Category Archives: U.S. Culture

8 Easy Ways to Prepare for Studying Abroad in the U.S.

Published on 08/11/2016 by Tara Madden-Dent at www.GoOverseas.com

8 Easy Ways to Prepare for Studying Abroad in the U.S.

Thinking about studying in the U.S.? Chances are, you’re new to its education system, culture, study skills, communication styles, and professional networking. Well, have you ever considered how to prepare for the differences between your norms and what you’ll experience in the US?

You might think,

“Well, I traveled to the U.S. one time many years ago and I plan to watch American movies. Will that be enough preparation?”

No! The first year in the U.S. is critical for international students, and if they’re not ready for academic and cultural differences, they can experience significant hardships with school as well as a loss in time, money, and quality of life.

So how can you avoid this? Prepare early for U.S. academics and culture at home.

Use these 8 preparation tips to learn about study skills, culture, networking practices, and day-to-day life management strategies to help with faster adjustment and success at your new institution.

1. Connect with Students at Your Future School on Social Media

One way for you to feel connected to your future school and new home is by joining Facebook groups and other social media. Search your new school’s website for student clubs and organizations that interest you. After selecting one or two of your favorites clubs to join, connect to their social media sites. If these are unavailable, try searching for student groups specific to your university or general social media groups in the local area.

By introducing yourself online and following the group’s updates, you can begin new friendships with others who share your interests. You can also get information on events happening in your destination city. You’ll be able to enter university with a better sense of your surroundings and have more conversation topics to choose from.

Note: It’s not encouraged to “friend” individual people that you do not know / have never talked to on Facebook.

2. Watch Videos by Other International Students and Professors

Watch free online videos to learn what other students and teachers recommend. International students in the U.S. share what they have experienced and American students and faculty share strategies to succeed at their school. Depending on where you’re moving to, these people can help you avoid problems. Watch videos fromTaraMaddendent.com, YouTube, or Vimeo.

3. Attend U.S. Study Abroad Fairs

Attend study abroad fairs

Attend U.S. study abroad fairs in your country and ask school representatives practical questions like:

  • What pre-departure preparation classes does your school provide for international students?
  • What support services are available for me after arriving to campus?
  • Who can I email at your school to learn more about day-to-day life as a student?

Follow up with the new school connections through email and social media. It’s amazing how these professionals can help you prepare for U.S. study.

4. Practice Speaking English

Become more comfortable speaking English by practicing with English speakers and American natives in your country by attending English and culture clubs. Many clubs are free and can be joined through Meetup.

Another way to practice English and to learn about American culture while in your country is by volunteering at U.S. army bases, churches, or companies. If you prefer online strategies, you can also use chat programs like Conversation Exchange or interactive English learning websites.

5. Plan Your First Three Weeks

Give yourself something to look forward to when you first arrive and plan things to do in your first three weeks. Look at your school’s event calendar and add those you want to attend to your personal calendar. Look for a new gym, coffee shop, or place of interest and make a time to go there. Sign up for a fitness class or Meetup event.

Fill up your first 3 weeks in the U.S. with these events and give yourself a busy, but manageable schedule.

6. Take a Trip Before You Go

New York

If you can, consider taking a trip to the U.S. before taking the leap to study abroad. International students who can travel to America for vacations, attend a U.S. high school, or study in short-term programs have unique opportunities to experience the country’s culture and academic systems.

Many international students who participate in summer or winter camps will be able to recognize if an American school is a good fit for their academic goals. These students are able to better prepare for language, culture, and academic differences through these prior experiences.

7. Use Free Online Resources

You can also learn about U.S. history, culture, and social norms online. Blogs and government websites are great tools for learning how to bridge differences between your culture and American culture. The U.S. State Department offers pre-departure support in their article titled 5 steps to U.S. study.

If you currently live near a U.S. Embassy, consider attending an EducationUSA pre-departure orientation where advisers and U.S. alumni provide information and resources to help you prepare for what you’ll experience in the U.S. To locate a center near you, visitEducation USA’s list of advising centers.

8. Earn Credits and Take an Online Preparation Class from a U.S. University

For the first time ever, American universities and colleges are offering international high school and undergraduate students online classes to help them prepare for studying in the US. These online university classes provide academic credits towards an undergraduate degree. You’ll learn strategies to earn higher grades, perform better in American classrooms, learn networking skills, how to bridge cultural gaps, and manage culture shock.

One class example is ELEC 110: U.S. Academics and Culture, a class offered by Sierra Nevada College, for international high school and undergraduate students. This four year private school provides international students with a letter of recommendation, certificates, and Priority Admission to their campus in addition to three transferrable credits towards an undergraduate degree. Scholarships are available for this program.

After taking this course, a high school student in Japan said, “This class has helped me prepare for the U.S. university. I have more confidence in myself because now I know what to expect in the U.S. university and cultures.”

But why do U.S. schools want international students to take online preparation classes? International students who prepare with formal training are more ready for schooling, language and communication, socialization, internships and employable positions in America. Since this option is new, here’s a basic list of what you should expect to learn in an online U.S. preparation class and the benefits you’ll earn.

What you’ll learn
  • Study skills, classroom etiquette, and presentation skills
  • How to write a college paper and take good class notes
  • How to get to know your American professor and earn better grades
  • Ways to prepare for quizzes and examinations in the US
  • US culture and communication skills
  • Time and health management skills
  • How to meet American friends and future employers
What you’ll gain
  • A competitive advantage on your school application
  • A U.S. transcript record with up to three academic credits towards your degree
  • A letter of recommendations from U.S. professors
  • A certificate of completion for your job resume and employment applications
  • Priority admission to select U.S. schools
  • Discounted online university tuition and special scholarships
  • Professional readiness for employment

Why You Should Prepare in Advance

Why prepare to study abroad in the U.S. before you go

Too many international students and their parents assume adjusting into U.S. classrooms and culture will be easy, but ultimately find that assimilation is way more difficult than they expected. In fact, research indicates that unprepared international students can experience academic troubles, misconduct penalties, culture shock, poor health, and even depression. They don’t achieve their academic or language goals, and some even drop out or transfer schools.

International students who prepare at home adjust faster in the U.S. with more confidence and skills to earn higher grades, live healthier lifestyles, develop English skills faster, and become more professionally ready for internships and employment. In fact, U.S. universities require international students to complete academic and cultural training because it’s critical for their success and well-being.

Unfortunately, most training takes place after international students arrive in the U.S., at a time when their energy and attention are split between many new responsibilities: mandatory orientations, moving in, class placement tests, joining clubs, finding classrooms, buying textbooks, and meeting new people, among many others. This is in addition to physical strains from time zone differences and recovering from international jet-lag.

Remember, the first year in the U.S. is critical for your success and health. Regardless of how you prepare for studying abroad in the U.S., it’s important that you do. Save yourself from the unnecessary hassle, time, money, and energy resulting from being unprepared.

Start preparing when before traveling to the U.S. to adjust faster with more confidence, more friends, higher grades, better communication skills, and a higher quality of life.

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New U.S. Class for International Students

Prepare for USA College and University!

young man using tablet

Take Your First U.S. University Class Online with a U.S. Professor

Class Name: U.S. Academics and Culture

Class Topics:  Western Academics, Culture and Communication, Professional Readiness

Student Rewards:  U.S. Transcript Record with 3 Class Credits, Letter of Recommendation, Certificate of Completion

Class Introduction Video: https://youtu.be/fdtVvKSHqew

Website: www.USAclass.online

Who should enroll?

  • Students who want to prepare for U.S. study
  • Students who want to become more competitive
  • Students 14 years old, or older who can complete the class in English

What do students learn?

  • Success strategies for U.S. study and cultural adjustment
  • Western interaction and communication styles
  • Professional development and networking skills
  • Western student responsibilities
  • University communication, readiness, & socialization skills

When to enroll?

  • A new class starts the first Monday of every month
  • Upcoming class start dates:
    • June 6, July 4, Aug 1, Sept 5, Oct 3, Nov 7, Dec 5
  • Students must complete the class within 12 weeks from the official class start date
  • Students finish class at their pace

Why students enroll?

  • To become ready for U.S.education and western culture
  • To earn a letter of recommendation (in English) from a U.S. Professor
  • To earn a Certificate of Completion for resumes and school applications
  • To earn 3 U.S. university credits towards an undergraduate degree
  • To save money online compared to taking the class in the U.S.
  • To complete their first university class at their pace, conveniently online

 

Student Quotes:

“Knowing culture before coming to U.S. decreases anxiety for adjusting to new country. Just for my culture, I think it’s really mandatory, before.”

— Minjae L., Seoul, South Korea

“Knowing culture gave me confidence to talk, get involved, and participate.”

— Wayne L. Beijing, China

“It is helpful to learn American subjects using the class videos. I feel more able to express myself when I get to the California school.”

— Jackie Wang

“This study is helpful for me. It helped mentally prepare me studying and to meeting new friends.”

— Wei C., Shanghai, China

 

 

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WEBINAR: Three Tips for Succeeding in U.S. Universities (Jan 10)

 Strategies to Succeed in the U.S.A!

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Are you preparing for undergraduate study in the United States? 

Learn three strategies proven to increase student success at U.S. Universities in FREE WEBINAR on JANUARY 10, 2016

 

You will learn:

  1. How to Start U.S. University Early and Why U.S. Universities Want You to

  2. How to Make the Most out of Your Time in the USA and Graduate from Universities Faster

  3. How to Get Ready for Internships and Jobs as a Student

 

Webinar Times – Wednesday, January 10, 2016

Register for the Webinar that Works Best for Your Time Zone:

WEBINAR 1:

Time: (Japan 1900 / 7 pm JST;    South Korea 1900 / 7 pm KST;    China 1800 / 6 pm CST)

Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9134209712079716610
Webinar ID: 101-847-563    United States: +1 (415) 930-5321    Access Code: 337-877-485

WEBINAR 2:

Time: (Colombia and Peru 1800 / 6 pm COT;     USA  6 pm EST & 3 pm PST)

Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5194110893457792258

Webinar ID: 113-033-235  United States: +1 (914) 614-3221    Access Code: 239-072-648

WEBINAR 3:

Time: (Western Europe and Central Africa  1800 / 6 pm CET,   UTC/GMT +1 hour)

Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5892876921188446210

Webinar ID: 112-670-603  United States: +1 (562) 247-8422    Access Code: 166-492-316

WEBINAR 4:

Time: Kuwait and Saudi Arabia 1800 / 6 pm AST;      Brazil 1300 / 1 pm BRST

Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/187050389286685954

Webinar ID: 111-060-659  United States: +1 (415) 930-5321   Access Code: 267-977-595

Space is limited so register today!  Looking forward to meeting you on Sunday!

 

Helpful Resources: International Student video testimonies about U.S. study:

Many international students struggle with understanding and adjusting to U.S. academics and culture after they arrive for school.  It can negatively impact their grades, health, communication and socialization, professional development, and home country relationships (Video Example: Research).

1 (China), 2 (Graduate Student; China), 3 (London), 4 (China), 5 (Senegal) , 6 (Greece), 7 (Mexico), 8 (Japan), 9 (Congo, South Africa), 10 (Bangkok, Thailand), 11 (Vietnam), 12 (China), 13 (France), 14 (Vietnam), 15 (Turkey). See more at http://www.taramaddendent.com.

 

ABOUT HLSL INSTITUTE

HLSL Institute provides cultural training and preparation for students and scholars.

MISSION: We improve the quality of life for international students by teaching U.S. academics and culture.  By taking our class, international students are more able to navigate U.S. college and university classrooms, campuses, and social networks to achieve academic, social, and professional goals.  Through cultural education, we’re connecting the world, one person at a time.

HLSL Institute teaches the world’s first U.S. university preparation class called, “U.S. Academics & Culture

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Oct Update: China & South Korea

I know it’s been a few weeks since the last post but this is why…

I had an AMAZINGLY successful educational tour throughout South Korea and China promoting the world’s first online university course for international students worth 3 course credits on a U.S. transcript.

U.S. Academics and Culture“! 

International students take the online course to:

 

  • Learn U.S. university study, work, and communication skills
  • Earn 3 academic credits on a U.S. university transcript
  • Experience their first U.S. college course
  • Save time and money compared to traveling to the U.S.A. for class
  • Earn a Letter of Recommendation to strengthen U.S. university and travel visa applications
  • Earn a Certificate of Completion to strengthen job applications

 

____________________________________________________

INTERNATIONAL TOUR STOPS

Locations: Seoul, South Korea; Daegu, South Korea; Shanghai, China; Beijing, China

Organizations:  U.S.Embassies; EducationUSA;  Fulbright; International Schools, ICEF Monitor;  AIEF Conference; Student Recruiting Agencies

____________________________________________________

TOUR PICTURES!

____________________________________________________

We’d like to thank everyone we met and worked with along the tour for introducing their students and friends to the class.  Our new school and agent partners are helping us to improve study abroad and international education through early college-level education.

Pass on the online class, “U.S. Academics and Culture” to international students and their parents.

____________________________________________________

Higher Education Tour Partners

University of Nevada, Reno      nevada-master-horiz-no-tagline-rgb

Sierra Nevada College      logosnc

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FREE WEBINAR: International Students Earn 3 College Credits on U.S. College Transcript (September 15)

Your Opportunity to Start U.S. College Online, Prepare for U.S. Study, & Graduate Faster!

Register at http://www.thestudyabroadportal.com/hlsl-institute/earn-u-s-college-credits-online-and-graduate-sooner?w2palt=2

Are you a high school or college student preparing to study in the United States? 

If yes, you may qualify for the world’s first U.S. college preparation course: “U.S. Academics & Culture”!  Join us on Tuesday, September 15 to learn how this online, 3 college credit class can help you learn U.S. success skills before their first semester.

There’s no need to apply and wait for U.S. college acceptance… take our class and start today! Pass the class and earn a U.S. college transcript accepted at accredited U.S. colleges and universities!

Students who pass U.S. Academics & Culturewill earn:

  • Greater knowledge of U.S. success skills for study, communication, work, and socialization
  • U.S. college transcript with 3 course credits
  • Letter of recommendation from Ph.D. Professor for college applications and resumes
  • Certificate of competition for college applications and resumes
  • Acceptance into an elite 4-year private U.S. college (for high school seniors and older)
  • Entry into select scholarships (high school seniors and older)

Moreover, this course SAVES YOU MONEY!

cost comparison

Class space is limited due to high interest from students from all over the world.  Learn more on Tuesday’s webinar about the world’s first U.S. college prep course worth U.S. college credits!

During this webinar you will learn about:

  • Great benefits of passing this online, self-paced “U.S. Academics and Culture” Course
  • How to successfully enroll and pass the online course
  • Reasons why U.S. universities want you to enroll and pass this course
  • Reasons why global employers want you to enroll and pass this course
  • Ways you can help other students prepare for U.S. study and earn money

The Need for Early Preparation for U.S. Study

Many international students struggle with understanding and adjusting to U.S. academics and culture after they arrive for school.  It can negatively impact their grades, health, communication and socialization, professional development, and home country relationships(Video Example: Research).

AVOID the hardships by learning key transition and success strategies from the comfort of your home country. Our faculty (Ph.D. and MBA Professors) are the best in the world and specialize in the cross-cultural skills you need.

This on-line course will provide the keys to success for studies in the United States.  From how to effectively apply to your school of choice to strategies of how to integrate on campus when  you first arrive, Tara and her team will guide you through the entire process.Susie Askew, Director at the University of Nevada, Reno  Office of International Students and Scholars

Knowing culture before coming to U.S. decreases anxiety for adjusting to new country. Just for my culture, I think it’s really mandatory, before.” — Minjae L., Seoul, South Korea

This study is helpful for me. It helped mentally prepare me studying and to meeting new friends.” — Wei C., Shanghai, China

Knowing culture gave me confidence to talk, get involved, and participate.” — Wayne L., Beijing, China

International Student video testimonies about U.S. study and transitions:

1 (China), 2 (Graduate Student; China), 3 (London), 4 (China), 5 (Senegal) , 6 (Greece), 7 (Mexico), 8 (Japan), 9 (Congo, South Africa), 10 (Bangkok, Thailand), 11 (Vietnam), 12 (China), 13 (France), 14 (Vietnam), 15 (Turkey). See more at http://www.taramaddendent.com.

HLSL Institute is an international education service providing pre-departure cultural training and preparation for international students and scholars.

MISSION: We improve the quality of life for international students by teaching U.S. academics and culture.  By taking our class, international students are more able to navigate U.S. college and university classrooms, campuses, and social networks to achieve academic, social, and professional goals.  Through cultural education, we’re connecting the world, one person at a time.

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3 Min Research Intro: New Pre-departure Course for International Students which also Recruits and Retains

Interested in learning why U.S. higher education is now offering pre-departure academic and cultural college prep courses to international students in foreign countries? Student success, international recruitment, and retention rates are definitely some benefits.

This video provides a 3 minute introduction to the research that led to today’s revolutionary international study abroad prep-classes.

First tested at a U.S. research university, then applied to HLSL Institute’s 2014 International Education Tour in South Korea and China, and now offered at U.S. schools, “U.S. Academics and Culture”, is an online or hybrid pre-departure school readiness class that strengthens academic performance, communication skills, and cultural adjustment. This student support effort also helps international students be healthier, safer, happier, and more professionally prepared in the U.S.

Because this classes teaches international students more accurate expectations about study, life, language, and work during first year experiences in the USA, high schools and universities can provide it simultaneously address recruitment, integration, and retention issues. Research findings indicated that international students are more confident (less stressed) to leave home and study in the USA, gain U.S. cultural knowledge and U.S. academic skills, better communicate with US natives and build more U.S. friendships, gain networking and small-talk skills, and better understand the importance for campus engagement and support resources.

U.S. institutions are now offering and/or requiring this class to prospective and newly admitted international students and domestic students before study abroad.  Sierra Nevada College was the first private college who made the online class available to any international student in efforts to welcome and encourage them to the USA.

P.s.  This class can also be effective for first-year international students who are already in the U.S. to aid with their transition, adjustment, and integration.

Contact me to learn how your U.S. high school or university can offer a pre-departure class like “U.S. Academics and Culture”.

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Why study YOU before attending college?

After many years of teaching university students, the most powerful and influential lessons the undergraduates and graduate students preferred were the assignments which encompassed personal reflection and experiential learning.  These students described that studying the course’s learning objectives with personal exploration pedagogies, challenged their original worldviews, felt liberated from previous subconscious mental programs, and more confident to apply their new knowledge in everyday life decisions.  Many students reported that the self-awareness contributed to a clearer understanding of how they would move forward after the course to intentionally advance their professional and academic careers.

One student’s evaluation submission summarized the consensus nicely,

“For the four years of college courses I have experienced, this was by far, the most rewarding on every level and one of my favorites. I have never experienced such valuable information in a class that comes up in everyday life. The extremely eye-opening experiences and class material helped me stretch myself as an individual during the papers and class activities. I came out of this class with observations and feelings that I never knew I had.  I not only gained knowledge to apply to my future career, but I gained more self-confidence and really pushed myself to grow as a person.”

As an educator, there is no greater joy than witnessing my students demonstrate new skills, knowledge, and self-awareness.  Although my courses focused primarily on law, educational leadership, multiculturalism, and societal studies, many of the students reported that their experience was the closest thing they had ever had to a formal Self-Study course. 

Instead of waiting until adulthood to formally study the Self , what if actual “Self-Studies” courses were incorporated into elementary, middle and high school educational programs alongside required subjects like reading, writing, and math? Would it make a difference on the student’s development, their worldview, ethics, community engagement, health, grades, career choice, interpersonal relationships, financial stability, emotional intelligence, and long-term achievements? How would studying the Self influence the educational system, the city, state, nation, and planet?

Before we go any further, let’s understand the term “Self-Studies” to represent a formal course, grounded on legitimate peer-reviewed, tested, published research, and facilitated by well trained and highly qualified instructors whose aim is to foster individualized identity development and personal growth through self-reflection and experiential learning to encourage emotional intelligence, purposeful living, goal achievement, healthy lifestyles and interpersonal relationships, environmental awareness, and community contribution.

Based on that definition, that not one of my own alma maters had offered a Self-Studies course in my programs of study.  That’s a big deal considering that I have earned a high school diploma, college degree, and multiple graduate degrees (M.A.; Ph.D.).  How much more powerful would my academic, personal, and professional contributions be if my primary and secondary schools had offered courses like Mindfulness; Personal Habits and Behaviors; Core Principles and Values; Family and Cultural Influences; Healthy Relationships; Emotional Intelligence; Identity Exploration; My impact on Modern Society and the Environment; My Culture and how it Compares to others; and Financial Goal Planning? If I, as a young person, had studied where I came from, what I stood for, who I believe I am, how I would contribute my value to society, and who I wanted to share my life with, how would things be different today?

Only now, after 31 years, I’ve finally completed my first formal Self-Study program and recognize the tremendous power it provides.  The self-discoveries are tremendously helpful to grasp why I live the way I do and how I want to live from this point forward to achieve a clear, laser-focused goal.  We are seeing a movement across the United States of personal success courses emphasizing self-study, goal planning, networking, communication, and professional skills development to generate healthy, happy, skilled members of our society and workforce.  PSI Seminars, is one personal success educational organization that provides Self-Study courses that teach personal exploration to enable students to live with a better understanding of who they are, what they want, and how they can apply their unique abilities in daily life and achieve long-term goals.  Another organization, called One Life Fully Lived, is an example of personal development through self-study aiming to develop identify, core values, and personal life goals.

Because I’m an academic junky and educational advocate, I recommend Self-Studies as an early means to generate self-awareness that supports a lifetime of academic, professional, spiritual, social, emotional, physical, and financial successes. 

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