By: Divyanshu Raheja, 1st year HPM
Since I am an international student, I did not know much about the city. My first semester simply zipped by while I was trying to adjust to the American life. I went to as many social events as I could whether is be clubs events, picnics, dance parties, house parties. The best way to get to know people is to go out and explore as much as you can. Though some experiences may come as a culture shock to you as an international students, your experience exploring Atlanta will be fun and help you learn more about American culture and its people.
You will make friends that you like, though it may take some time an effort (especially, if you are an introvert like me!). Your first semester is the time to be outgoing, relax, and adapt to the surroundings, while adjusting to your new academic setting. My advice is to find people with similar interests by joining clubs and activities. I joined the Emory Salsa Team called Calentura since I am fond of dancing. You can also join group fitness classes at the WPEC, to meet people while exercising!
Remember to be on track with all your assignments and projects. As long as you manage your time, you will do well in your time at Rollins. Most TA’s and professors are very helpful, so feel free to reach out to them when you have a doubt. Health Policy & Management exams are not too tough, as long as you study and put in some effort. As you study, remember to keep thinking about how you can actually apply what you learn. For example, I am taking a class in qualitative data research methods and I took up a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) position for the semester, in qualitative data analysis. This helped me connect what I had previously learned in class to a real world application, thereby understanding the subject in a much better way.
There are plenty of job opportunities around Atlanta, but it takes effort to apply to these and find the right ones.International students are eligible for the REAL award in the spring semester and can work on campus for up to 20 hours/week. If you plan to work in the fall semester, do start applying way before you arrive on campus. Do all your research and keep checking the careers page of all Emory associated health organizations e.g. Emory Clinic, CHOA, etc. This semester I have the REAL award and am working as a public health educator. I am also a part of the Directed studies program at Emory Clinic. Other than that, I am a GRA for an HIV-based study. It is never to early to think about your career after graduating from Rollins. As you learn the subject, your goals and interests will change with time. Explore different areas and find your own interests. Public Health is a broad field and there are many diverse opportunities. Tip: You can also work at the library if you need some extra money.
If you are an international student or even if you have come to Georgia from a different state, you may feel homesick. This is completely natural! Your home, friends and family are miles away and you are going to miss them. Give yourself enough time to understand the city and its people. It is alright to feel overwhelmed by too many new changes, your peers will be going through the same thing. Make sure you meet people and don’t isolate yourself in this new environment. Eating right and taking care of yourself are the two most important things to do. Do things that make you happy and join activities that you like. As long as you are happy, you will be able to focus on your academics and career goals (which is why you came here!).