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Will I still feel part of my University if I am an international student?

I will be attending Graduate School in either Ireland or the UK this fall, as an international student I am nervous about not feeling part of my University as much as I did when I attended an Undergraduate course in the US. Will my status as an international student make it harder to feel completely integrated in my University's student culture? #gradschool #international #abroad #integration #student #college #student-affairs #college-student

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Teresa’s Answer

Hi Suzy,

As a former international student in the States, I can tell you that I didn't feel I wasn't part of my school.

There are several things that may help you feel more connected with your University culture.

  1. International student office - great place to get started and learn your campus. They have all sorts of information to guide you through your days there for sure
  2. Join student clubs - you'll feel like you are part of a big family and that helps to increase your sense of belonging
  3. Participate in school events - take sports game for instance, when you are in the arena surrounded by schoolmates and you are all cheering for the same team, you will feel a strong school spirit that connects you and the others as well as your University 
  4. Make friends - broaden your circle by hanging out with local students and international students. Local friends will help you get involved with local culture faster. Friends from abroad, like you, will know your hardship and you will support each other and be each others' home away from home
  5. Be open-minded - having a welcoming mindset to accept culture and environment that are foreign to you so you can truly enjoy and be involved in your University

You will be fine :) Good luck.

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Kortnee’s Answer

Hello, Suzy!


I am a higher education professional who has experience working with international students, and international students can have a great experience at their University campus. Please ensure you are visiting the International Student Services at your campus to receive support on immigration advising, employment and other professional development opportunities. I am certain you will love your college experience!

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Ana Isla’s Answer

Hi! Once you get settled, you adapt to the language, you make friends and get used to the culture you'll of course feel part of the University! And then you won't want to leave!

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Justina’s Answer

Push yourself outside of your comfort zone! Make sure to get involved in all types of events and student organizations. I would pick something you're interested in and stick with it and try to engage with the community there. Consistency is key to making sure you can build lasting relationships. Don't just go to attend events, but try to meet at least one new person at every event at least in the beginning. Make plans with that person outside of the event or see what else the person is involved in. If that sounds scary, maybe even start with people in your classes or in your group projects.
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