3. General Adjustment Tips

For many first-time students, a study abroad experience may be their first experience living away from home for an extended period of time. It is a definite break from home. The individuals’ usual sources of support are not longer present to facilitate adjustment to the unfamiliar environment. Her are tips for students which may provide realistic expectations concerning living arrangements and social life on campus. In addition, students may benefit from information concerning resources available to them at our office.

The first few weeks on campus can be a lonely period. There may be concerns about forming friendships. When new students look around, it may  seem that everyone else is self-confident and socially successful. The reality is that everyone is having the same concerns.

If they allow sufficient time, students usually find peers in the university to provide structure and a valuable support system in the new environment. The important thing for the student to remember in meeting new people is to be oneself.

Meaningful, new relationships should not be expected to develop overnight. It took a great deal of time to develop intimacy in high school friendships; the same will be true of intimacy in university friendships.

Increased personal freedom can feel both wonderful and frightening. Students can come and go and they choose with no one to “hassle” them. At the same time, things are no longer predictable. The strange environment with new kinds of procedures and new people can create the sense of being on an emotional roller-coaster. This is normal and to be expected.

Living with the other international students on campus can present special, sometimes intense, problems. Negotiating respect of personal property, personal space, sleep, and relaxation needs can be a complex task. The complexity increases when dorm maters and roommates are of difference ethnic/cultural backgrounds with very difference values.

Communicating one’s legitimate needs calmly, listening with respect to others’ concerns, and being willing to compromise to meet each other’s most important needs can promote resolution of issues.

It is unrealistic to expect that all international students will be best friends. The reality is that most tend to have this or her own circle of friends.

Payap University classes may or may not be a great deal more difficult than classes you have taken before. In general, there may be more reading assignments, and the exams and papers cover a greater amount of material. Instructors expect students to do more work outside the classroom. In order to survive, the student must take responsibility for his or her actions. This means the student needs to follow the course outlines and keep up with the readings. The student must do the initiating. If a class is missed, it is up to the student to borrow lecture notes from someone who was present. If the student is having difficulty with course work, he or she needs to ask for help – ask to do extra work, request an appointment with an academic advisor, or sign up for tutoring or other academic-skills training.

International Student Support Services and Student Activities provide individual counseling to students experiencing difficulty in adjusting to university life. among the most common concern students bring to our office are: low self-confidence; finding, enhancing, or ending a relationship; getting along with others; puzzling or distressing emotional states,; family problems; self-defeating behaviors; controlling use of alcohol  and drugs; life purpose and direction; and career decision-making.

Consultation with our office is an opportunity for the student to describe personal concerns and what he or she hopes to gain from counseling. If Support Services or Student Activities seem to offer the most appropriate services, the student may decide to continue counseling and meet regularly to work on his or her concerns. If appropriate, the student will be introduced to other resources, on or offer campus, which can offer different services from those available at Payap [University].