New Year's resolutions are a long-standing tradition for many people in Western countries. The idea is that the new year brings new opportunities for self improvement. This could mean any range of things from trying to eat healthier to mastering a new hobby. Whatever your personal goal, the first day of the new year is a clean slate - an opportunity to try new things and better yourself.

A resolution might sound silly, but a study on resolutions found that people who write down their goals and make it a point to look at it every day are actually ten times more likely to stick with it and accomplish new things. So, if you want to take part in a tradition that has a long and storied history, here are five New Year's resolutions that are perfect for international students.

  1. Meet a New Person Every Week

Being in a new country and on a new campus can be intimidating. However, one of the most rewarding parts of being an international student is making new friends and building a strong network of students from all over the world. Make it a point in the new year to introduce yourself to one new person each week. This way, meeting new people becomes easier and easier, and you'll begin creating a great network of people that you can keep in contact with even after graduation.

  1. Become Fluent in Another Language

One of the more difficult aspects of being an international student can be learning a new language well enough to be fluent and hold a conversation. Practicing language skills is a great New Year's resolution for international students because it's useful and it will benefit you hugely in your academics. Make it a point to speak the local language in all of your conversations with other students to get used to speaking and understanding the language. Also, find time to study the language every day - whether that's through the use of free language apps like Duolingo or practicing common words with flashcards or workbooks.

  1. Read a New Book Every Month

Reading books has so many practical benefits, it's impossible to list them all. For starters, reading books can improve your ability to memorize things and it expands your vocabulary. It also helps you improve your concentration (a helpful skill to have while studying!) and helps you gain better analytical thinking skills. For international students, it can be even more useful. Books by native authors can help you understand your host country's local culture and traditions, as well as helping improve language reading skills. So why not make reading a new book every month a New Year's resolution? To help you get started, here's a list of NPR's 5 best global books of 2016 and an overall list of the best books of 2016.

  1. Explore Your Host Country

Travel is one of the greatest benefits of studying abroad as an international student. Living and studying in a new country offers up a ton of travel opportunities - even if it's just a quick local road trip. There's almost always a close city to explore by plane, train, bus, or car. If you're studying in a large city, take time each week to experience different neighborhoods. Try new foods; visit local parks and museums (many of which offer free and discounted entry to students); and seek out local historical sites to get a better understanding of the history of your new home.

  1. Participate in New Cultural Activities and Holidays

Finally, make a resolution to really experience and surround yourself in the cultural traditions of the country in which you're studying. Attend local fairs and participate in holiday celebrations to immerse yourself in the local culture. This is a great way to learn about new cultures, and also a great way to meet new people and explore your campus and the surrounding city.

Go to our blogs page for more helpful advice for international students.