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How to Make the Most of Your Time Studying in the USA
6 min

How to Make the Most of Your Time Studying in the USA

Living
Nov 9, 2021
/
6 min

A girl and other students in college campus
Work Hard, Play Hard

Introduction

Studying abroad is a dream for millions of students worldwide. With over one million international students enrolled every year, the United States of America is the most popular destination for students who want to study abroad. Studying in the USA is no doubt a great opportunity, but it is also a big commitment that takes up a lot of time, effort and resources, which is why students should do their best to make the most of their experiences. Here are some things you should do while studying in the USA:

Join Student Clubs

Universities in the USA have a rich selection of student clubs and organizations to choose from. Each university will most likely have a dedicated web page that lists the different clubs they host. For example, the University of Texas, Austin features all of its listed clubs on this section of its website. 

Benefits of Joining a Student Club

Make Friends

College life can also get pretty hectic with everyone on different class schedules, so clubs are the perfect way to make friends. Just like the Barden Bellas from Pitch Perfect (Jason Moore, 2012), you too can find a great group of friends by joining a club. 

Build Your Resume

Student clubs and organizations are also great for your resume. If you become a part of the executive board of a club, put it on your resume! It's a great way for employers to see that you have leadership skills. 

Types of Student Clubs and Organizations:

There will be a variety of different clubs to choose from that fall under different categories like: 

Category Types of Student Organizations
 Sports  Football Clubs, Basketball Clubs, Rowing Clubs
 Arts  Theatre Clubs, Orchestra Groups, A Capella Groups
 Academic  History Clubs, Literature Clubs, MUN
 Cultural  International Students Association, African Student Association

Explore Electives

The U.S. education system is often cited as one of the best in the world, and for good reason. Most programs in the U.S. allow students the opportunity to explore a variety of different classes, outside their chosen major. In fact, in most colleges, your college credit requirements will not be fulfilled unless you take classes outside your major. For example, all first-year students at Boston Univesity are required to take a specific set of courses to fulfil their graduation requirements. 

Benefits of Electives 

Learn a Language

Electives give students the space to incorporate classes from other fields into their courses. Most programs require students to fulfil a language requirement. Knowing a second or third language is a great benefit that can help students in their job search and introduce them to a new culture. 

Student Experiences

Speaking about his experience in the country, one former international student Cristian Fabiano says, that he now speaks English more than he speaks Italian. He has friends from all around the world and has travelled so much that he could never get enough of it. And he can proudly say that his American experience was one for the books and would highly recommend other fellow students to spread their wings and be brave.

Pursue a Minor

Electives also help students carve out space to pursue a minor. If you find a subject that interests you but can’t fully commit to it, a minor is a great way to learn about the subject without making it your primary field of study.

Find Your Passion

Programs in the U.S. are a lot more flexible than programs in other parts of the world as they afford students the flexibility to change their field of study during their program. Electives can help students find their true passions and pursue a degree that will help them achieve their future goals. 

Join Greek Life

Greek life is the collective term given to fraternities and sororities at college. Greek life is often a big part of student life at most US universities. Thanks to movies like Neighbours (Nicholas Stoller, 2014) Greek life has a reputation for coming across as frivolous and shallow in the media. However, most fraternities and sororities are in fact very academic conscious, with high GPAs being a prerequisite to joining. 

Benefits of Greek Life

Networking: 

The Alumni networks of fraternities and sororities are incredibly helpful when it comes to looking for a job. More than 80% of Fortune 500 executives have been a part of Greek life during their college life. 

Student Housing:

Fraternities and Sororities provide their members with housing that is separate from the on-campus housing available. The housing provided is usually a lot better than the standard dorms provided. 

Good GPA: 

As mentioned above, a high GPA is often a prerequisite to joining a fraternity or sorority. If a member’s GPA  drops below the required minimum, they are removed. This requirement coupled with a culture that values academic achievement motivates students in Greek life to keep their GPAs high. 

Get a Part-time Job

If you have a good handle on how to manage your coursework, you can try to pick up a part-time job or apply for an internship. If you’re an international student make sure to check whether your visa allows you to work and how many hours a week it permits you to work.  

Benefits of Getting a Part-time Job

Earn while Studying 

The biggest benefit of getting a paid internship or part-time job in the USA is that you will be able to earn during your time at college. You can look into on-campus or off-campus opportunities to find work. 

Gain Experience

Any experience you gain will be beneficial in your future job search, so make sure to add your work experience to your resume. If you begin working while studying it will allow you to experience the work culture in the USA. Based on your experience, you can decide whether or not you want to pursue a career in the USA.

Travel the USA

Focusing on your grades is definitely important but don't forget to take some time out to have fun! The USA is a massive country with a lot to see. From San Francisco to Chicago to New York, the US is full of big cities to explore. Spring Break is the best time for students to plan a vacation.

Best Destinations for Spring Break

Destination Attractions
New Orleans, Louisiana The French Quarter, Mardi Gras
Palm Springs, California Coachella Valley, Canyons
Orlando, Florida Universal Studios, Disney World
New York, New York Broadway, Times Square
Oahu, Hawaii Waikiki, Waimea Falls

Benefits of Travelling around the USA

Have Fun and Make Memories 

College should be a fun experience no matter where you study so make the most of it by trying to have as many fun experiences as possible. The trips you take with your friends or families will make for beautiful memories and no doubt help you to look back at your college years with fondness. 

Plan Your Future

If you’re an international student and plan on working or perhaps even settling down in the USA, experiencing life in different cities will help you in your job search. Knowing where you want to live, or more importantly, where you don’t to live, will definitely come in handy when you’re applying to jobs in different parts of the US.

Conclusion

There’s a lot you can do while studying in the USA to make sure you get your money’s worth. Whether you’re there for just one year or four, try your best to increase both your academic and personal growth. We’ve helped you out with a few ways to make the most of your experience but everyone’s journey will be unique. Find your own ways to keep yourself engaged and ensure that you enjoy your time studying in the USA.