How can international students make a positive transition to the Brown School?

​It is both thrilling and challenging for international students to study in a different country with different cultures. 

As an international student myself, I understand that prospective international students may have some worries or uncertainties about how to make a positive transition to the United States. I hope these following tips can help you gain an insight into the supportive atmosphere in the Brown School and feel more prepared and relieved.


To help us have a positive transition at the beginning semester, the Brown School provides a lot of support programs, ranging from language proficiency class, professional development workshops, and academic writing workshops. These can quickly make international students feel comfortable in American class and social culture. They also help international students learn skills that will be necessary when looking for the practicum. Personally, I find the following resources are really helpful: 

Communication Lab: 

The Brown School Communication Lab offers workshops and one-on-one advising to enhance students’ professional writing and presentation skills across a variety of formats and media. At the very beginning of the first semester, I had individual advising on assignments and papers nearly once a week. I was concerned about unfamiliarity with different writing construction and format in the United States. The advising helped me quickly strengthen my academic writing skills, helped me practice logical thinking and helped me learn APA writing style. After, I felt more comfortable with assignments and papers so I highly recommend you to use communication lab as much as possible!

Career Services:

Career services help individuals to: identify career goals and align them with the marketplace, conduct self-assessments and resume reviews, learn how to build a professional brand and strategic network, conduct mock interviews, and more. For many international students, documents that are required to apply for practicum or a job in the United States (such as resume, CV, and cover letter) are in a much different form that in their home countries. Career Services offers workshops for writing resumes and cover letters, and also offers interview coaching.  In addition to this, Career Services also hosts a part-time job fair, practicum fair and organizes alumni networking events, which provide valuable opportunities for students to dive into American job market and build their branding and network. This is incredibly helpful for international students who plan to work in the US after graduation.

Field Education:

Social work and public health are applied professions. Having a good fit for practicum is significant for students to develop skills. In the Brown School, every student has a field advisor to help them identify values and connect to practicum resources. International students who take good advantage of these resources will have a lot of support during the practicum search. 


Life in the Brown School is really fast-paced and wonderful. For my first semester in the Brown School, in the second week of September, part-time job fair was launched; in the late October, practicum fair was launched, and we start looking for foundation/ concentration practicum and preparing for interviews. In the meantime, we have 15 credit hour courses and coursework to take. However, DON’T WORRY! Each important event would be informed at least 1-2 weeks in advance and each course would have a very specific syllabus including assignments and the timeline for the whole semester. I find it very helpful to manage time through making the daily, weekly or even monthly plans and get everything organized. For instance, the coursework system we are using, Canvas, automatically shows academic tasks created by professors and you can also add your own projects, or you can use other systems, like your Outlook Calendar.  There are many tools that help us manage our time, so you only need to find your pace and plan ahead!


The Brown School is an amazing place where meaningful changes happen every day. For international students, we are more likely to be exposed to new information which we did not know or possibilities which we did not realize before in our home countries. And it is totally fine to make some changes or adjustments while exploring. For example, I intended to go for a PhD directly after graduation but I did not know the importance for PhD applicants to have post-masters working experience until I talked to some professors in the Brown School. When I firstly realized my prior plan was not feasible , I felt a sense of confusion. Then I talked to my advisors and faculty in my field about my career plan, and made a new plan of working for a few years firstly and then going for a PhD after. With their support, I changed my plan and my direction (and my practicum plans) accordingly. Therefore, coming to the Brown School with an extremely clear plan is definitely great but you do not need to feel nervous or disappointed if changes happen. Please remember that there are always so many resources to support you, and you can be open to explore wonderful possibilities!

The Brown School has been dedicating into building diversity and inclusiveness for international students and trying to help us make a positive transition from home countries to America. I hope my experience here could help you have a sense of how transitions look like and feel much more promising and assured to choose Brown School.