategic program options within your institution.

2. Utilize Online Platforms

Online communities are very much a thing now, affording international students a chance to interact with peers from similar or diverse backgrounds. More ethnic or cultural-themed platforms are created regularly on social media spaces like WhatsApp, Facebook, and more. You can make new friends and catch up on vital information via such platforms when you sign up and stay active. The idea is to share experiences, offer opinions on related topics, and bond.

3. Engage in Campus Activities

There will be amazing events, and social activities that will not be hosted by your chosen organization. However, taking up the unique opportunity to attend and leverage such events can boost your sense of belonging. You can make quality connections with new acquaintances at these events. Dinners and movie nights are good examples.

4. Seek Academic Support

International students are very likely to struggle with academic patterns at the onset, including language barriers and nuances in the educational system. Universities usually offer academic support services, such as workshops, tutoring programs, and writing centers. You can take advantage of these resources in a bid to improve your academic performance, consequently setting up a support system. Forming relationships with members of the faculty and academic advisors can also be immensely useful. These individuals can provide guidance on academic matters, career advice, and even personal support. Many universities encourage faculty to act as mentors, helping students navigate their academic journey and adjust to life in a new country

5. Explore the Local Community

Getting to explore the surroundings and understand key elements of the local community can make a place feel like home. The sights and sounds of the area where you dwell as an international student offers a lot of places and things you can check out. A tour, volunteering, or participating at local events will improve your knowledge of the local community. You get to feel more connected, make quality connections, and your sense of belonging is enhanced.

In conclusion, building a support system away from home is essential for international students to thrive in a new country. By putting their time and energy into university programs, utilizing online platforms, and exploring local communities, students can create a network of support that enhances their academic and social experiences. These strategies help in overcoming early social challenges and also enrich the feeling of being “home away from home.”

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