Advice from Current International Students
The information below is advice for current Texas Tech International Students. These students are our 2020-2021 Global Guides. They are volunteers, who work year long as a friendly face and mentor to incoming international students.
" The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to not be afraid or ashamed to ask for help when you need it. This is a mistake I made when I first got to Texas Tech. No matter how smart or emotionally strong you might be, there will come a time in college when you struggle with a class, get homesick, or feel burned out/low. When this happens, know that what you are feeling is completely valid and try to look at it as a learning experience. Remember that closed mouths don't get fed and that talking about these struggles or asking for help does not make you weak if anything it makes you self-aware and mature. ~ Shailesh (India)
"Lubbock is not a typical good first-impression city that I think of, but I find it more and more attractive as I live here longer. It is a city with a warm heart and open arms. It is vibrant and blooming with opportunities, yet at the same time, a very tight community. Be confident, be real, and be nice to people and you will find so many friends. One thing that you might want to consider is to get a driver's license because this city is designed for driving. If you can't get a license, that is ok because you can carpool with people and that makes you friends with each other really fast! There are a lot of good restaurants in Lubbock and going out with friends is a great way to build relationships. Bring a pair of rain boots and you will thank me in spring. Bring your favorite hometown snacks, they will bring you familiarity in a foreign country and give you a little taste of home. Lastly, be ready to be challenged! Don't worry, because there are a lot of people who care about you here and we've all got your back! You are going to be just fine 😉" ~ Yufei (China)
"Going to a big university like Tech might be scary for many people, at least it was for me. However, one of the things I love the most about Tech is how friendly the students and faculty are. Most people here will help you as long as you are willing to put yourself out there and ask questions. As soon as I realized that I was not the only afraid to talk to pople, I was able to be more open and to meet plenty of amazing people from all over the world. Tech is the perfect place to learn about other cultures without having to travel miles away. It is very diverse, and you will get to meet so many unique people and have a unique experience. My advice, keep an open mind, don't be scared to engage people, and enjoy this experience."
~ Rozenn (Gabon)
"Coming from across the world, I did go through a transition, a culture shock, a learning experience and, entered into a new world all together, definitely! As an individual, I would like to call myself an outspoken person who wouldn't refrain from talking to anyone and would make friends easily. Out of a lot of blessings in my life, I think this has been of a huge help, here in the United States for me. I talk to many people and love networking. Additionally, I am open to possibilities that life has thrown out on me in the form of the change in climate, people, culture, food & countries, and I have embraced them beautifully. This is a little bit of advice that I would love for our incoming international students to have from me!
So glad y'all are here and Good Luck for your future! Wreck 'em! " ~ Gourav (India)
"If there was one thing I would advise anyone coming into the U.S based on my experience, it would be to keep an open mind. Be willing to try the food, meet new people, and most importantly, explore. You have been granted an opportunity of a lifetime and you must use this opportunity wisely! Go for the games, try the weird-looking dish, speak to the intimidating person beside you, because, at the end of the day, this will all make up the college experience you can look back on later in the future! Never forget that there are so many people rooting for you; the struggle you have today was the struggle of someone else yesterday so remain inquisitive- ALWAYS ASK QUESTIONS, because from here, it really is possible." ~ Ebere (Nigeria)
Something I wish I had known before coming to the US is 'don't be shy and to get involved'. Usually, extra-curricular activities are not given enough weightage in the education system of most countries and that develops a misconception that participating in extracurricular activities can interfere with one's academic performance. However, after coming to the US I realized that the more you get involved with the communities around you, the more you will grow as a person — academically and professionally. I would have never been able to develop some of the skills that I cherish and that I am proud of if it weren't for the organizations that I've been a part of since my freshman year. Moreover, I believe that my involvement has helped me build several meaningful relationships with people whom I look up to.
TLDR: Get involved from day one. ~ Shreyesh (India)
Raiderland is full of opportunities, and is a great place to learn, contribute and have new experiences. Texas Tech University and Lubbock has a lot to offer. While learning and excelling in studies should be your major focus, I would like to use this column to tell you a little about how to get engaged. In the first few weeks as an international student, it's very easy to fall in the home-sickness trap or starting to feel lonely. A lot of students ask me about how to be engaged and make friends. While sociale nature really varies depending on the person, being in a foreign land tends to make you more introverted than you are. Fight it! Tech has an enormous number of events going on around the welcome week and throughout the semester. Be a part of them. The athletic events are free to students. Go be a part of the football, basketball, soccer, or many other games. Tech also has many organizations and I am sure you will find some that suit your taste. It's easy to get home from classes and just take a nap in your cozy dorm room. Don't Get out. And you'll be surprised by what Tech has to offer.
Bonus: Look out for the First Friday art trail. Taking place the first Friday of every month. it is the place to be, art lover or not. There are food trucks, live music, dance, and a lot of people! Try to be there once this pandemic is over! ~ Pratyush (India)
Moving to a new city is scary as it is let alone a whole new country with a different culture. After 4 years of being in Lubbock, I have learned a lot. For incoming students, I would recommend the following:
· Keep an open mind: When arriving in the States it is an important key to be able to adapt to different lifestyles so as to understand the culture and traditions here. Be open to experiencing new adventures and holidays. Don't be scared!
· Ask Questions: While processes might be different than what you are used to, don't be afraid to ask questions. Lubbock and Texas Tech especially are very friendly and always willing to help in whatever way possible. Asking questions will always help direct you in the proper way and make a smoother transition and living here in the United States.
· Answer Questions: Being a part of a new environment and culture might get people's attention. You are now an advocate for your country, culture, traditions, and even religion. Don't hold back from sharing who you are and where you come from. Don't hold back from answering questions in fear of “what people might think”. Many are interested in our cultures and traditions, so be open to questions, and inform as many as you can.
· Find a Balance: While your main purpose is education, keep a balance in your life. Stay on top of schoolwork yet also have fun and be active with organizations and attending events at TTU or Lubbock. This is where you will create many connections that will lead to friendships. Friends will make your stay here less lonely and more fun! Also, they could help a lot when needed.
My last piece of advice, yet the most important, is to take one step at a time. Everything will be okay, and you will be successful. Don't overburden yourself with too many thoughts at once. ~ Raneem (Lebanon/USA)
"If I could tell my old self one thing having just started college, I would probably say one word: DO. As an incoming student, I feel I did not completely do justice to myself. I did make some friends with people in my class and some outside that realm but one thing I think I should have done more is say "yes". When someone asks you to join them for lunch, say yes. When someone offers to drive you somewhere, say yes. When your roommate repeatedly asks you to go camping, say just one thing, YES!
As an international student trying to maintain your scholarship is hard, but that shouldn't stop you from getting outside your room and spending time doing things apart from studying. As an engineering student, I mean it when I say college classes are hard but try to manage your work. Having a good work-life balance is one of the most important things in college and something to maintain throughout your whole adult life. One of my friends actually told me something that I didn't understand as well then as I do now. He told me " bro, one day you'll realize that you don't need to study this much and you're doing something wrong." I dismissed his saying because he was a 22-year-old study abroad student of political science who was just attending TTU for one semester. About two semesters later I found out what he meant by "doing wrong". Having a strong passion for your field is one thing and overkilling your time with studies and missing out on the other aspects of college is another.
So coming back to my advice, I would encourage each and every one of you to fully expose yourself to college life. Try to go out with people, try to hang out with your friends, and try to say yes more often. When someone asks you to join them for something try to get to know them better and have a good time. Join a society, a club, or even greek life. Go to the library, go to the gym, go join someone for lunch or dinner. Get that internship or job that you were looking out for, get involved in the research. Just go out there and live your dreams. Overworking yourself is not good, get to know your boundaries and manage your time better. YOLO is not true because a wise man said you only die once you live every day.
Now, I am not saying to abandon all social distancing protocols during COVID, you can definitely still do some of these things even in this environment. I know it can be a little bit difficult but promise me that you will try."
*cue Rocky music* ~ Aditya (India)
Being a graduate student means you don't just take classes but also engage in being either a Teaching Assistant or a Research Assistant. That involves working with different networks of people within the University (undergrad students, graduate students, faculty, and staff). To be prepared for any challenge I strongly recommend using the resources around the University to ensure the chance of success in your academic life. The main resources I recommend are, the University Writing Center and the University Career Center. The first will give you the opportunity to improve your writing and reading skills for studying or crafting your papers as well as any other written document you need like e-mails, letters, and presentations. The University Career Center, is also important. At the end of your undergraduate life when you need to prepare yourself to get an internship or a job to comply with the Optional Practical Training (OPT) requirement. They will also help you get an idea of how the job market in the US is and help you improve your interview and job-finding skills.
Texas Tech offers great resources to help you succeed in your endeavors especially as a student and I strongly recommend you use them because it will make your life so much easier. Finally, I would encourage you to use the Library, there is a lot of stuff to do there not just academic but also fun! Did you know we have a Virtual Reality Lab there? It is amazing, also there are a variety of services such as 3D printing, camera, laptops, and other devices rentals. ~ Pablo (Venezuela)
"Do you know that feeling of excitement in you get whenever someone expresses interest
in your culture, traditions, or history? That feeling of being unique, exotic, and
interesting at the moment? Well, guess what, Americans can feel that too!
We should be grateful that we got to experience multiple cultures and the pleasure of being able to share those cultures with others, so why not help others in experiencing that too?
I noticed that many foreign international students feel that they already know enough about the US culture (with all its proliferating media) and thus don't feel the need to be inquisitive about it after coming to the States. I too made the mistake at scoffing at the phrase "the US is just 50 countries masquerading as one" but in a way it truly is.
Basically what I am trying to say is you can make many friends and learn a lot not only by expressing interest in people's (especially American's) culture and traditions but also extending that interest to their hobbies and personality.
Talk to people with the intent of knowing more about them than they about you but the end of the conversation... and you'll have a more fulfilling experience here at Lubbock and life in general" ~ Ahmed (Egypt)