UB international students re-adjust to campus life

Some students find it hard to get back into the semester swing


Some international students who travel back to their home countries during winter recess return to UB feeling less than recharged.

Many international students struggle to adjust with the different time zones and weather conditions after returning back to Buffalo. On-campus resources like the International Student and Scholar Services, Wellness Education Services and the Intercultural and Diversity Center attempt to help students to cope with these barriers.

Sharlynn Daun-Barnett, stress management program coordinator and alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention specialist at Wellness Education Services, said it could be difficult to adjust after going home and returning back to campus.

“Try to get back in a routine and to reestablish whatever sleep routines you need right away,” Daun-Barnett said.

Devashish Agarwal, a sophomore computer science major, traveled to his home city of Agra, India over the winter break.

After getting a lot of sleep, eating a lot and watching TV during break, Agarwal said after returning to the United States he experienced jet lag, which threw off his sleep cycle and eating schedule.

While some students are struggling with the time zone differences, Anvita Upadhyay, a first-year master’s student in electrical engineering from India, finds the transition back to school easy.

When traveling back to her home in Pune, India she said she has no difficulties adjusting, but coming back to school means she has to do everything on her own such as cooking, cleaning and getting used to cold weather.

The Redefining Home Program, which is provided by the International Student and Scholar Services in partnership with Study Abroad and Counseling Services, helps students who are struggling with long-term transitioning.

“The two-hour workshop provides an opportunity for newly arrived international students and recently returned study abroad students to make connections with one another by exploring their shared – and varied – experiences with transition and cross-cultural adjustment,” said Chris Bragdon, an international student adviser and Student Engagement coordinator.

UB alumnus Neil Pednekar from Mumbai, India has participated in programs like these.

“The Student Mentor Program really helped me to get adapted to the conditions in Buffalo,” Pednekar said. “I found a new family in Buffalo apart from India.”

Bragdon said other programs, such as BRIDGES and the Redefining Home Program, help students see they have more in common with other students than they may have previously believed.

UB students who studied abroad over winter break also said getting back to Buffalo was a tough transition.

Daniel Miller, a junior mechanical and aerospace engineering major, returned to campus from a 10-day trip to Israel, which left him feeling jet lagged.

“The main effect was sleeping,” Miller said. “Even now, it has definitely been a harder transition than expected coming back. I’m still having trouble staying awake past 12 a.m., while in the past, it may have been 4 a.m. easily,”

Despite the jet lag, Miller said he is happy to be back.

According to Daun-Barnett, any change in a person’s life causes some stress. UB provides programs to help combat students who may come back into the semester stressed rather than recharged.

Hannah Stein is a news staff writer. The news desk can be reached at news@ubspectrum.com.