The Global Nomad's Guide to University Transition

Practically Speaking

This is a preview to the chapter Practically Speaking from the book The Global Nomad's Guide to University Transition by Tina L. Quick.
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If you have been progressing through this book by reading from front to back cover, you should at this point:
  • Understand that you are a third culture kid (TCK)/global nomad (GN) and have a sense of the influence that has had on your life.
  • Know that you are going through the stages of transition. You know what to expect and you understand that your wildly fluctuating emotions and sense of chaos are all a normal part of the process. And best of all, you know how to deal with it. (If not, go back and re-read!)
  • Know what you need to do to enter well. You understand how important it is to find a good mentor.
  • Have strategies for finding friends and building relationships.
Now let’s look at some of the practicalities of attending college or university.

Get Ready, Set…Go!


You are about to undergo a rite of passage, a coming of age, a transition which takes you from adolescence to adulthood. You will be leaving behind the rules and the dependence that go with childhood and stepping forward to gain the freedom and independence of young adulthood. Other than budgetary restrictions imposed by those who hold the purse strings (your parents or caretaker or college financial aid office), you are free to decide what to do about most aspects of your life – your bedtime hour, what you eat, what you do in your spare time and where you go.

This is for Real!


Along with this new-found independence comes responsibility for your actions. You must face the consequences of poorly-made decisions and rash behavior. One mother tells each college-bound son or daughter, “Before you make a choice, take a decision or act on something, ask yourself three questions:

1) Will it hurt me?
2) How will my parents react to what I’ve done?
3) Can I live with the consequences of my actions?”

Preaching aside, there are many preparations to be carried out before leaving home. Some things, such as building your RAFT, have been mentioned in previous chapters, but there are other practical things you can do to prepare yourself for landing and settling in well.

Be the Tourist


Because this is such a major factor in repatriation and transition, I remind you again to consider buying a travel guide to your home (or next host) country. Treat this country the way you would a foreign one. Don’t assume you know everything. I reiterate the story of my husband’s colleague who gave us the guide for international newcomers to Boston, where we are now living. Even though we had been coming back every one to two years I didn’t notice the changes until we were here to live full-time. I would even go so far as to suggest purchasing a book written for foreign students such as Charles Lipson’s Succeeding as an International Student in the United States and Canada or G. Davey’s The International Student’s Survival Guide: How to Get the Most from Studying at a U.K. University. Both books have a wealth of information on the culture and practical aspects of living as a college student in the country of their expertise.

Think Ahead


Eliminate unnecessary stress. Get as many practical things in place as early as possible. The following list offers a few suggestions, but you or your parents are likely to come up with more:
  • Sign up for first semester course selections.
  • Decide what to pack, leave behind, put in storage or give away.
  • Make a list of what needs to be purchased on arrival. Stores such as Bed, Bath and Beyond have lists you can pick up when you enter the store. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need everything on the list. My daughters typically buy what they know they will need for certain and wait to finish their shopping until they see what their roommate has brought that they can share such as a TV, mini-fridge, microwave, area rug, mirrors, etc.
  • Call your assigned roommate to get to know him or her and also to talk about who can bring what for the room or apartment.
  • Formulate a realistic budget with your parents. Besides tuition and room and board (which they may take care of on their end), there is also the cost of text books, socializing, health care, weekends spent away, transportation and more. What are the expectations?
  • Discuss banking arrangements such as money transfers, credit or debit cards, checking and savings accounts.
  • Decide how you will communicate with your family. Will you use some form of Skype or other internet provider or a long-distance call plan?
  • Think about cell phones. Is there a family share plan you can piggyback onto from extended family in your home country?

Activities of Daily Living

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