Past Advice from Past International Students

Pre-Departure to San Francisco

  • "Plan and think about your goals and what you want to achieve during the program, otherwise, it’s likely you will just end up spending time and money."
  • "Be open minded and flexible to enjoy your time the most."
  • "Check the weather—I did not realize how cold San Francisco could be because a local friend said it was not cold, even in November. I should have realized the difference between local and foreign students!"
  • "Try and meet people before coming here, e.g. through Facebook. I found it very hard when I got here not knowing anyone and I wish I had made use of the IEEC Facebook group before coming to San Francisco."

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Orientation Week

  • "Be friendly, try new things, and be involved."
  • "Don’t try to force having fun and finding friends."
  • "It’s normal to be homesick from time to time."
  • "Help another exchange student."
  • "Don’t worry too much—everything will be fine!"
  • "Try to learn as much about this culture here as you can."

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Entertainment and Activities

  • "Plan early and take part in activities!"
  • "Figure out how you can enjoy yourself the most—for me, it was by joining the IEEC!"
  • "Fight against daily life, and enjoy each moment consciously, as if it was the last day."
  • "Join the IEEC events! It’s such a great way to meet new people from America and all over the world, and to always have something to do, exploring all over the city."
  • "Go to a lot of events and have fun, but don’t miss school!"
  • "Enjoy as much as you can, meet people, take the most you can out of this experience."
  • "Jump on every experience you can because time goes by way too fast."
  • "Plan all your major trips before you get to San Francisco."
  • "Do a road trip; travel."
  • "Try not to get stuck when people around you are not participating at the same level as you—experience what you can."

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Meeting Friends

  • "Go out and don’t be afraid to meet people. Join the IEEC—especially the officers group—it will also look great on your resume!"
  • "Don’t lock yourself in to one set of friends."

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Housing


    "Get to San Francisco a week before orientation to start looking for housing because looking during orientation week can be stressful. "
    "Find a cheap hostel to stay in so you can stay there for a while if you do not find housing."
    "Don’t work too hard, you are only here for 6 months, so enjoy yourself!"
    "Find a house in a well-connected area (in terms of public transportation)."
    "Never live with the landlord."
    "Make sure you find housing you are really comfortable with and feel at home in—that is important! I was terribly home sick until I moved; now, I don’t want to leave!"
    "Start looking for home before you get to San Francisco."
    "Look for housing early, and do not despair if it does not go well in a week; every day brings better opportunities."
    "Live with roommates, not on your own."

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Banking and Finances

  • "Set up your bank account as soon as possible."
  • "Make a financial/spending plan the first week you get to San Francisco."
  • "If you want to travel, plan to have extra money on top of SF State’s estimated expenses."
  • "You need more money than you think."
  • "Books are very expensive, and have to buy them for most classes."

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Courses

  • "Search for classes as early as possible."
  • "Clear all questions about the course syllabus before in your home university. There’s no guarantee you’re going to have alternatives if you don’t make it in to the classes in the US."
  • "Choose classes that you’re interested in and subjects that your home university doesn’t have because exchange students can choose any class!"
  • "Take subject with a maximum of 3 lecture hours per week. Anything above that is extremely strenuous."
  • "Other students will not help you in class, so don’t rely on them."
  • "Try to group your classes in 2 or 3 days to have long weekends to travel."
  • "Be prepared for a very different education system."
  • "Be proactive in making friends within classes."
  • "Start talking to people in your classes early."

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Depature

  • "It will be difficult to go back home."

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