1. Strategically Advance Your Academic Experiences
Pursue specific academic enrichment opportunities that support your future goals. Participate in lab classes, group work and volunteer for extracurricular projects related to your desired field of study.
2. Improve Your Language Skills
Participate in class discussions, seize opportunities to lead presentations, join a student club related to public speaking, leadership or debating, and improve your writing skills through peer or professional tutoring at the university's writing center.
3. Make New Friends
A university campus is a wellspring of informal mentors. Reach out to fellows in your classes, talk with professors during their office hours and do your best to make lasting friendships with students from around the world. There's no telling how these relationships may help you.
4. Dive Into Local Culture
While it's comfortable to talk with the friends you have and eat the food you know, these habits will not expand your understanding of the local (and campus) culture. If you plan to further your education in the West, make an effort to experience life as a local through food, activities and new friendships. This will help you explain why a university's community is perfect for you in graduate school applications.
5. Be Recommendation Worthy
Professors have less time to get to know visiting students than full-time students and thus may be reluctant to write recommendation letters over summer sessions and short-term study. Don't take it personally, and don't push it. Throughout your education abroad (especially when you think no one's watching) demonstrate an interest in your courses by:
- Thinking critically about course readings and expressing your ideas in class
- Having exemplary class and lecture hall attendance
- Routinely visiting your professors during office hours to discuss coursework, questions from the reading, your related research interest or news about experts in the field.
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by Erika Woodward