What to Think About Once Enrolled on Campus as a Pathway Student

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What to Think About Once Enrolled on Campus as a Pathway Student

Before you make the decision to study abroad, you have a lot to think about, such as whether or not studying abroad is right for you. You also need to think about which program to enter, which school would best meet your needs and what foreign lands you wish to explore. Once you make a decision and are officially enrolled in a pathway program in the US, you may want to take a deep breath and relax, and though you deserve to, you have a few more considerations to make before you do.   Studying abroad can be an amazing experience, but it is also one wrought with unique challenges known only by international students. From cultural shock to funding your studies, you must learn to navigate your new situation adeptly. Fortunately, you’re not alone. In addition to the faculty members at your new school, you can also turn to SchoolApply for the information you need to make the most of your studies. This blog post advises you on what to expect once enrolled on campus as a pathway student and how best to handle each unique challenge.

  • Cultural Shock

    Cultural shock is the way you feel and react when the cultural prompts you recognize at home are missing. At home, you don’t have to think twice about crossing the street, ordering a cappuccino or maintaining a polite demeanor. This is thanks to a phenomenon called “cultural knowledge.” When you live in a foreign country for an extended period of time, you must learn to identify and interpret behavior, signals and rules. You must learn to act in a manner that is appropriate for your new environment. Depending on the differences between your home country and your host country, this can be a simple task or a very complex one. The complexity of the task may affect the level of social shock that you experience. If you do not know which symptoms you are looking for, this phenomenon may worry or even scare you. When you are familiar with the signs, though, you can accept them and figure out how to deal with them. Here are a few common symptoms of cultural shock: Extreme fatigueIrritability DepressionFits of weepingFeelings of sadnessBoredomObsessive cleaning or inattention to hygieneInability to eatBinge eatingExcessive drinkingHostility toward your host country The symptoms listed in the first half of the list are completely normal and should subside within a few weeks to a few months, especially with effective intervention. The symptoms in the latter half, however, only occur in extreme instances of cultural distress. If you find yourself unable to eat, binge drinking or carrying out obsessive tendencies you would otherwise avoid at home, it may be time to talk to a guidance counselor. Though cultural shock may be the most difficult hurdle you have to overcome, there are some strategies for dealing with it on your own: Learn as much about your host country as possible before you leave home. Rationalize cultural differences. Learn to appreciate your host country and its many differences. Try to make friends with a host national whom you trust and to whom you can open up. Have faith that things will get easier.

  • Work While Studying

    For most people, the job search begins with a resume. For you, however, it should begin long before you draft your resume or CV and cover letter. Unfortunately, many of the opportunities that may interest you may not be open to international students. There is no need to get discouraged, though. Instead, be diligent in your search, remain patient and know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel if you put in the effort. As an international student, there are a host of steps you need to take before you can begin to apply to desired positions. Those include: Learn the visa rules. Create a list of companies that you want to work for. Figure out whether or not those companies sponsor visas. Determine whether or not they have positions open for international students. Set up job search alerts. Research roles and apply only to jobs that match your level of experience. Create a professional story that helps people understand your career goals. Customize your documents. Involve yourself in the community (clubs, organizations, etc.).Make friends with host nationals. These last two points are essential. Employers, like schools, like to hire well-rounded individuals. If you do not actively participate in the community, or if you cannot show that you have ties other than to your school work, you may have a difficult time convincing employers that you will be a great addition to their teams.

  • Sandwich Programs

    These programs are part-time programs that run from mid-July to mid-September. They typically last four to five years, depending on the type of degree a student chooses to pursue. Though courses are part time, the school supplements the remainder of the semesters with a job placement, or internship. This allows international students to obtain both an education and work experience. More specifically, however, it allows individuals to gain experience in the industry which they hope to enter. A sandwich program can give you a leg up upon graduation, as more and more employers value experience just as much as they value education. If you can show that you have both work experience and a degree, you may be better suited to the position than most other candidates. Additionally, if you perform well in your role, you may be able to use the program’s coordinator and the employer as references on your next application. In addition to gaining real-world experience, these programs also help students gain better cultural understanding of their host countries. Many students who participate in these programs develop stronger language skills, better written and oral communication skills, increased confidence and more independence. Each of these traits is extremely attractive to future employers. There are financial benefits to sandwich programs as well. Many employers put successful applicants on a salary. Schools that participate in the program generally reduce tuition for students, and participants often receive grants, which can help cover the day-to-day expenses.

  • Internships

    Interning abroad is a great way to gain practical international experience and to set yourself apart from the millions of other students about to enter the work world. However, if you’re like most people, you’re hesitant to set aside an entire year just to work for free. Fortunately, you may not have to. Many pathway programs offer the opportunity for individuals to both work toward their degrees and gain industry experience. Though doing both may seem overwhelming at first, there are a few tips you can use to juggle both your studies and your work responsibilities: Make sure you follow the rules and that you do not overstep the boundaries of your visa (especially if you get paid!). Be flexible. Your internship may get in the way of a class you want to take, in which case, you may need to reserve that course for another semester or supplement it with a different one. Do not settle. Though most internships are not glamorous by a long shot, you do not need to take the first position presented to you. Shop around to find a position in which you will be happy and that furthers your career goals. Immerse yourself. An internship is not just an opportunity to gain industry experience, but to build networks and life-long relationships. Participate in the company as you would when working a real-deal job. While you could search for an internship on your own time once you are abroad, many program providers offer both. If you know that you are going to want to intern while studying abroad, apply to programs with built-in residency offerings. If accepted, you can both study and intern with very little additional effort on your part. Even if the pathway program does not have built-in job options, your host university likely has connections with local companies. Talk to a counselor or advisor about available apprenticeship opportunities and what you need to do to apply. If your host country does not have the necessary connections, your home university may. The decision to study abroad is a huge one, and there is a lot that you need to think about before you pack your bags. From learning how to deal with cultural shock to selecting the internship and work opportunity programs that are right for you, you may find that the beginning of your journey is a difficult one. However, once you overcome those hurdles, you can begin to really enjoy your time abroad. The most important thing to keep in mind when enrolled as a pathway student is that you are not alone. There are dozens if not hundreds of other students on your campus who are likely going through the same issues as you, and countless others who have graduated successfully despite the challenges. This is in large part thanks to the schools themselves and the resources made available to students. If you worry about what to expect from your time abroad, that is understandable. However, if you keep the above information in mind, and if you remain open to help, you can enjoy the fantastic and fulfilling experience that you imagined. For more information on how to make the most of your time abroad, contact SchoolApply today.

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.