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If You Plan to Study in the US, Get Used to Working in Groups

Being an American student is totally different from being a Kyrgyz student.

I have realized that here, in America, the relations between classmates with each other and teachers are much easier than in Asia. Teachers in American educational institutions are more likely to be friends with students. Student-teacher relationships in my country are much colder, direct and official.

The other thing I found is that students are more open in America too, even though the students in the average class are very different in all respects: different nationalities, cultures, types, and ages. In my country, it is more likely that any class will have students of ages and nationalities that do not vary that much.

[Read last week's Question of the Week: How hard is it to keep up academically with American classmates?]

It is also easier to keep in touch with the other students, and in some classes it is actually important to have good relationships with your classmates. For example, it is finals week right now, and everybody is working on their final projects, exams, papers, etc. I am doing my semester project for accounting class, and I am trying to do it with my classmates, because it is time consuming if you do it yourself.

[Read more tips on getting through exams in the U.S., by Tara]

Some projects will actually require you to work in a group. American schools think it is important to teach their students how to work in a team, and sometimes assign group project. So, the very vital tip is to always be sociable, especially in your classes, so you are always ready to work in a group.

[Chris has found that group work is less common in grad school]

Before coming to the U.S., I thought it would be quite tough to get used to all these "American interactions" with students and teachers. But now I know that there was nothing to worry about. Because Americans, as a nationality, are very communicable and are always ready to help you, no matter what nationality or how old are you. Being nice and sociable to everyone is the key.

This is one of the most important lessons I got being an American student, and I think students who want to study in the US should be prepared for this.