Welcome to America: Finding a Home as an International Student in the San Francisco Bay Area

It’s finally happening! After months of applying and waiting, weeks of packing, and planning, and goodbyes, your plane lands at San Francisco International Airport. You make your way through U.S. Customs and out to catch an Uber to your dorm. You’ve finally arrived as a new international student in the San Francisco Bay Area!

Congratulations and Welcome to America!!

Whether you are a new student at UC Berkeley, Stanford, San Jose State, San Francisco State, or another one of the 50 schools in the San Francisco Bay Area, we are SO excited that you are here! We are Bridges International, a community of Americans and internationals who are passionate about creating caring communities for international students from around the world.

So, to welcome you to America, here are our top five tips for finding a home as an international student studying in the San Francisco Bay Area!

  1. Take time to “nest”

    “Nesting” is a common expression in America that means creating comfortable spaces by decorating them. It can feel a little daunting to decorate a new space, but taking time for put pictures of the wall or display sentimental items from your home country will help you feel more at peace in your new house. A little tip: when hanging pictures and decorations make sure you use tape that won’t damage the walls or paint in your room. You may lose your security despot if there is damage.

  2. Continue with your hobbies

    Make a list of the things you love doing at home: writing, reading, watching tv, playing a sport or an instrument. Then make time in your schedule to do these things you enjoy. It can be tempting to fill all your free time with studying, but taking breaks is important and can increase your productivity. Plus, continuing your hobbies from your homeland is a great way to become more comfortable in the US.

  3. Try new things

    One of the most exciting part of studying abroad is being in a new place, a new culture. Make the most of this opportunity by making a list of things you want to try while you are in America and finding a group of friends who will try them with you. Stepping out of your comfort zone is a great way to grow.

  4. Create a routine

    Routines are incredibly stabilizing in times of transition. Make a schedule to follow everyday; include things like exercise and social activities. It is also helpful to set you alarm for the same time everyday… and not pressing the snooze button! This will help you adjust to the time zone and the lifestyle you want to have while you are in America.

  5. Find a community

    We all know the most important part of any home is the people you share it with! Finding deep, meaningful friendships takes time and intentionality but it’s worth it! Bridges is a great place to find friends from around the world. We are passionate about creating rich communities for people from all backgrounds. Plus we offer lots of opportunities to make friends: from picnics and hiking, to small group Bible discussions, we hope you find a home away from home, a place of belonging while you are here!

We are praying for you as you begin your new adventure, here in the Bay Area! May you find a surprising new home while you are here!