Oh the feeling of being a Singaporean student in an American university – like a small fish in a big pond. If you are looking forward to being a student in the US, it’s likely that you are going to need some time to familiarise yourself with the unique American conventions and way of life. But once you get past the experience of feeling culturally unacquainted and alone, you’d find that your time there could possibly be one of the best experiences of your life.
Before you scoot off on this once-in-a-lifetime journey, you ought to be aware of some of the things that make America uniquely America. The BrightSparks team scoured the internet to pick out some insights and things to do as a Singaporean student in the US. Here’s what to look forward to.
For the Sporty
Sports and athletics are a huge part of American campus life for both international and American students. Some of these sports have been exposed to us through the television; others might not even be popular enough to hit our television screens. Typical American sports include American Football, Field Hockey, Lacrosse, Softball, Baseball, Basketball, Ice Hockey, Cheerleading and Dodgeball.
Your participation in college sports will strengthen your discipline and maximise your college experience. It will also enable you to make friends with international students who share a similar appetite for such activities. Those who do not play sports can also look forward to watching matches on campus and supporting a team or two that they fancy.
For the Resourceful
While an F-1 visa holder is not allowed to be employed off campus in a retail store or restaurant, they are allowed to get a job on campus! Some campus jobs include being a library assistant or research assistant. Apart from earning some money, having a job opens up the door for you to request for a social security card. A social security card brings about numerous benefits, such as the ability to open a bank account, get a cell phone plan, sign up for a credit card, and install a cable network. Most importantly, a campus job will give you the chance to gain work experience and boost your resume.
If a campus job is not plausible, another way to gain work experience is to take up unpaid internships. US Immigration laws allow this if only you make the effort to get certain paperwork sorted and attain proper authorisation.
For the Travellers
There are so many places to go to in the US, and so many attractions to satisfy all manner of interests. All you need to do is conduct some dedicated research.
Apart from the go-to places such as Orlando, Los Angeles, Washington or New York City, consider visiting places such as The Grand Canyon in Arizona, the largest canyon in the world, or Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, beautiful for its grand prismatic spring, the world famous Old Faithful and unique wildlife such as elk, bison and wolves. And then there is also Nashville in Tennessee for music lovers, home to various music theatres and attractions such as the Southern Ground Music and Food Festival. The international studies office at your university will also give you even more suggestions on local places to visit!
Regardless of the state you will be studying in, make plans to explore places and learn about the country you are in. Apart from widening your worldview, exposure to various sights and new knowledge will certainly add on to the uniqueness of an international student experience.
Considering an overseas education? Check BrightSparks out for scholarships that will help to ease your finances!