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How To Have A Stellar Freshman Year When Studying Abroad

Being an expat freshman can be quite daunting and it’s natural to worry about how you are going to balance everything in the beginning.

You have to worry about everything ranging from finances to grades and create a schedule that will enable you to enjoy your college life without compromising on your academics.

Knowing what to expect in your first year and the mistakes you should avoid will help you stay more prepared in stressful situations.

1. Attend Your College Orientation

As an international student, attending your college orientation is quite important because it provides you with valuable information about college and helps you get familiar with the environment.

College officials organize the orientation with special consideration for international students and include all the resources they need to get a smooth start to their freshman year.

It usually includes a tour of the entire college campus, an introduction to your course faculty members and staff, informative sessions on safety, security, and academics, and also a brief discussion on class schedules and timings.

2. Sort Out Your Finances

Don’t wait till you are in a new country to figure out your finances!

International students have extra work and planning to do when it comes to finances since they have to deal with a change in currency and figure out how to receive money if they are dependent on their parents.

Devising different budgets for food, housing and finding part-time jobs are other things that should be worked out.

Make sure you don’t leave all these things for the last minute since you will only end up getting overwhelmed and stressed.

If you are a student who is studying on a scholarship or financial aid from the college, make sure you are thorough with how you receive money and how often you have to renew the aid.

3. Utilize All Your Resources

College can get stressful, especially for a freshman who is just learning to balance it all.

Utilizing different resources whether they are offline or online can help students balance their college life, get better grades and even help their future careers.

For example, many colleges have career and writing service centers.

Career service centers are designed to help students in their careers by providing resume writing lessons, honing interview skills, and discovering the best jobs in the market.

There are also writing services that help foreign students with research, writing essays and proofreading.

If your college doesn’t have a writing center or you want another alternative, an online fast writing service can be beneficial too.

4. Don’t Overburden Yourself

Too many freshman students end up registering for too many courses or taking up more part-time jobs than they can handle.

While it is important to take extra courses to receive extra credits and boost your knowledge, taking too many will lead to extra work which will lead to extra stress and burnout.

Similarly, too many jobs may wreck your study schedule. Stick to a maximum of one or two part-time jobs. Find one part-time job that pays you well instead of taking up three or four that pay very little.

Also, take part in extracurricular activities and make the most of your first year without devoting all your time only to work and assignments.

5. Talk To People

International students tend to look for people from their country when they seek friends and companions.

While this isn’t wrong, you will miss out on talking to people from different cultures and ethnicities and learning about new traditions.

Make an effort to talk to people who are not from your native place.

You will find interesting things about another culture. You might even make close friends who will stick with you during the rest of your college years.

6. Join Clubs

Don’t hesitate to find a couple of clubs for your interests and hobbies!

Getting involved in campus clubs will give you a good break from all the academic stress and enrich your college life.


Despite any horror stories you might have heard from other first-year students, it is possible to have a great freshman year.

So shake off all the unnecessary nerves and start preparing!

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Written by Marcus Richards

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