1. Do a pre-orientation.
Tufts offers six incredible pre-orientation programs: GO, FIT, SQUAD, CAFE, TWO and FOCUS. Each is designed to bring incoming students closer through fun activities and group bonding. The programs are extremely varied and there is something for everyone! If you like fitness, TWO and FIT are fantastic options. For those that want to do community service, CAFE and FOCUS are brilliant. GO and SQUAD are also equally well-organised and friendships often last the entire four years at Tufts.
A pre-orientation is often the best way for an incoming international student to slowly be eased into a group of people before meeting the incoming class of 1500 students.
2. Find the food.
Tufts has two fantastic dining halls in Carmichael and Dewick, but every now and then, we all look for some change. As an international student, this change could be having some food that reminds you of home. Tufts is located perfectly to find great food options; With Medford, Somerville, Cambridge and Boston only minutes away, you can find food from almost every country in the world.
Food is a great way to get over home-sickness, share your culture with your new friends and even have a little reminder of what to look forward to at the end of the semester.
3. Join a club.
If you are an international student, it is more than likely that there are at least a few other students in the college that share your home country or can relate to your inhibitions. Try and look for student associations that represent your country. Options at Tufts currently include Singapore, Hong Kong, South Asia, China, Taiwan, Korea and more. If an association for your country doesn't exist, make one! Take the opportunity to share your culture and show off what makes your internationalism so wonderful.
4. Stop and smell the roses.
It’s not easy to be away from home for four months at a time, let alone if your home is on the other side of the world. When you get the opportunity, you should take a walk through the beautiful campus and look at where you are. Take in the architecture, the vibrancy of the community, speak with your classmates and be proud of the efforts that have brought you here. Know that the community wants you to be there and that it only grows more diverse and inclusive from your presence.
5. Call home.
It cannot be stressed enough how important this is. Time differences make this a real struggle, but if you miss your family and friends back home, give them a call. They might awaken suddenly at 3 a.m., but I promise they will be happy to hear from you. Talk about your experiences, the new ‘americanisms’ you've learned, how your classes are, the girl you find cute from two doors down, anything! Missing home is totally normal but it's often easy to get caught up in the hectic cycle of college life and forget about your community back home. Take the time to re-connect and keep those bonds close.
As an international student at Tufts, I couldn't be happier. I learn about American culture just as often as I talk about Singaporean or Indian culture. The exchange of information has made me a more informed global citizen and a better, more accepting student overall. Represent your home proudly and share your story – everyone is listening intently.
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