Twelve Tips for International Students

Giving yourself only  a couple of days to settle in is suicidal – just don’t try it. It takes time to find a place to live, to open a bank account, to get a cell phone, to buy those bed linens and microwave… Come as early as you can so you don’t find yourself running errands during the first week of classes or the first weekend of orientation. It takes time to adjust!

The following videos from International Student Orientation in 2008 will give you a sense of what adapting to CBS will be like.

Watch Parts 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the International Student Orientation videos here.

This is true for every student but especially for internationals.
Come focused regarding what you want to get out of school. If this is a job, do your research now. In what industry do you want to work? What are your target companies? What is their recruiting process? How can you prepare? It is OK to change your mind once you’re in school, but the more focused you come, the better you manage to land the job you want.

Some international students struggle with English. If you can’t speak fluently, you might not feel comfortable speaking in class and can get misunderstood by your peers. Sign up for an English class in your home country in advance!

Accounting, Finance, Statistics. All these might not be easy to learn in a second language if you don’t have some financial background. Take the Pre-MBA course seriously, or even buy a textbook and start studying in advance. You won’t believe how much it will improve your CBS learning experience.

Learn as much as you can about New York and the US before coming here. Read the online editions of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times You have to buy a subscription to access the Journal, but you get the first two weeks for free. When starting school you can get a significant student discount for both the print and online editions, so do not sign up at this point for the yearly subscription. The New York Times Online is still free – reading its business part is always a good idea.

Even if you visited the US before and are familiar with American culture, you may experience symptoms of anxiety, confusion and disorientation upon your arrival. These are completely normal, and are part of adjusting to a new country and culture. If it happens, take it easy and don’t get too hard on yourself – it takes time to adjust. We will discuss culture shock during international orientation.

Most chances are that you will encounter some misunderstandings on your first weeks in New York. It may happen anywhere – in the bank, in the grocery store or in the classroom. When it happens, remember never to take it personally. Most misunderstandings are just cultural, not personal.

Social networks, which allow you to keep in touch with people you know and get introduced to new ones, are very popular in the US. So sign up for a social network; we recommend LinkedIn and Facebook. LinkedIn ( is a good networking tool and so is Facebook (, and lots of your future classmates are already in both. When you open a Facebook account, join the Columbia Business School groups to meet your classmates.

This was one of the most popular tips that current international students gave you, so we’d like to emphasize again the importance of coming prepared. You want to minimize the amount of surprises upon your arrival. Learn about the recruiting process here, which is different from the one in your home country, and think how you can sell yourself better to American employers. Learn about Academics – what classes are offered and what is expected from you. Learn about New York. One student wrote: “get all your stuff sorted out before coming here and enjoy the ride.”

Yes, have a big party before you leave. Trust us on this one. A long cruise in the Caribbean won’t hurt you either.

Once you get here, make time to explore the city before orientation starts. You won’t have much time for it afterwords. The best way to know your new neighborhood is simply to walk around or take the bus. If you live around Columbia, take the M104 bus downtown. It will go on Broadway and take you all the way to Times Square and the United Nations. We will also have guided walking tours around Columbia during international orientation. Getting familiar with your surroundings will significantly reduce your inevitable feeling of disorientation.

3 responses to “Twelve Tips for International Students

  1. Fantastic goods from you, man. I’ve remember your stuff previous to
    and you are just extremely magnificent. I really like what you have got here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which in which you assert it.
    You’re making it enjoyable and you continue to care for to stay it wise.

    I can’t wait to learn far more from you. This is really a tremendous

  2. May I simply just say what a comfort to discover somebody that
    genuinely knows what they’re discussing on the internet.
    You certainly realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    More people must check this out and understand this side of your story.
    I was surprised you’re not more popular since
    you most certainly have the gift.

  3. Hi would you mind letting me know which hosting company you’re working with?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different web browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most.
    Can you suggest a good hosting provider at a reasonable price?
    Thank you, I appreciate it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s