My latest book, “Preparing to Study in the USA” is Available Now!

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Why are sports so important in U.S. college culture? Am I allowed to express my own opinions, even if I disagree with the professor? These are some of the most common questions international students ask when they arrive at an American university or college. The United States offers a rich and dynamic higher education system that attracts more international students than any other country in the world. U.S. colleges and universities also actively seek international students to facilitate cultural exchange among students and internationalize their campuses. But the variety offered by the country’s more than 4,000+ colleges and universities can also be a source of confusion.

To help students understand and succeed in the U.S. education system, I’ve teamed up with Allan Goodman, President of the Institute of International Education (IIE), to write our third student guide, Preparing to Study in the USA: 15 Things Every International Student Should Know.

This new book – available in paperback now and as an e-book in May – offers practical advice and cultural insight to students, including how to:

  • Understand the Value of a U.S. Education: Critical thinking and a liberal education can give international students a competitive edge in the global job market.
  • Identify Resources for International Students: A variety of resources are available for international students seeking or enrolled in U.S. higher education that offer students a wealth of information to ease their integration and immersion, including the U.S. Department of State’s EducationUSA network of advising centers around the world and on-campus resources such as the Registrar’s office, student advisers and health services.
  • Choose the Right School: Public versus private, urban versus rural, small versus large are just a few of the factors explained and important to consider in finding a good fit among the more than 4,000 institutions.
  • Calculate Costs: Tuition, room and board, textbooks, financial aid and scholarships are some of the biggest factors that are involved in calculating the difference between a university’s published price and the net (or actual) cost.
  • Get Involved in Campus Activities Beyond Academics: Taking advantage of the rich array of clubs, sports, interest groups and diverse student population can help students explore new passions and become a more well-rounded and attractive candidate for future employers.
  • Navigate Campus Life: U.S.-style dorms and dining halls, Greek life, sports and fandom, and a robust party scene found on most campuses may be overwhelming to students who have little direct experience with U.S. lifestyle and culture; therefore, a little explanation and interpretation from fellow students and advisers will go a long way.
  • Stay Safe Far From Home: Being prepared, staying informed and understanding the local laws are critical for dealing with the inherent risks in traveling and living abroad.
  • Get Work Experience in the U.S. After Graduation: Taking advantage of the opportunity for Optional Practical Training (OPT) is one possibility explained for students on an F-1 visa to remain in country after graduation to get valuable work experience in their disciplines.

In 15 short chapters, Preparing to Study in the USA addresses the most critical issues facing international students as identified by U.S. international student advisers, accompanied by three Frequently Asked Questions at the end of each chapter. FAQs include:

  • How can I find out if a school I am thinking of attending is accredited?
  • What if my TOEFL scores do not meet requirements?
  • How do I choose my major?
  • If I want to be a professional, why do I need a liberal arts education?
  • How do I get an adviser?
  • What is academic freedom?
  • Why are sports so important in U.S. culture?
  • Why shouldn’t I live with students from my home country?
  • What do campuses do to help students deal with stress?

Print copies of Preparing to Study in the USA are available from IIE Publications for $4.95 USD, with a steep discount for bulk copies for schools to give out to students (20 copies for $20.00 USD). E-books go on sale for $2.99 in May at IIE Books.

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