By Steven Wu
To clarify at the very beginning, I’m not writing to lecture you guys, but just to share some of my experience. I’m not going to spoil too much about what you are going to face in another country, since that’s the fun part, I’ll leave it for yourselves to find out. To make your lives easier in a foreign country, I’m going share two pieces of advice here: strengthen your English skills and make friends, all kinds of them.
Let’s start with the topic that takes the highest priority in my opinion: develop your English skill by all means. I guess this is also one of the most important reasons why you are in this school instead of the domestic ones. One thing you need to keep in mind is that entering into a university is not the end of your way of learning English; instead, it’s just a beginning. In an English-speaking country, you will find out that a great deal of their choice of words can be non-sense, since these words are of colloquial use only which is something that you could have never learnt from a textbook. Thus, the only way to understand what people are talking about is to force yourself to keep speaking English with local people. If you find it hard to talk to a random person on the street, I highly recommend you take some Asian study courses. Trust me, if you are afraid of using the wrong words or stuttering while speaking, then this is the perfect place for you. Think about it, why are these people taking Asian studies? Of course it’s because they are interested in it and they do not discriminate against Asian people! Thus, don’t be afraid of making mistakes, they are definitely willing to help.
Now let’s shift gears to our second topic: making friends. It can be hard to make friends in university since people all have different time schedules, so if you find that a person is taking more than 3 of the same classes with you, talk to that person, it’s highly possible you guys are going to take other classes together in the future. Another reason it can be hard to make friends in university is because people’s backgrounds differ a lot. Therefore, you’re unlikely to find a person who shares exactly the same value as you on everything. In this case, learning to accept divergence can be a vital lesson. However, some of the divergences should not be accepted such as saying the derivative of e^x is x*(e^x-1). If you can’t get the joke, time to learn some calculus. One thing you need to consider is to be alert of something we called toxic relationships. Google it yourself to see what it means. (This is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you need to learn in a university) If such a person does exists in your life, get rid of him or her as early as possible. University is like an microcosm of society, so finding a way to communicate with others is a big lesson, it’s like an AP communication course for society.
We humans are gregarious animal, so what I’m trying to convince you of through this whole article is to go out and get in touch with other people. Studying is not everything you need to focus on in your four-year university life. Students who just graduated from universities basically share the same level of background knowledge in their major realm. Thus, for new graduates to find a decent job, information gathering is crucial. Moreover, it’s hard for one person to gather all the important information and this is the moment you should be asking your friends for help.