Je bekijkt de reis...
Reisverslag Week 8: Tips and Tricks
19 mei 2016
Week 8: Tips and Tricks
This week's blog will be for upcoming exchange students from The Netherlands.
I'll be giving you some suggestions, and information that might help you prepare for your exchange.
Of course, bear in mind, this is only for the U.S. and procedures, and other information might be different for every university and country.
Before we get started, there is no particular order in the topics I'll be writing about. I am writing down whichever issue or advice comes up in my head, first.
A suggestion for housing would be to find an apartment close to the main campus (where your classes will be), rather than living in a university dorm. Why? Well, from experience, I have seen that people whom live "off-campus" pay significantly less than the ones that live "on-campus". With the money you have saved you can explore other cities and states. In addition, if you live off-campus you don't have to take a meal plan offered by your university, which is quite expensive. On a side note, you do have an all-you-can-eat meal as many times as you want, if you decide to take an unlimited meal plan. This is approximately 2700 dollars.
In contrast, downside to living off campus is that you don't really experience the "American student life", and can have less interpersonal contact because you are isolate. On campus, from my own experience, you get to meet people really fast. Furthermore, there are always events and other social gatherings organized, so you feel part of the university.
And because you have a meal plan, you don't have to worry about cooking because that's taken care of for you, in order for you to spend your time on leisurely activities!
What's more is that you should take into consideration that there is limited space in your suitcase, on you way to the U.S. You have to buy every small thing yourself, think about: bed sheets, dusting pan, iron, power outlets and what have you not.
Continuing, bear in mind that your mobile phone doesn't work (connectivity-wise) and you have to find yourself a provider here. It is quite expensive, and I haven't done it, however if you want to safe yourself the trouble of getting lost or planning literally every step before leaving, I would suggest you take the deal.
Speaking of which; Whatsapp! Luckily we live in this day and age and have fast access to Internet. Make sure you create a group chat with fellow international students or even the ones you met, in order to stay in touch. I have done this on my first day at the university, taking the initiative to start a group chat and boom, By the end of the semester over 44 people were talking and intermingling with each other! This is also a great way to ask questions, or even discuss concerns.
To tie onto the subject of social contact, I would say: "Go for it, and schmooze". Don't be afraid to talk to people or go to social events, Americans are very open and love foreigners. If you hold back, and deprive yourself from experiencing the college life, it won't be money well spend. You are far away from your family, so the only way to make the journey pleasant, is to make new friends and life everything to the fullest.
Another topic that got us, the international students, in trouble, was the writing on flags. It is very important to take into consideration that the symbolic value of a flag is a very touchy subject, and one can have different emotional value to it. Let me draw the situation for you. Two students decided that they wanted lasting memories of the people they met in the U.S. So they decided that they wanted U.S. flag as the foundation for this, which makes perfectly sense as their exchange was in the U.S. They then asked people to sign this with their name and a quote. However, I started to notice a few weird things around this. A few people, mainly Americans, didn’t want to write on it, as they found it to be disrespectful to the country and its history. And bare in mind, we ABSOLUTELY get this, and don’t mean to be offensive. However, on one occasion this sort of escalated in an argument, which could of gotten out of hand, if we hadn’t handled it calmly. One evening, the flags were on the table waiting to get signed, when and, mind you, a very big and tall American guy noticed the flags. First time around he didn’t do anything but frowned when he saw that there were writings on it. So he decided to walk for a second time, but this time he was sure to say something about it. He shouted: ‘‘my forefathers died for this flag, and you have no right to write on it’’, grabbed the flags and took them to his room, which basically is stealing. Whatever happened next doesn’t really have to do with the topic of this blog, so I’ll leave that out. Basically, what I am trying to say is that people might get offended, don’t sign flags in public and do it in your rooms!
I hope this information will help you get a perspective on how it all works in the U.S.
19 mei 2016 15:04 | Door: Jan Linders
Hi Tunckan, thanks a lot for sharing your personal thoughts (and tips) about your temporary home country with us...I've really enjoyed reading your blogs! Hope most of your Albany memories will make you smile in the future.....you might even tell your grandchildren about granddaddy's wonderful time at State University of New York, Albany....-:). see you around in Nijmegen, kind regards, Jan