You’re reading this because you’re like me. You love studying abroad! I mean who doesn’t? It’s a different, new, and adventurous experience. You either hit rock bottom or you live the best moments of your life. Don’t worry. In most cases, you’re living the time of your life. Yes, you’re away from your home, your comfort zone, and you’re likely thrown into a culture shock. I clearly remember my first time in the US. I was fascinated by American public bathroom doors. If you look inside them, you might be able to see the person using the toilet! CRAZY! But despite the tough times, it’s definitely worth it.
Here are 4 advice from a baddie who published her first book and founded her non-profit as a CLU student:
1- Use available resources. CLU has a lot of resources that many students don’t take advantage of. Please, use them. For example, when will you ever go to a therapist without paying them? Your tuition covers such services. Use the chapel’s pantry with many food options. In times of struggle, the pantry was a savior. Go to events on campus. They usually have food trucks. Don’t we all love food trucks? Even outside CLU, being a student comes with benefits. Students in the US get a lot of discounts like in movie theaters. Even Spotify and Hulu offer student discounts. Also, the city of Thousand Oaks has a free transportation system within Thousand Oaks. Don’t waste your money on Ubers and Lyfts. So, always do your research. It can save you a lot of money.
2- Network, network, network. Making connections got me jobs on campus. Applying to jobs hasn’t. Making connections got me to travel to different states for conferences and events at least once a month pre COVID. Be out there.
3- Use your time wisely. I got to publish my book, “The Future of Palestine: How Discrimination Hinders Change” while studying and having a part-time job. A few months later, I started my non-profit, Yalla – Palestinian Student Leaders. Know how to manage your time.
4- Make friends and have fun. Orientation week is a golden week. That’s where I made friends for life who shared my cultural and ethnic background. Clubs, programs, and classes are also great places to make new friends. Working hard for a successful future is important but sustaining your relationships and having fun is as important, especially for your mental health. Go to Tarantula Hill and then to Tipsy Goat across the street for a typical Thousand Oaks fun night. The Oaks mall is amazing for shopping. Split gas with a friend who has a car and do fun stuff in LA or nearby areas. You are in a new country. Enjoy it.
You are here to learn, grow and have fun. If you need anything, know that you’re not alone. The international office is a place to go to when in need.
By: Tamar Haddad