Back to New York and The Life of an International Student :)

     Hi Blog!

   Classes are back, I guess this semester will be fun with some Sculpture class I am taking.My goal its still 3 years away BUT I am NEVER giving up.  :]  
   I know that I probably talked over here about how it is to be an International Student ( f1 student ) in the U.S. Today I made a list about the pros and cons of being an International Student in New York based on my own experience. 


1- Learning a new language.
 So, you think you can speak English only by watching TV series? come to the U.S! lol When I moved here, I realized I knew nothing. Americans in general speak really fast! 
When you are able to communicate your ideas clearly, discuss random topics with other people and answering the phone (for me, this was one of the hardest things to understand while learning English haha, I would leave the phone ringing and go straight to the voice mail), then you can say you learned the language. It is an awesome feeling. Don’t ever forget: ”Knowledge is power.”

2- Meeting people from all over the world.
You get to travel without moving. How amazing is that? Through my English classes (ESL) I met people from various countries and every time we all sat together to talk, our different accents, experiences and behaviors came along. It was incredible.

3- Going to new places, tasting new food and a culture totally different from yours.
Inside the U.S, plane tickets are relatively cheap and you get to go to places you never imagined that existed. In 3 years and 6 months living here, I’ve been to 11 states and went back (I’ve been there when I was 14y old) to Disney world for Christmas in 2010! I love that place so much!! *__*
Food wise, U.S is not a good place. It is all about fast food, hamburgers and junk food in general. If you don’t watch yourself, it is easy to turn into a ball after living here.

4- Getting maturity and knowing who YOU are and WHAT is your life philosophy/goals.  
You come here alone and your experience shapes your true self.
In my home country I never washed dishes or even folded clothes. I had maids my whole life and,when I came here, I was the maid myself. Was that a bad thing? Absolutely not. Working for others I learned three things for life; 
1- To value every single person. It does not matter if you are my boss, the delivery guy, the nanny or the janitor. Everyone should be respected regardless their positions. 
2- Don’t fight with small minded people. Your work doesn’t necessary define you and you don’t need to prove anything to ANYONE. People who truly care about you, will always support you.
3- NEVER be ashamed of what you do. Work hard, be motivated to grow and learn. Pay off your bills and keeping moving forward.

5- Focusing on a goal and using all your inner strength to pursue it.
Life is short. Without goals we don’t have motivation to enjoy it properly. 🙂

6- Breathing when one more step is concluded and feel proud of yourself after it.
That feeling of satisfaction when all your efforts lead you to the achievement of your goal. 
I remember the day I got my TOEFL results and how happy I felt. 
Also, I remember the feeling of being accepted to an American college! 
English is not my first language and the fact I would talk and study (at an academic level) made me feel so so so happy! 😀  …And I know, for sure, more happy moments will still be coming but in bigger doses 🙂


Unfortunately, and paraphrasing that old saying ”All that glitters is not gold”, living in a foreign country can be extreme challenging (emotionally).

1- No emotional support. 
We are all alone. Fortunately in my case I have a boyfriend which also happened to be my best friend, so every time I am feeling sad, homesick or confused about my goals here, I talk to him and his feedback is an immediate fuel -and also a reminder why I came here at the first place.

2- No real jobs. 
International students in the U.S aren’t allowed to work unless its on campus( after the first year in college and it can only be a maximum of 20 hours per week on the minimum wage ). By the way, I applied for campus jobs since when I got here -guess if they hired me? nope. Americans and who-know-who-inside-of-the-department will be always first option.
(next post I will write about jobs on campus, OPT, CPT and H1b visas).

3- Tuition and Fees are usually 3x more expensive for International Students.
Yes! 3x more and I am not even joking. Oh, I forgot to mention that we are not allowed to have full scholarships and financial aid.

4- Ignorance.
When I tell people I am Brazilian they assume I walk around naked, know everything about soccer, love carnival and live in a jungle. lol Yeah! Sometimes I tell them I have to swing vines to move to one place to another because we don’t have cars and I also have too many friends, but they are all monkeys since they are my close neighbors. lol

5- The Green Card Fairy Tale.
Some people come here with a dream, some people come with goals and some people come with empty ideas. 
Unfortunately some of the first, and definitely 100% of the third group, made us (foreigners) look like ”Green Card Hungers”. 
I think its funny when someone asks me if I am with my boyfriend because of the citizenship or why I don’t get married tomorrow. 
People, listen carefully: If I am on a student visa and going to college, that means I am paying a lot to support myself here, right? Do you know there are many Americans who sell their own ”marriages” with foreigners because they need money? Do you think buying a marriage and selling your dignity is more expensive than going to college and supporting yourself as an International student? The answer is… NO! 🙂 If I wanted to do something ilegally, I would have done, but I am here for almost 4 years and every step I accomplished was with LOTS OF EFFORT, mine and from my biggest supporters:my parents.
Marriage? Yes! I want it, but when we both feel prepared and financially stable for the next step. It does not matter if it is in the U.S, in Japan, Brazil, China…  

6- It is hard.
But you know what? It is not impossible! You chose to study in a different country, so you face different obstacles. Being out of your comfort zone it is not -and it will never be easy! So, after reading all I wrote, watch this video that ALWAYS inspire me to keep moving forward and conquering the world! 😀

  Good Night and Awesome dreams 🙂 Have a nice week.




9 thoughts on “Back to New York and The Life of an International Student :)

  1. Great ideas.. But the working part you need to get an update… If you are in college, when you graduate you are entitled to a few months (or double the amount if you are in tech or science majors) of OPT, which is sort of a working Visa. However, you can apply for a CPT, which is an OPT WHILE you are still studying. You can work on your field and get experience.. The hours will be cut from your total time of OPT after you graduate, but as someone that graduated here and had the experience of OPT, I honestly suggest any international student to DO IT. You only have 90 days to find a job after graduation in order to keep your opt, and without experience I can asure you will not get it. It is really hard, and if after 6 months you do not find anything, the school cancels your OPT. Not many students know about this feature on the F1 visa, and it is so important to know about it because it is your big chance to land on a Work Visa in the future (if that is your goal).

    Hate the greencard label too, by the way… Pisses me the hell off!


  2. Jamile, thanks for your comment and I knew it already :] Next post I will write about about working on campus, OPT, CPT and H1bs specifically :] My post was focused on the first year experience and a bigger picture of mine itself. What major/ course are you studying?


    • Sorry Liana I was just googling my name today to get rid of some accounts I don’t use anymore and I came across my comment on your blog… At the time I had graduated from Exercise Science and Physical Education with a Bachelor’s in Science. I am now finally back at school, after getting my greencard, and now I am in Respiratory Therapy field.
      I have to just repost this article on facebook because just rereading it I feel it is so important.

      Sorry for answering only 2 years later 😀 I did not see your answer before!

      Hope you are doing great, wish you lots of success in this new year!


      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Li, I rode ur blog! Its gorgous how long u're writing about your life here:) You see, u regret a little that u didnt comming here before hight school ! So what I can say when I came here after studies. Yes, we would like safe a lost time for us present goals but who knew…? Nobody can predicted future:( so maybe finally time for forgive! 2-5-even-10 years comparison to the whole life is just a little bit:) BTW Your blog is very interesting and it is easy reading but in the reality everything was not so easy how we read (I think). Soo here I have a lot of question: 1. How did you improve your english? Do you have any special way or course which u can recommend? 2.When first time did you start thinking about study here and how many time did you need prepared yourself to TOEFL exam? 3. Everything about TOEFL exam: Did you take class before exam? It was time when u been au-pair? How hight level of english did you have when u came here? How many points u needed to get study? It was really difficult? 4.Okey, You pass exam what is next…? They need from you any extra exams or credits? How looks general a main recruitment ? I know that every school have own different and I know I can find everything on-line, but just I would like to know how its was look from student side. 5. Money, money, money…How much do you need study here? And do u know if the financial assistance and work on campus will can help with pay for school? Ok, if you are citizen the price is very low, but what about them recruitment. They are supposed to have a credits from courses, classes itd Exatly I will find more question but maybe it is enought. Hope to see u a new coments on ur blog:)


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