If you are worried about adaption at AU or need some tips for it, you should read this!
Today is the 30th day since I came to America. So I'm going to tell you what I felt when I got used to this school.
First, American University has a very large amount of reading. There is basically about 20 pages to read in each class, and I write at least two essays per semester. If you take the SIS (School of International Studies) class, it will be harder. Overall, AU focuses on studying. I dreamed of relaxing and the leisure life here, but the reality is that I always read books in a library. Most of the students are busy but passionate.
Second, a good way to make friends is to participate in the program held by Abroad at the AU program. We can become friends naturally while working together. Everyone is looking for friends because they are all international students. Just go and say hi first! I have been told not to go around with people from the same country when I go abroad. However, do not be afraid of that because it is not true. People from the same country are more likely to feel a bond when they are in a foreign country. In addition, it’s easier to be friends and rely on each other when you are stressed. Most international students become friends first with people of the same culture who speak the same language.
Third, I want to tell you to not be afraid of the language barrier. In class, other students may quickly raise their hand to answer. But I need time to organize and translate my thoughts. Since the professor speaks fast, I only understood 60% of the class the first week. This situation made me feel intimidated. However, now I understand 90% of the class and participate well. If you’re missing something or don’t know the words, just ask the professor or a friend next to you. A good way to prepare is reviewing the material before class. Do not be afraid, just do it!
The last topic is about the extracurriculars. I highly recommend joining the LEP (Language Exchange Program). This program matches students who want to learn languages. I meet with my partner at least once a week. It’s a good opportunity to make friends and develop your language skills. Conversations are easy because your partner is also interested in your culture and language. In addition, AU allows you to enjoy your hobby. There are so many clubs here that you will be able to find one you’re interested in, no matter what hobby you have. The clubs related to Korea are the KSA (Korean Students Association) and K-Pop Dance Club. If you are interested in singing and playing piano, you can use the practice room in Katzen Art Center without a reservation for free.
I wrote some advice based on how I felt while attending American University for a month. It wasn’t easy to adapt when I first came, but don't feel rushed! Time will solve everything. I’m sure I’ll miss these times later.