All posts in University Tips

  • Tips for Harvard University

    harvard university

    Harvard University is one of the oldest universities in the US and has produced no less than eight US presidents. Situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the private Ivy League research university’s history, wealth, and influence make it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

     

    Where to live

    1. Harvard University housing

    Living on campus at Harvard offers many rewards, including easy access to public and Harvard transportation, free high speed internet, laundry facilities, fitness rooms, and after hour’s emergency care. You’ll find an overview of Harvard housing options on their website.

     

    2. Off-campus housing

    It’s good to research what areas are close to Harvard before you go searching for apartment listings off campus. Members of the Harvard community can research off-campus housing on harvardhousingoffcampus.com. You can also search for potential roommates, but first you must register as an incoming student.

     

    2. Homestays near Harvard

    If you’re curious about what life is like for an American family and want to brush up on your English, renting a room in a homestay could be the answer! You’ll get fed each day and have access to laundry facilities. The family will also act as your guide should you have any questions.

     

    Harvard transport

    1. Harvard shuttles

    During the academic year, Harvard offers shuttle services through the Cambridge and Allston campuses. MASCO operates Harvard’s medical school shuttle which runs between the Longwood medical area campus and Harvard University campus.

     

    2. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

    Harvard offers students a 50% subsidy on MBTA passes which form Greater Boston’s public transport system. You can order transit passes for this service and private transfer providers once you’re enrolled on a course.

     

    3. Bike

    Harvard is constantly working to provide a safe, secure campus for bicycles and there are thousands of bike parking spaces, including covered locations where you can secure your bicycle. If you don’t want to purchase a bike, you can join the Hubway Bike Share Program, which has more than 1,300 bikes at 140 stations throughout Boston.

     

    Harvard dining

    1. Campus

    Harvard University Dining Services is the oldest collegiate food service in the US and one of the largest, so there will be no lack of choice when it comes to your dinner! As part of the campus dining experience, Harvard offers a single, unlimited meal plan for students with food made from fresh, quality ingredients.

    They are committed to accommodating people with allergies or special dietary requirements, and students should go to their dining hall manager to discuss their needs. You can explore Harvard’s dining services on their website.

     

    2. Dining out

    There are plenty of great restaurants in Cambridge, including the eclectic and always lively Café Luna on Massachusetts Ave, the excellent Veggie restaurant, Veggie Galaxy and Vegan Bakery, and the upmarket Oleana on Hampshire Street. A great place to start your search is TripAdvisor.

     

    3. Shopping

    If you’re looking for something healthy and organic, try Boston Organics in Harvard square. You can sign up to get a home delivery of fresh produce to your door as often as you like. Market in the Square reputedly sells the best sandwiches and for everything else, you’ll find a Trader Joe’s on Memorial Drive.

     

    Good luck! Don’t forget to download our FREE guide below!

  • Fort Hays State University

    Fort Hays State University

    Originally located on a frontier military outpost in Hays, Kansas, Fort Hays State University was founded in 1902 and is still partly located on a portion of the former military reservation from the fort. The public co-educational university has around 11,200 students attending at the 200 acre campus.

    The university’s Forsyth library has a large collection of fiction and non-fiction on the American West and frontier life and the Sternberg Museum of Natural History houses interactive natural science exhibitions and over 100,000 square feet of dinosaurs, fossils, and prehistoric animals from over 70-90 million years ago.

     

    Where to stay

     1. On campus

    There are various options for first year students who wish to live on campus, and in your first year at university, this is the easiest and most convenient option as you’ll be close to everything.

    McMindes Hall provides housing for 620 students in rooms with private pod-style bathrooms and showers, and has an on-campus dining facility. Other options include Stadium Place apartments, Tiger Hall, Wiest Hall, and the family-friendly Wooster Place. You can research all types of campus living here.

     

    2. Off-campus housing

    If you want to live off campus you can search for an apartment in the areas close to the university in the city of Hays. Living off campus grounds could be cheaper and give you a bit more freedom. You can start your search at abodo.com or apartmentguide.com.

     

    3. Homestay

    Living in a homestay can work out a lot cheaper than living on campus and the experience will be helpful to your English language skills. For a monthly fee, you’ll get a set number of meals per day, a private room and bathroom, and access to laundry facilities. It’s also a great way to get to know the American culture.

     

    Getting around

    1. Tiger Transport

    The free Tiger Transport van will take you from Wiest Hall to the Mall and Wal-Mart and back and runs every half hour from 2pm-7pm Wednesday to Friday and 2pm-9pm on Saturday.

     

    2. Shuttle bus

    The campus is small and the city only has 20,000 people so it’s easy enough to get around on foot or on a bicycle. The university provides a shuttle service for a small fee to take you to and from campus.

     

    3. Biking it

    Fort Hays State University has a bike-sharing scheme called ‘’Take a Bike/Leave a Bike’’  where you can use designated bicycles parked at bike racks for free anytime to get around campus. You’ll recognize these bikes as they are painted blue and gold with an orange flyer and basket.

     

    Food

    1. Campus dining

    All freshmen and sophomores living on campus must participate in a meal plan at Fort Hays State but there are various options to choose from based on your budget and schedule.

    You can use your meal plan at various locations, including Outtakes Snack bar, Starbucks, the Union Station, McMindes Cafeteria, and Mondo’s Subs.

     

    2. Eating out

    Hays is the cultural center of Kansas and you’ll find plenty of cafés, restaurants, steakhouses, diners, and bars. For a budget-friendly dinner try Gella’s Diner and Lb Brewing Co, where the service is rumored to be excellent, and if you’re over 21, you can grab a nice cold beer from their extensive selection.

    For coffee enthusiasts, there’s Union Station on Vine Street or for something more substantial, try TK’s Smokehouse for a BBQ or steak.

     

    3. Grocery shopping

    One of the best ways to save cash as a student is to cook your own meals. There is lots of choice when it comes to grocery shopping in Hays, such as Dillon’s Grocery Stores, Schwan’s Food Co and you can take the free Tiger Transport to the large Walmart Store.

     

    Good luck! And don’t forget to download our free guide for international students in the US below.

  • Tips: Pennsylvania State University

    Pennsylvania state university

    In 2014, Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) had over 95,000 students enroll at its 24 campuses, making it one of the biggest universities in the US. Founded in 1855, Penn State has two law schools, a College of Medicine, 19 Commonwealth campuses, and five Special Mission campuses.  The public research university has an academic record on par with many Ivy-League schools in the US and has been labelled one of the ‘’Public Ivies’’.

    Every year, Penn State hosts a 46 hour dance marathon to raise funds for children and families affected by pediatric cancer. It has become the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, raising $13,343,517.33 alone in 2014.

     

    Accommodation

    1. Campus

    For first year students at University Park, Penn State, living on campus is mandatory. As a freshman, you’ll be sent to live in either North, South, East, West, or Pollock Halls. Once you accept your offer of admission to Penn State, you are in effect signing a housing contract also, which means you’re obliged to live on campus. Here’s more information.

     

    2. Students with families

    Undergraduate students with families can apply to live in the White Course Apartments in University Park. The park features three-bed townhouses and one and two-bed apartments designed for singles, families, and couples. Among the facilities are a community center and garden, children’s play area, and laundry facilities. Eligible students can submit a lease application to be considered for the apartments.

     

    3. Short-stay accommodation

    If you’re on a short trip to Penn State or your family wants to pay a visit, there are a number of good hotels close to campus. The Penn State Conference Hotel offers comfortable rooms close to the university with free Wi-Fi, dedicated work spaces, a fitness center, and a free shuttle service. You’ll find a comprehensive list of accommodation near campus here.

     

    Food

    1. On campus

    If you’re a freshman at Penn State, a meal plan is compulsory, and you’ll spend much of your time eating at the campus dining halls. Once you accept your offer, you can log onto their ‘’eliving’’ website to choose your campus meal plan.

    The dining halls are in the all-you-care-to-eat buffet style but the campus also provides options for casual dining, such as the Blue Chip Bistro, Au Bon Pain, The Nittany Lion Inn, the Penn State Bakery and many more listed here.

     

    2. Cheap eats

    In the mood for something cheap and vegetarian? Pay a visit to Pita Canaba Café to grab a falafel sandwich or a slice of something authentically Middle Eastern like the Lebanese Chipotle.

    For cheap, diner-like food, go to Baby’s Burgers and Shakes on S Garner St and stick a song on the jukeboke as you dig into a juicy burger.

    There are also plenty of Asian restaurants and pizzerias close by, such as Little Szechuan on W College Ave or Faccia Luna Pizzeria on S Atherton St. Check out TripAdvisor or Yelp for a comprehensive list and reviews.

     

    3. Grocery shopping

    There are four major grocery chain-stores located in the State College, including Wegman’s, Trader Joe’s, Weis Markets, and Giant Food Stores. You’ll find a comprehensive list of the big supermarkets here.

    Eat healthy and support local farmers by shopping at The State College Farmer’s Market that takes place from 11.30am-5.30pm on Tuesdays and Fridays, May to Mid-November.

     

    Need some advice on studying in the US?

    Download our free guide for international students in the US below.

  • Internship interview tips

    The end of the school year is just a few weeks away so if you are thinking about starting a summer internship now it’s a good time to start looking for one.

    First thing you need to do is check on the Internet, your university or at a local employment bureau to get a general idea of what’s being offered on the market. When you find something that interests you, don’t hesitate and send your documents. Your resume is the first chance to show an employer that you’ve got the skills and experience that they need.
    It’s your job to make sure it is up-to-date. It would be beneficial if you ask an old employer or a teacher to write you a recommendation. It won’t take long and it will increase your chances.

    When asked for an interview you have to make sure you are well prepared for the meeting, nothing ruins your chances like a bad interview. First impressions play a major role in how you are being perceived by the employer. Don’t be late! Make sure you look nice and clean. When meeting with the interviewer put on your best smile and present yourself. Offer to hand shake, this is a sign of good etiquette. Be confident and show an open body language. What this means is that you shouldn’t cross your arms and legs, this can only make you look bored and reserved. Look towards the person in front of you, eye contact is very important. Don’t just stand there looking around the room, this will show lack of interest and disrespect. Interviewers tend to begin the interview with an open question like “Tell me something about yourself” or “How would you describe yourself” – being an international student you can start by saying something about where you are from; why did you come to the US and why did you choose the major you have chosen; concentrate on the qualities you have that will make you suitable for the position you are applying for, but remember that your answers have to be short and concise, you are not the only applicant for the job and the interviewer may have further interviews to hold.

    Another question that you should be prepared in advance for is “What do you know about our company” or “Why do you want to have an internship in our company”. You should always research the company and position you are interviewing for in advance of the meeting, you should always be prepared and know about the company and its history. Check out the company’s website, recent achievements or awards and positions on the market, any charity work they do. Recent articles written about them.

    Another common interview question is “What qualities do you have that match our requirements for the internship?” – This is a very direct question and very important one. Explain how your academic and previous experience meets their needs; add any additional qualities you may possess that will be beneficial to the position, for example “I’m a very open person and work really well in a team; I’ve worked with clients before and understand the approach a person should have when working with people; My academic achievements will be very helpful for the job, I’ve been taking classes and courses in that field, which gives me the necessary knowledge to understand what I am selling and how it meets the customer’s needs”

    Keep in mind that you should always remain involved. Don’t let it be one way conversation, but also don’t interrupt. When asked about the salary – know your price. This question always makes people nervous, you should research the average salary for similar roles in advance of the interview. Websites such as glassdoor.com provide an overall indication of what company employees earn.

    And one more thing – think about what you are going to say before you answer, stuttering and not well-thought answers can ruin your chances of securing the internship.

    Put on your best smile and be confident!

  • Tips for International Students on getting Scholarship and advantages to have it

    “Once upon a time…” and  “Happily ever after” are the core parts of every fairytale.

    Getting a scholarship can help make a fairytale a reality for your University life as an international student in the USA.

    Here are some tips on getting a Scholarship and advantages it can bring:

    Research – Find and apply for as many scholarships as you can – it’s free money for your education! Start researching early, meet deadlines, and you may be on your way to scholarship success. You can check the information about scholarships in several ways, for example contacting the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend, the public library or even online. Just be careful, double check everything and make sure the offers you receive are legitimate.

    Keep a record of all the documents – This is very important and can be applied to all paperwork involved with becoming an international student in the US..

    Meet the terms and conditions for applying for a Scholarship – Usually you can not apply until you have been accepted into the course. You can pay your tuition fees and travel expenses without a scholarship. That way, if you do win a grant, you can pay back your local bank loan or have a bit of extra spending money.

    Apply for as many as you can – yes, it will take a bit more time, however it is free of charge and it will increase your chances.

    Be yourself – Personalize your essay or letters to the principal – do not let somebody else to write it. Do not rush yourself – just take your time, be positive and steady. Don’t forget to list all of your awards, community work and career experience. And of course to mention your impact on other people and values that you have.

    Give to your online profile a professional look – Google your name and make sure that there is nothing disturbing in the results. Use a professional email address (for example firstname.lastname@gmail.com). Clean up the content of your online accounts, removing inappropriate and immature material.

    Make a photocopy of your application before mailing it – Send the application by certified mail, return receipt requested or with delivery confirmation.

    Have a back up plan – The scholarship amount will not cover all your expenses .Even if you are lucky enough to get a full scholarship, you will still have a lot of expenses (like food, traveling, books, entertainment etc)

    Good luck!

    Retaining your Scholarship is as important as receiving one you should also always remember that the next step after getting a Scholarship is beginning your career.

    Use every single moment to attract the admiration of your teachers with bright ideas and a smart approach.

     Attend all classes and always be punctual – this will make a good impression. The professors role is to teach and test you. Show them your respect and be on time.

    Get involved in campus activities – There is no better way to practice a new language and make more friends than by simply throwing yourself into real campus life. Check the opportunities that the University offers and maybe you will discover something that you really like and makes you feel happy.

    Spend more time with your roommates/dorm-mates – Having life in a foreign country and being an international student can be a stressful but exciting experience. It’s your choice how successful and worthwhile you make it. Roommates and dorm-mates will be the people you see the most during your freshman year. They are the golden source that can help you become familiar with American life quickly, to improve your English and to make the USA feel like a second home.

     And one more thing – do not forget to share all of your good experiences with us afterwards. We would love to hear your fairytale.

     Remember with or without scholarship, there are so many ways to make your time studying abroad amazing.

     

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