3 Lessons Learned as an International Student at Newhouse 

Jiaqi Jin headshot
Jiaqi Jin

As an international student studying abroad for the first time, attending Newhouse is a wonderful opportunity to broaden my horizons and acquire new knowledge. However, cultural differences also present special challenges. For prospective international students at Newhouse, I would like to share three lessons I learned over the past few months, hoping to smooth your transition into academic life here.

1. Carefully read the instructions and policies 

For pre-arrival preparations, ensure you read all instructions and key documents thoroughly, especially regarding visa, I-20, health records and other necessary documents. These are crucial for your entry into the United States, official enrollment and daily activities. For instance, when traveling abroad during breaks, you need to carry an I-20 with a travel signature to avoid issues at customs. Notifications from the University or orientation sessions for international students often cover these topics. Therefore, from the beginning of enrollment, read notices carefully, make preparations early and stay informed to ease your start at Newhouse. 

It is also a clever idea to familiarize yourselves with the syllabus for your academic career. Read the syllabus for every course you select at Newhouse carefully. Professors outline their expected learning objectives, assignment requirements and grading policies here. Careful reading of these will help you grasp the course content, achieve academic success and boost personal growth efficiently throughout the semester.  

2. Embracing cultural differences 

Cultural differences manifest in various situations, from classroom discussions to everyday interactions on campus. For example, in communication courses at Newhouse, classmates may react differently to the same events due to diverse backgrounds. These moments can be disorienting but also offer opportunities to understand and adapt to different perspectives. 

To navigate cultural differences, I have learned about, express and acknowledge them. Firstly, proactively engaging with international student groups and classmates enriches our understanding of varying cultures. Secondly, expressing our feelings and perspectives in unfamiliar situations fosters mutual understanding and reduces misunderstandings. Lastly, acknowledging and accepting cultural differences as neither superior nor inferior allows us to appreciate the diversity around us. 

3. Do not fear asking for help 

Despite our best efforts, we are unable to resolve problems on our own at times. My experience at Newhouse taught me the importance of seeking assistance, often leading to unexpectedly helpful outcomes. During the past semester, I got a lot of support through office hours with professors. Talking about the message missed in the course or the uncertainty about my future career, professors always generously provided support and shared their views with me. Similarly, you can also seek help from various resources in the school. I would reach out to the career development center to help check my resume before an interview. As a non-native English speaker, I can always get valuable advice from those around me. 

Even off campus, it was easier than I expected to be supported when I asked for help. Whether it is online shopping, renting, account rituals, through an email, a phone call, or a walk-in visit, things may be resolved quickly. When you encounter difficulties in life, please believe that you are cared for and supported, and do not hesitate to ask others for help. 

Studying far from home as an international student is challenging but also thrilling and rewarding. While we face many unknowns, the journey at Newhouse is filled with opportunities for learning and growth. Embrace this journey with an open heart and mind, and I promise it will be a transformative and treasurable experience. 

Jiaqi Jin is a graduate student in the advanced media management program at the Newhouse School.