Available Support for International MBA Students

Available Support for International MBA Students

No matter what your age may be, traveling abroad to a foreign country can be stressful if you do not know where to turn for help. When it comes to international students, there are often support agencies in place to provide pastoral care when needed. Chances are high that if you are pursuing an MBA, you are comfortable with caring for yourself. Even so, navigating the different laws and cultural nuances of a country can become exhausting and overwhelming without appropriate resources. Most universities have a few different options in place to help out their student population with questions and problems. International students are a specific group that can receive targeted assistance through the appropriate offices on any given campus. If you are starting to apply or have been accepted into an MBA program in the US or another country, look for these avenues of support as well as others.

  • Pastoral Care

    Pastoral care refers to caring for the general well-being of the international student population. In some countries, pastoral care refers to the advisors and counselors trained to offer advice and solutions to problems. As an international student, you may face unique problems through culture shock and language barriers. University pastoral care workers should be available to help you feel more at home and ensure no one takes advantage of you. It is important to also remember that in the US, some people may interpret the term “pastoral care” as religious in nature. To those people, the term alludes to the care that a pastor or minister gives to his or her congregation. Although pastoral care of international students is common outside of the US, you may need to explain what you are looking if the person does not seem to understand. Though the term might be unfamiliar to some, US universities still offer a range of pastoral care options. They often come in the form of an international student office, student groups, professors, advisors and counselors.

  • International Student Office

    The international student office is typically an entire section of a university or college campus dedicated to providing support to international students. If you are studying in the US and have any questions or issues, your first stop should be the international student office. This office should be able to help any student as long as he or she comes from a country outside of the US. The staff may consist of international students or those trained in the obstacles many international students face while studying abroad. This office should be able to help you with just about any problem on campus: Visas: If you are staying in the US for any extended period of time, you should apply for a visa. As a student, you should be able to get a student visa to continue your education. It is extremely important to adhere to the visa requirements and submit all paper in a timely manner. If you have any questions regarding the status of your visa, go to the international student office and ask.Housing: Your university of choice may have specific housing requirements or you may wish to find a place off campus. If you have questions about finding a place to live near your university, go to the international student office for answers.Language Barriers: Most universities and colleges in the US have an English proficiency requirement for international students. Although you may have met this requirement, you can still come across problems with the language through your studies. If you would like additional language help or other options for overcoming language barriers during your studies, go to the international student office for guidance.Conflicts: Even if you are a generally pleasant person and make many friends, you may still have problems with some people on campus. There are departments that can help with student conflicts, but you can also inquire at the international student office for possible solutions.Employment: Depending on your visa and the rules of the institution you are attending, you may be able to work and earn money while studying abroad. Contact the international student office to see if it is appropriate and possible for you to have a job while studying if you are interested in working.Finances: An education in the US can get expensive quite fast. You should prepare financially before you get accepted into an MBA program and fly to the US If you find you are short on money, you may be able to find a job. There are also financial aid programs available for some international students. You can inquire about your finance options at the international student office.General Support: Basically, if you have any questions that need answering or problems that need solving, your first stop can usually be the international student office. While the international student office can help you with many issues, there may be times when the staff directs you to another university department. If you are ever unsure about what you are supposed to do, be sure to ask for clarification. After all, the international student office should be there to help you with just about anything.

  • International Student Groups

    No matter how small the college or university you are attending is, there are likely to be other international students on the campus. In most cases, there are even clubs and specific activities targeted at international students. If you are ever struggling with something during your studies, from assignments to socializing, it can be helpful and therapeutic to turn to other international students. Your classmates can empathize with whatever you’re going through. You may also be able to feel more at home while enjoying your home country’s food and holidays with others. In addition to socializing with other international students, it may surprise you to find clubs and social activities centering on your home country. Most universities have extensive foreign language programs. Depending on where you come from, you may be able to join clubs focusing on your language and culture. In some cases, you may even be able to become a teaching assistant and help other students learn your language and culture.

  • Professors

    You may think that the professors at your university are extremely busy, but being open and available to students is part of their job requirement. If you are having specific struggles in a certain class, you should be able to go to your professor for guidance. Some professors are willing to work with you to help you gain the most out of your education. If necessary, the professor may direct you to another university office to seek help. This could be the case if your question has more to do with your student visa or problems with other students. When you seek out a professor for help, you should make sure the issue you are facing directly relates to the class and coursework.

  • Advisors

    Universities in the US typically comprise several smaller colleges. Each college or school focuses on a specific aspect of academics. Each college or school also has a dean, who is the head of that particular school, and dedicated academic advisors. Academic advisors are available to answer your questions regarding your studies and future goals. For example, many MBA students look for internship opportunities or work immediately after graduating. An academic advisor may be able to help you find an appropriate internship to meet your needs. You can also go to an advisor for assistance or guidance in creating a resume or curriculum vitae (CV).

  • Counselors

    Counselors are similar to academic advisors in some respects. You can often go see them if you are having issues with your academic assignments. Most counselors in US schools focus more on conflict resolution and mental wellness, however. If you are feeling depressed or having a quarrel with a roommate, for example, you may be able to seek help from a counselor. The type of counselor you meet with depends on the issue you are facing. If you ever find yourself feeling out of sorts mentally and emotionally, it can be wise to speak with a school counselor. Even though not everyone in the US may immediately recognize the term “pastoral care,” there are many options for support for international students. The most readily available help is typically through the international student office at your university of choice. If there is no international student office available, you may also turn to your professors and academic advisors. You may also find that involving yourself in student societies and clubs helps to alleviate common problems, such as loneliness and homesickness. As an MBA student, you will probably be busy with coursework much of the time, but that does not mean you will not have time for fun too. As soon as you know which MBA program you plan on attending, contact the international student office of the school to learn more about your options. The further you plan ahead and the more you know, the smoother your educational experience is likely to be. You can start your search for the perfect MBA program by browsing US universities through SchoolApply.

Levels Explained

  • Bachelor's

    A bachelor's degree (also called a first degree or undergraduate degree) is attained after receiving a post-secondary (high school) education and generally spans four years. Students pursuing these types of degrees are commonly referred to as bachelor or undergraduate students. A bachelor's degree is usually offered at an institution of higher education, such as a university.

  • Master's

    A master’s degree (or postgraduate or graduate education) involves learning and studying for academic or professional degrees. This degree is preceded by a bachelor’s degree and generally takes two years to complete. Students pursuing these types of degrees are commonly referred to as master's, or grad students.

  • Pathway

    Bachelor’s and master’s pathway programs are designed for international students who need additional English language and academic preparation before continuing to a degree program at a university. The purpose of these programs are to give students the confidence and skills needed to succeed in college.