What to Think About Once Enrolled on Campus as a Master’s Student

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What to Think About Once Enrolled on Campus as a Master’s Student

Studying abroad can be positive and life-changing. It can open doors to opportunities you didn’t know existed. If you are enrolled in an international program, you have already done the research and filled out the paperwork required of international students. Before you jet off to begin the next phase of your education, there are some things to consider that can help make the experience fulfilling and memorable.

  • Orientation and Student Services

    Orientation week is the first week of the first semester. You will become familiar with the campus, courses and professors. The pace can be frantic and filled with stress as this is when you learn which buildings your classes are in and the best way to get there. It is also the perfect time to get out of your dorm room and participate in activities around campus. Making friends and being involved in the community can stave off homesickness and help you feel comfortable in your new environment. Be prepared for the hectic pace and know that it does get easier very quickly. The International Student Services department provides each student with an advisor. They are ready to help with a variety of concerns, from visa and immigration issues to course registration, financial aid, career advice and counseling. Becoming familiar with the services offered by this department can help you settle into campus life faster and get the most from your time here.

  • Campus Security

    When studying abroad, even mundane everyday activities like moving around campus, eating in the dining halls and attending classes may feel somewhat unfamiliar. As you learn your way around, there are some precautions you can take to give you the confidence to explore your new environment. Find out if the school has its own security or police department and get the contact information.Learn the school’s emergency preparedness plan so that you understand what to do in the event of an emergency.Ensure you know how the school contacts students in emergency situations.Sign up for crime alerts or notifications from local or campus police. Knowing where to go in an emergency and understanding how security works on school grounds can help you stay safe and informed. Learning the area is crucial if you have accommodations off campus. Find out if there are safe places to go in an emergency and if there is a way to stay updated on the crime rate and locations in your neighborhood.

  • Culture Shock

    Even if you have traveled to different regions and countries of the world, you still may experience culture shock. It can be detrimental to your life and schoolwork. Understanding what it is and knowing the symptoms before you leave home can help you work through it if and when it occurs. Recognizing the symptoms quickly enables you to get past them so you can make the most of your time abroad. Individuals who have experienced culture shock often describe it as being in a fog. Symptoms include: LonelinessSudden and unexpected anger or resentmentChanges in moodDepressionSelf-doubt/insecurityExcessive or lack of sleepPreoccupation with healthFeelings of being lost These feelings are normal. Support from school advisors, friends and family can help ease the transition as you settle into your life in the US. The school wants you to be successful, and support can come in many forms. Orientation sessions sponsored by the Admissions Office or International Student Office can help you become acquainted with your surroundings. There will be other students there who may be having similar difficulties. Knowing that you are not alone can help you feel more at ease. Keep in touch with friends and family back home, whether it’s through email, text or phone. Talking about your day and experiences with those who understand and care about you can reduce some of the stress. Maintain some of the habits or activities that you have at home, such as regular exercise or watching your favorite sports teams. Although they may feel “Americanized,” it will be something familiar. This can help combat the stress of living in a new environment.

  • Internships

    If you are looking for a fun experience that is also productive and lucrative, consider applying for an internship. There is a fair bit of paperwork, but the results are rewarding. Make sure you have the right work visa to ensure you can participate in the program. This is an opportunity to network with peers and learn what working in a business environment is like in the US. Here are some tips for participating in internships: Contact the International Student Services Office to get the requirements and a list of firms that are looking for international interns. Regulations often change from one year to the next, and they will have the most up-to-date information. Know what topics and areas interest you the most. As the internship may be counted as part of the one year towards Optional Practical Training time, you should use it wisely. Focus on the elements of your degree where you would like to expand your knowledge. Once in the program, ask questions about anything and everything to help you learn as much as you can in the time you have. Most organizations are happy to have enthusiastic participants and full-time employees enjoy sharing their knowledge. This also makes a good impression that can be beneficial if you apply for a position after graduation.

  • Sandwich Programs

    If you are looking for a combination of practical work experience and educational curriculum, sandwich courses may be the ideal fit. These degree programs include a specific period studying abroad orworking in an industry related to your degree. Employers regard this as an excellent way to gain new skills and use existing knowledge. Developing and building a personal network is vital in business relationships. Sandwich programs enable you to make industry contacts. If you perform your duties well, they can recommend you for future positions and put you in touch with others in their network that may be beneficial in your career. There are two types of sandwich programs. Thin sandwich courses are usually part of a three-year degree. Work and study are undertaken throughout the program, often in six-month placements.Thick sandwich courses are typically selected for four-year degrees. Schooling is the focus for the first two years. A 12-month work placement or study abroad opportunity occurs in year three; then it’s back to university for the fourth year. The school you have chosen should have information in its prospectus or on its website describing which courses are offered and the types of opportunities that are available. For vocational degree programs, the hands-on knowledge and skills acquired enable you to gain experience, preparing for life after school. In study-abroad programs, improved language skills and an understanding of another culture can be invaluable. Both programs have results that businesses find favorable.

  • Career Opportunities

    The US can be an excellent place for career opportunities if you understand what to look for and when. States with a large population base and those that have international corporations headquartered there are often diverse. Many such organizations have the resources and business need for foreign workers. If you are attending a school in one of these states, it may be easier to find a job after graduation. The process of hiring international students is complex, and it can be time-consuming. Talk with the career planning office at the school early in your program to find out when you should start looking, and where. Here are a few things to consider when deciding to apply for a job abroad: Optional Practical Training programs enable you to get on-the-job experience in your area of study for up to one year after graduation. Companies don’t need to pay additional fees to employ when hiring students through this program, and the experiences will be useful throughout your career.Volunteer, participate in events and meet professionals in the industry you wish to work. It is imperative that you build your network. Browse the job boards before heading into your senior year to see what positions are available and their requirements. Apply for jobs that you find appealing. This can help you become acquainted with expectations, and you can get some experience interviewing.Look for contract jobs that are up to a year in length. While most employers prefer long-term employees, contractors are often hired for short periods of time. Contracts help you get experience and decide if you like the work before you, and the employer, commit to a long-term situation.

  • Stay Connected

    Consistent, clear communication with those around you is vital to your success. Maintaining contact with faculty and staff can help you stay on track with finances, career opportunities and grades. Keeping in touch with friends and family at home can help relax and comfort you. Studying abroad can be an adventure. Meeting people and learning new skills in unfamiliar surroundings broadens your knowledge and gives you breadth of experience that is appealing to employers. SchoolApply supplies detailed information to help you find a school that fits your career goals as well as your budget. With access to more than 5,000 universities in our network, we can help you achieve your academic aspirations.

Levels Explained

  • Bachelor's

    A bachelor's degree (also called a first degree or undergraduate degree) is attained after receiving a post-secondary (high school) education and generally spans four years. Students pursuing these types of degrees are commonly referred to as bachelor or undergraduate students. A bachelor's degree is usually offered at an institution of higher education, such as a university.

  • Master's

    A master’s degree (or postgraduate or graduate education) involves learning and studying for academic or professional degrees. This degree is preceded by a bachelor’s degree and generally takes two years to complete. Students pursuing these types of degrees are commonly referred to as master's, or grad students.

  • Pathway

    Bachelor’s and master’s pathway programs are designed for international students who need additional English language and academic preparation before continuing to a degree program at a university. The purpose of these programs are to give students the confidence and skills needed to succeed in college.