Adelina graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder (’13) in Boulder, Colorado with a Bachelor of Science in news-editorial journalism and a minor in atmospheric and oceanic science. Originally from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Adelina brought only her large suitcase and a big dream of becoming a journalist to the United States.
Adelina is currently the military affairs reporter for The Daily News in Jacksonville, North Carolina. She was previously a crime reporter for The Robesonian in Lumberton, North Carolina and has written for an array of publications in the city of Boulder, including the CU Independent, The Boulder Weekly, 303 Magazine and Delicious Living magazine. Adelina also has experience in managing social media content for The Last Ocean, a nonprofit organization aimed at ocean conservation.
She can be reached via email at [email protected]
When I moved to the United States to pursue a degree in journalism, I had no idea I was about to embark on the biggest journey of my life—literally and figuratively. The years I spent in college were the best years of my life. That being said, college was tough, especially for a girl who grew up in Malaysia.
These are five rules I learned based on my experience that would help any international student with their college career.
Know where your international student office/department is. The counselors at my international student office were a great resource, especially towards the end of my college career when I needed help figuring out visas and employment after graduation. These counselors are trained and experienced in helping international students navigate the sometimes confusing education and immigration system in America. From visas to getting a part-time job, international student counselors are there to guide and help you understand your rights as an international student in a foreign country. Forming a relationship with them as soon as you arrive on campus will be of great help to you in the future.
Get involved. I came to America without knowing a single person on campus. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to have great roommates (who are now some of my best friends) and challenged myself to be a part of the community in Boulder. I chose to go Greek and participated in college choir. Don’t be afraid to find something, whether it’s a club or a sport that you are passionate about, and be involved in it. It gives you some time away from the stress of studying and helps you meet more people with similar interests.
Be in different social circles. I realize sometimes it’s a lot easier for international students to seek out other students who are from the same country or culture but it might also be worth your time to meet people from other cultures. I made a lot of American friends during my time in college and because of that I got to experience Thanksgiving Day with some of their families and learned how to watch American football (Go Broncos!) Also, if you’re an international student with English as your second language, being friends with native English speakers will greatly improve your conversational skills, which could help you with everyday tasks.
Be financially responsible. College isn’t cheap, not even for American students. I juggled between classes, having part-time jobs and even doing internships all in one semester at one point in my college career. Don’t be ashamed to look for jobs. A lot of places on campus such as the bookstore or the dining hall regularly hire students to run the show for them. The pay might not always be great but it helps you put a couple of extra dollars in your pocket for leisure activities or if you’re saving for a trip home to your country. Also, don’t hesitate to shop at thrift shops and use your student discounts when you can, it will save you a lot of money.
Speak up. Classes at public universities are often large and intimidating. This was true for me and it was sometimes worse because I was an international student who was shy and too afraid of sounding silly when asking questions. Teachers love it when students interact in classes and in some courses, participating in classroom discussions help earn grades. Don’t hesitate to raise your hand or sit in the front row and ask questions when you need to, especially when your grades depend on it.