Tips for New International Dons

KateThe following was written by Kate Xiaotian Zhang, the Supplemental Instruction Graduate Intern. 

Kate comes from Northern China. She earned her bachelor’s degree in China and she graduated from the University of San Francisco with a master’s degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) in 2015. She supports USF undergraduate students who work as Supplemental Instruction Leaders. As a student of education, Kate has a strong passion for helping students to become independent and confident learners. In her spare time, she loves reading, jogging, cooking Chinese food, watching movies, and traveling.


Tips for New International Dons

Studying and living in a new country, a new culture can be intimidating to anyone. The very first thing you need to learn is that you are not alone. You are not the only one who is going through this process, and you do not need to overcome this all by yourself. This blog is going to help new undergraduate international students to go through this process smoothly and quickly.

Campus Life

  • The first thing you need to do is to go to all your orientations.

There are usually two significant orientations for international students, one is held by your program or department, and the other one is held by the International student center (it’s called ISSS here at USF). A lot of important information will be shared on those orientations. Check your school email box all the time to make sure you do not miss any orientation.

  • Join a student association or club.

A fast and good way to know more people and make friends is to join a student association based on your personal interests. Pay attention to the various flyers on the wall, you can always find something useful and attractive to you.

  • Check on the school main page at least one time per week.

The university will hold various activities every week. Mark the one that interests you and go. This is a good opportunity to get involved in school activities and make connections with your classmates and faculty members.

Academic Life

  • Make appointments with the Learning, Writing, and Speaking center.

The university offers various academic support to all students. Take advantage of the free and quality resources on campus.

  • Make a regular meeting schedule with your advisor or academic coach.

Meet with your advisor or academic coach regularly to make sure you are on track during the whole semester, and also make plans for the next semester.

  • Go to your professors’ office hours.

Your professor’s office hours is a good time to ask personal questions concerning your lectures and your grade in this class.

  • Group Study

In America, collaborative learning is very popular and encouraged by many professors. Sometimes, you need to work with your classmates to finish an assignment together. Group study is a good way to improve your learning and promote the relationships between you and your classmates.

Starting a new life in a foreign country is not an easy thing no matter for who, so give yourself enough time to adjust. Don’t hide away in your dorm, go outside, meet new people, and try new things. Have fun and live your own life! Bon Voyage!