Hello, Class of 2023! Welcome to Stevens! My name is Neev Vora and I am one of this fall’s Peer Leaders. I am a junior studying Quantitative Finance (which isn’t as nerdy as it sounds) and I am from Mumbai, India. It’s truly an honor to welcome you all to our awesome community. This blog post will cover what international students can expect from International Orientation, and how you can make the most of it.
While the transition to college can feel incredibly nerve-wracking to any new student, it can be especially scary for international students. If you’re reading this and you are an international student, I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that you will be fine. As soon as you enter Hoboken for the first time, all your fears will start to disappear, and soon, this cozy city will forge a place in your heart as your home away from home. The Stevens community, which includes the staff, teaching faculty, and especially your fellow classmates, will all help you acclimatize to the new environment you’ll find yourself in.
One of the ways in which Stevens will help you do so is by conducting an International Orientation for all international students. During International Orientation, you will have the opportunity to meet all of the other international students and a few of the peer leaders. They will be the first (of many!) friends that you’ll make in college, and these friendships will have the potential to last for a lifetime. As international students from a diverse coterie of countries, remember that you all have completely different backgrounds and life experiences. There is a wealth of knowledge that you can grasp from each other, from various cultures, traditions, languages, mannerisms and perspectives that teach you about the harmony in diversity and the comfort of knowing that you are not alone in your differences. Introduce yourself with passion and conviction. Talk to the quiet person sitting in the corner. Laugh with the boisterous student who seems to draw a crowd. Keep broadening your comfort zone, and every time you do so, keep stepping outside of it. Include everyone in your fun. This is what the college experience is about: connecting with new people with different backgrounds and embracing the similarities and differences between you. This is how you make Stevens your home.
During International Orientation, you’ll also be blasted with a ton of information about the resources that Stevens has to offer you, and not only as an international student. You will learn about all of the remarkable clubs and organizations that we have on campus. You will hear about resources that you can access for academic help (such as the walk-in tutoring center or office hours), or for your mental and physical health (pro tip: trying to swim in the Hudson River, as fun as it sounds, will probably end up messing with both). If you ever feel confused by what you are being presented with, feel free to ask questions! Never forget that every single person around you is here to help you throughout your tenure as a Stevens student. Don’t ever feel awkward about asking for help from any student or faculty member because we are all here to support each other. At our core, we are a tight-knit community, and we will always support you and treat you like family, because at Stevens, you are family. In between all of the weirdly-named icebreakers and slideshows, your International Orientation will help you start building your own community here at Stevens so that every step you take will make you feel at home.
My own International Orientation was a blast! I made friends with students from Japan, Vietnam, Germany, China, Australia, South Korea and Belgium. Every single person that I met was highly courageous, honest, amicable and had worked hard to get where they are. They have all inspired me to become a better version of myself, and I will always cherish the time that I have spent with them, along with the time I will spend with them over the next few years.
Last year, I was one of the Peer Leaders in charge of International Orientation, and I had a lot of fun meeting everyone who had travelled so far to join our college! It was spread out over two days. On the first day, the Peer Leaders, along with other staff members from various Stevens departments, advised students on academics and immigration policies (which was about as interesting as the day to day routine of a cat). In the afternoon, we all went on a tour of the campus (I learned how to walk backwards for hours!) and the picturesque city of Hoboken. The following day, we all went to New York City, and were joined by other new students who were participating in the City Life Pre-Orientation. We visited the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and had a guided tour of the city. We ended the day with a delicious meal at an Italian restaurant and headed back to campus to rest and prepare for the rest of Orientation.
In conclusion, come to International Orientation ready to make friends and have the time of your life! I can’t wait to meet all of you! Have a great summer, spend a lot of time with your friends from home, and get hyped for the next phase in the roller-coaster ride of life.