I currently work at Baylor's Center for Global Engagement, where I spend every day helping students study abroad and work out their immigration issues.Through this, I have met some of my best friends, along with plenty of characters. I'd like to be sure I'm clear: I love international students. You are invaluable to universities; I can not tell you how much I appreciate learning from you about your culture and worldview.
That being said, there are some things that we see all the time from international students.
Before I start you should know there are three types of international students: semester students; undergraduate students (typical four-year students) and graduate students. These each apply to one or more of the categories!
1. The Traveler
They are determined to visit every major city near the place they study abroad for less than $10. Try to join their spring break trip because it will probably be awesome!
2. The Foreigner
Wants to study at an entirely English-speaking university with limited working proficiency in English.
3. The One Who Swears They're Legal
Terrified of getting deported, any conversation you have with them, they relate it back to their visa status and how they are in constant fear of getting kicked out of the country.
4. The Expert
Has done a crazy amount of research on where they’re studying, so will be in pretty good shape when they get here. However, random small things will throw them off (tip: pretend that groundhog day is a HUGE DEAL. They will probably believe you.)
5. The True American
You can only tell that this person is an international student when they tell you. May have an American passport or one or more American parents but have never lived in the US.
6. The One Who Is "So Cultured"
They think that it is necessary to have a detailed knowledge of their culture, and the cultures of everyone you meet for that matter. Don’t worry, they’ll tell you everything you need to know and then some.
7. The Partier
They’re pretty much only here for the party. Probably spending their last semester of college here, they rarely go to class and know the bar scene better than you. Will probably get kicked out of a bar for asking an off-duty cop for illicit drugs.
8. The Enthusiast
Really excited to experience American culture. They will join every club and have more friends than you have now after their first week of school. These students are most likely only here for a semester, so they want to get as much out of their experience as they can!
9. The Typical Student
This person is your typical student. They are proud of where they are from but do not need that part of them to stand out from the crowd. They fit perfectly into your school’s culture and are awesome friends! Probably here for the full four years.
10. The Visa Chaser
This person is concerned about staying in the country after they graduate, so they’re REALLY anxious to get that “ring by spring” so they don’t have to leave or find a company to sponsor them.
11. The Studier
This person takes the “study” part of “study abroad” a bit too seriously. They never leave their room and rarely experience the U.S. outside of the classroom.
12. The Terminally Confused
They are always in awe of the American culture. Small, new things make them really excited, and cultural nuances that they should know by their second year still puzzle them.