Advice for new UGRAD students

Synetic visit 03Reflecting on her year in the United States, UGRAD student Dunja Lazic from Serbia shares advice for the new generation of UGRADs.

  1. Come without prejudice – you’re here to create your own experience, so don’t let stereotypes influence your opinion. If you don’t open your eyes, you won’t see.
  2. Don’t expect a world upside down – notice the differences and learn how to use them. Find something in common with every mentality you come across. The world is so small once you get to know it.
  3. “The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton
  4. Use every day to improve your understanding of the world around you, rather than yourself. There’s so much more to see and know.
  5. Travel as much as you can – there’s always something interesting nearby. Don’t limit yourself to your college or the town/city you’re in.
  6. Try as many different ethnic cuisines as you can – the best way to meet people is by trying their food.
  7. Make friends within but also outside of your college. Make a few real, long-lasting friendships rather than a lot of acquaintances.
  8. Get out of your comfort zone – take initiative. Great things happen once you leave your bubble.
  9. Observe the world around you and compare it to your home country. See what’s different in the people, not the system. Learn about the United States – there’s so much we don’t learn in school.
  10. Don’t complain or be nostalgic, try to make the most of everything you have. If you’re feeling homesick/sad/sick of everything, go away for the weekend and do something different, you’ll feel better.
  11. Learn about American art and literature – we neglect it so much in our euro-centric education. Explore the state you’re placed in, learn what makes it special and different from others.
  12. Enjoy the diversity – make friends from around the world, learn a few words in every language, ask about religion, customs and history. You’ll be surprised how different the world will look like after this experience.
  13. Keep a journal – try to reflect on what you’ve seen/heard/learned so far. You won’t believe how much you’ve changed over time.

And finally, have fun and enjoy your UGRAD experience as much as possible. You deserve it!

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