Tuesday, July 14, 2015

How to Make Friends in the U.S.

By Sunday Paul Adah
Student Ambassador, Brigham Young University – Idaho

I’m having a blast at Brigham Young University – Idaho. I started school here in the spring of 2015, and I am loving it. It was so cold and discouraging when I first got here, but with the help of some new friends, I’ve adjusted and now I’m having fun.

In my experience, being in a foreign country without friends and family is very hard. The first few weeks on campus were exhausting. Trying to fit in and learn my schedule was a crucial task. I felt like I wasn’t going to last. Sometimes I didn’t fit in; I was the only African in most of my classes and this made me feel lonely and lost. 

It all changed on one fateful day as I learned the importance of going out of my way to do things to get me involved. I want to share with you a few tips about how to feel more accepted and included.

My school has a program called “Get Connected” – a kind of welcome social or party for incoming freshmen. Most colleges in the U.S. have similar programs. These programs are designed to help new students meet and interact with one another, and also to introduce them to upperclassmen. It’s an avenue to make friends – to help you adjust and get started in a new place.

I also found out that there are various student organizations on campus. I joined the African Heritage Association. There I met people from my country and from all across Africa, many of whom had been in the U.S. for a while. The people I met through the African Heritage Association helped me adjust to the academic lifestyle in the U.S.

Brigham Young University – Idaho has activity nights. All upcoming activities are posted on the school`s website, and they have a column for upcoming events on the homepage that is very helpful. By going to those activities I was able to meet new people, some of whom have become good friends.

In my opinion, the best way to adjust to life in the U.S. and make friends is by attending whatever programs your school is organizing for incoming freshmen. Join an academic, cultural or athletic group on campus. Bookmark the activity page on your school’s website, visit it frequently and make time to go to activities that fit your schedule. Finally, if you’re the type that’s interested in physical activities, you might want to hang out at the school gym or the local gym in your area.

Sunday Paul Adah studies sociology at Brigham Young University – Idaho, where he is a member of the class of 2019. He is from Ibadan, Nigeria.

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