One of the most fundamental things a student must do when studying abroad is to integrate herself into society. Being an international student is not a cakewalk. You are placed in an alien setting in which you are expected to secure academic scores, understand the culture, and thrive as a human. All of these require us to integrate ourselves into society. You cannot be a spectator throughout your time there; you will have to socialize. Things become much better and easier to handle as we begin to understand the world around us through the eyes of the locals—and for that, socialization is imperative.
A gamut of things could be done to interact and understand locals and other international communities around you. We are going to stick to a few of them for the purpose of this article. Over here, you will read about 5 things that help you socialize effectively.
- Know Your Campus Well
Yes, you might wonder how this helps in interacting. It does because it allows you to map the area where you will spend most of your time. Exploring the campus would give you an idea of where student activity is most frequent, where you should go for assistance, where you can seek quietude and whatnot. While doing so, you will also come across information of associations or clubs, if any, being operated on the college campus. For example, in my university, there used to be low-key poetry sessions every weekend and I could have only known about them through exploration. So, explore as much as you can. Know your ground.
- Join clubs or associations
It is quite likely that your university runs clubs or associations. The purpose of these clubs or associations (let us just call them ‘clubs’) is to encourage extra-curricular activities that shape skills and organizational qualities. All kinds of clubs are generally operational in universities: newspaper club, journal club, moot court club, cultural club, Karate club, archery club, etc. If you become a member of any of these clubs, you will get an excellent opportunity to know your juniors, peers, and seniors closely. Regular discussions are arranged in these clubs that can strengthen your inter-personal relationships, and you might end up finding great friends.
- Be approachable
One of the major reasons why many international students struggle to integrate into society is because they are themselves very reserved or hesitant to take initiative. Face it, nobody can read your mind and you will have to make yourself approachable so that they can help. To socialize effectively, one must be willing to set aside her assumptions and beliefs and put some effort to adjust. Cultural differences, often, play a role in ineffective socialization; but, you cannot have your way every time. Just accept the differences and learn to adapt. The more approachable you are, the better you will adapt. The better you adapt, the easier your experiences will be as an international student.
- Strengthen your relationships with professors
Socialization is not just about making friends; it is also about making solid formal relationships. You should maintain your relationship with professors at university. They can not only provide you with educational advice but can also offer assistance in dealing with pressures of life that are not necessarily academic. When you are away from your home, you might miss the supervision of experienced humans around you. These professors have been where you are and can help you, both professionally and personally, to deal with life as an international student.
- Meet people outside the university
There is a much bigger world awaiting you beyond the boundaries of the university campus. Exploring the outside can throw avenues to socialize and make acquaintances, if not friends. Participate in local events such as festivals or fests of other universities, schedule meet-ups with like-minded individuals, and go on heritage walks. Of course, keep in mind your safety before anything else. But, other than that, you should not hesitate in going out and engaging in public life. For example, working part-time is also an opportunity to keep yourself socially engaged, though it is also a taxing activity. But, you get the point!