Going to college is an adjustment for any student, especially for a student that is moving to a new country. If you are coming to Syracuse as an international graduate or undergraduate student, here are some things that other international students wish they knew before they came to Syracuse University.

1. Syracuse is not as big of a city as you might expect but there is lots to experience if you know where to look.

Syracuse is a smaller mid-sized city. This might be comforting to some students, but some students did not realize the city itself is not densely populated. A lot of activity in Syracuse revolves around the University community. However, the city has an up-and-coming youthful scene, you just have to know where to look. Facebook events are helpful to find city activities. Many students reminisce of the great times they had exploring the city of Syracuse. Try looking at the Orange After Dark activities that the University offers fun events to students that are on and off-campus. The campus Centro buses make stops downtown and you can ride for free with your student ID. Syracuse has a unique food culture that attracts flavors from all over the world. Be adventurous and try our local spots! When going around the city of Syracuse, there are beautiful areas of culture and life. However, as in any city, there are also some areas that can be dangerous. Be wise, use your street smarts, and don’t hesitate to check with a trusted University resource.

2. Syracuse is not that close to New York City, but transportation options make it easy to explore the region, even NYC.

Many students did not realize how far away New York City is from upstate New York. NYC is not a quick drive away, however, driving is the fastest option, give or take 4-6 hours with traffic. Luckily, if you don’t have a car, you can rent a car with ZipCar or you can take a bus or a train to NYC from the regional transportation center in Syracuse. Be aware that buses and trains take longer than a car ride to NYC from Syracuse.

3. The snow is beautiful, but you need to bring warm winter clothes.

With classes starting in late summer, you’ll get to enjoy the East Coast humidity and beautiful summer weather. But don’t let that trick you, summer turns quickly to fall, and fall turns even more quickly into winter. Due to Syracuse being situated right next to the Great Lakes, we get a heavy amount of lake effect snow dumped on us, making us a contender for the snowiest city in America every year. There is a bone-chilling wind that comes off the lake, so don’t skimp when bringing winter clothes. But if you forget, you can head over to one of the largest malls in America, Destiny USA. Snow days are few and far between at Syracuse. Learn to embrace the snow, you’ll have more fun.

4. Check out the resources for international students.

Acclimating yourself can be hard, but SU offers many programs especially for international students to get comfortable. One particular program for graduate students is signing up for a conversation partner or a conversation group. You meet once a week to discuss any topics you like, helping you with your English, and understanding the American college culture and Syracuse University culture. The writing center is very beneficial to all levels of writers, helping students perfect their papers. Learn about other resources.

5. Get involved!

There are many ways to get involved on campus and make a niche for yourself. Many students say how much smaller and homier the campus feels when you join clubs and activities. To find out about different organizations, you can go to clubs and activities fair which showcases different organizations from sports to art to music to writing to entrepreneurial and many more. If you are interested in Greek Life, joining a sorority or fraternity, there are social, cultural, and professional Greek communities. Getting involved will help you make close friends and add more to your campus experience. For many majors, getting involved allows you to explore your future career in a way that transcends what you do in the classroom. Every week, the campus is full of events, like speakers, sporting events, concerts, and seminars, affording you an enriched college experience.

Syracuse University will provide you with many opportunities to grow and learn as a student. For more information about life at Syracuse University, visit the International Students section on the Syracuse University Admissions website. If you have Falk College-specific questions about international student life, please contact Falk College Admissions.