As international students at schools in a foreign land, it is unsurprising to find ourselves in awkward and challenging social situations, from which the only extrication possible has to be self-driven. Making friends doesn’t come naturally to everybody, and that’s okay. It is an increasingly testy and time-consuming task to fit in with a more culturally diverse but self-sufficiently distant people that the academically focused population can be, regardless of the nation that it’s based in.
Naturally, itthus becomes a valid concern to find any way you can to socialize and in the grander scheme of things, become a cog of the well-oiled machine that a modest number of people might argue college to be:
Greek life: Greek life isn’t for everybody, but those who dapple in it find themselves loving this concept more and more every day. The typical image of a person who engages in Greek activities is that of a “party animal,” a linguistic label that is an appalling falsification of what Greek life is and can potentially be, from charitable and non-profit enterprises to academic focus groups and much more. Despite all that, Greek life is also a stellar way of making friendships that will go beyond just your college days. After all, “brothers” and “sisters” are for life, so you better not forget that if you ever considering joining a fraternity or a sorority.
Residential/teaching assistantships: The importance of an assistantship cannot be overstated even with the biggest words of praise. A great cost-cutter, these assistantships will immerse you in a socially interactive culture and foster in you skills that will assume supreme importance in your life in the imminent future. The duties delegated to you will push your boundaries, but the friends you make during the whole experience will be a set of individuals you can bank on to come to your rescue any time of any day.
Get a job: Apply for a job wherever a job is available to you. The university authorities can tell you how many hours you are allowed to work on campus without being seen as an illegal. I urge you with well-founded conviction, however, to disregard the needlessness of working 6-8 hours a week, considering that you might be spending money in more critical proportions already and find a job that appeals to you even minimally. It is a great stepping stone to becoming cost-effective, self-aware, socially involved, and even saving up some extra cash for dream vacations (which is the case with me) or any other recreational purposes.
Join clubs/organizations: Almost all universities, and especially all the big schools, have countless clubs of recreational, academic and social nature, and the only problem that you should have in a perfect world, is that there’s too many of them that interest you. They are a blessing in finding people who share your interests and can enhance your understandings of subjects you might have only scratched the surface of.
So is it photography that preoccupies you in your downtime? Love of food that gets your undivided attention? Playing Super Smash Bros. when you’re too bored of the mundane life? Or would you rather just read poetry when you can’t seem to find other things to do? Once you find that out, be unafraid to join clubs/organizations that bolsters your passion for any or all of these things. In summation: BE INVOLVED.