Though Serena Zheng from Canada has yet to step foot on the University of California—San Diego campus, the first-year international student, who has been learning online from home, has already planned how she will stay connected with family and friends once she does attend in person. While she will only be about a six-hour flight from Toronto, she knows that constantly staying in touch with home can also bring peace of mind to her parents.
“With the recent shootings and hate crimes that took place in the U.S., parents of international students have become increasingly worried about their children’s safety when they are off by themselves,” says Zheng, who is majoring in economics and mathematics.
For prospective international students, staying connected with friends and family is a top priority and concern, says Rohan Pasari, co-founder and CEO of Cialfo, a technology platform connecting students, universities and counselors around the world.
Cialfo recently surveyed more than 3,800 international high school students and found that 44% of students who chose not to study abroad for higher education cited remaining closer to family as their primary reason for not going.
Experts say planning to stay connected in advance can help ease some of those concerns.
“Whether it’s a recurring weekly catch-up, a spontaneous monthly video call or a Netflix party to watch your favorite show, there are a couple of things to consider early on that will make these connections much easier,”…