Hey everyone! I am so excited for you to join our incredible community. My name is CeCe Karol and I am a 3/5 Engineering Management student from Irvine, California. I am also one of the Peer Leaders for this year! It’s important to me that you feel welcome and have all the support you need as you embark on this new adventure. I know times are challenging for all of us adjusting to a new school year amid the COVID 19 crisis, but the Stevens community is strong with a great network of students and faculty for all of us to lean upon.
It can be a fantastic experience studying in the United States as an international student! At the same time, your adjustments may be a little different than your US born peers. This may include becoming comfortable with a new language, experiencing a new culture, eating unfamiliar foods, and managing the distance from home.
Last year I had the opportunity to assist in the facilitation of international student orientation. Although I am not an international student myself, my experiences as a Peer Leader last year and being from the other side of the United States have provided me insight and some helpful tips for making the most out of your time at Stevens.
- Take advantage of campus resources. The International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office is committed to providing academic, personal, and professional resources. Do not hesitate to reach out to the ISSS office for anything relating to immigration services and other special programs. In addition, if you are confused about a topic in a course you are taking, do not be afraid to show up to a professor’s office hours or go to the Academic Support Center (ASC). Professors and tutors want you to succeed and are always willing to answer any questions you have and address your concerns.
- Join student clubs and organizations! Stevens has over 100 clubs and organizations that provide an opportunity for students of similar backgrounds to connect! These clubs will support you as you settle into life in the US and are also a great way to meet new friends. There really is a place for everyone here at Stevens and there may even be a community at Stevens for your country of origin!
- Find balance. As you settle into everyday school life at Stevens, don’t let the rigor of your classes limit yourself. Make sure to find a balance between your studies and self-care. I always find it super helpful to carry my planner with me to manage all my responsibilities! It is also important to find balance between relationships within and outside your culture. This will keep your experience more interesting and exciting.
- Look for ways to feel at home. Use food, music and art to help you feel more at home. I found it helpful to bring items that reminded me of my sunny Southern California home and photos of my friends and family to decorate my dorm room. I have also found Zoom, Skype and Facetime as ways to stay in touch with friends and family from home. Don’t forget the time zones though!
I hope the tips I shared will help. Remember, the Stevens community is a family and there is always someone there to support you. I look forward to welcoming you and seeing all that you will accomplish here at Stevens!
CeCe Karol, Engineering Management