Preparing for a Successful Academic Journey Abroad
1. Cost of studies and cost of living
The cost of living in the U.S. can be high. Aside from the cost of studies, be sure to research the cost of living in the area where you plan to study and plan your finances accordingly. Expenses such as rent, utilities, food, and supplies have to be considered — factor them into your budget.
Going to and from school will require either having a car or using public transportation. Choose a school that is easily accessible. I chose Evergreen Valley College (EVC) due to its close proximity to where I live. Buses directly stop at the campus, and the mall and grocery store are just one ride away.
Adjusting to a new culture can be challenging. Prepare yourself and be open-minded to different cultures. Saying hi to the person next in line at a grocery or telling a student how nice their backpack is in the U.S. is totally normal. At EVC, I’m able to learn from the vibrant and diverse cultures on campus from American culture, Vietnamese culture, Indian culture, and many others.
4. Student Life
As an international student aside from academics, extracurricular and social activities will complete the experience of studying in the U.S. Be sure to make new friends and enjoy time both in and out of school. Research the student community of the school and see which clubs and activities you can join. EVC has a number of student clubs and organizations that you can join, from the international club, gaming club, and special programs. Access to sports facilities such as pickleball, tennis, and basketball courts is free.
5. Academic & Wellness Support
Studying in a new country will take some adjustment. Research the academic and wellness support the school provides. Choose a school that puts in the extra effort to make sure you succeed as an international student not only academically, but holistically. One of the things that I appreciate about EVC is that the teachers, staff and students, are incredibly supportive and care about your well-being and success. The school provides free services such as tutoring, academic advising, mental health counseling, and career services. Students also get access to the free food pantry and get free fresh food from the farmers market.
Find EVC’s International Students Association on Instagram at @evc.isa.sj.
Mark Ilano is an international student at Evergreen Valley College (EVC) pursuing Health Science. He has a passion for traveling, learning about other cultures, seeking out culinary adventures and is a huge animal and plant lover. Mark selected EVC due to its program offering, location, and outstanding student support services that help him succeed holistically.
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