After spending a lot of time and money to get yourself into an American college level class, it turns out that most classes have been and will be taken remotely. Apart from the real campus, are you worried about losing the opportunities to get involved on campus and experience the American college life? But I will tell you that instead of missing it, you are just experiencing it in a unique way. Here are some tips on how to become an active member in your community.
1. Getting connected
Not meeting in-person does not necessarily mean you cannot get to know new people. When the classes moved to online, clubs and student groups did as well. You may feel uncomfortable to open your camera and jump into a club meeting with a group of people you have never met before. Indeed, the first step forward might be awkward or difficult no matter whether you are taking it online or in person, but it is important and absolutely worth it if later it becomes the beginning of a friendship or leadership experience at your college.
In fact, on the other side, many club organizers are struggling to figure out how to recruit new blood during the quarantine. They probably also have the same awkward feeling when they reach out and advertise their club to students they don’t know (which is you). Remember they are your peers and they have stood in your shoes when they came into the community.
2. Utilizing the college resources
You might wonder where to get the info about the clubs on your campus. Well, the colleges have their own platforms and events to help the clubs advertise themselves. At Bellevue College, the homecoming week at the beginning of each quarter is a traditional time for students to get familiar with the others who are in the similar academic or career path or who share the same interests. The daily FYI emails from the college also help students to catch up with the upcoming events therefore students would not miss any fruitful online workshop happening on that day. Checking the emails sent out from the International Education Office frequently is also a good way for international students to get involved. You may not notice, but school departments were trying to switch to online as quickly as they can and come up with a series of online workshops during the quarantine.
3. Practicing English & Self-Learning
Remote learning has been a challenge for all international students. Many of them have found that now they have much less opportunities to practice English in their everyday life, which causes them to re-think if it is still worth the costly expenses to study abroad. It is true that we hardly have face-to-face conversations because of COVID. However, as mentioned above, you are not losing the opportunities. Instead, you get the chance to learn things in a different way. There are many open online resources platforms such as Coursera. Many high-ranking universities have their lectures open to the public. Without hanging out with friends, you could use that time to enrich yourself with knowledge that is not specialized in your major. It is also a great idea to team up with your friends and encourage each other to stay on track in the course.
4. Apply for a job at your school
Yep, that’s right! Even though the campus is closed, many departments still need student assistants and have paid positions available. For example, the academic tutoring center at Bellevue College has been providing tutoring for most courses at college after the quarantine started. I currently work as a math tutor and as a student assistant at the International Education Office. Working as a staff member will bring you a different perspective of your campus. You could learn how to work cohesively with other staff and student assistants in order to create an interesting online event. Besides, switching the role from student to staff could update you about what is happening in your college community more frequently and make it easier to follow an organized schedule in your daily routine. For example, I have to get myself prepared during the work time and have weekly events to work on. From my own experience in the past few months, working remotely helped me a lot to get through the down time especially when I hadn’t gotten used to the quarantine lifestyle. It gives me a sense of being involved in an American college even after I left the visual class meetings on Zoom.
Hao Liu came to Bellevue College in the fall of 2019. She likes watching sunrise and sunset and exploring different landscapes in the state.