Having a good knowledge about the college you plan to attend is crucial when ‘college searching.’ It prepares you for the future and helps you know what to expect after gaining admission into the college. Coming to the United States as an international student, without a family can be scary. This is especially true if you have no prior knowledge about the country. In this post, I have outlined the 5 facts you need to know about Berea College as an international student. After all, this will be your home for the next 4 or 5 years (depending on if you get an extra year)
- Berea College is in the middle of Nowhere: Berea College is in Berea City Kentucky, which is located in the southern part of the country. If you lived in the big cities in most countries in Asia or Africa, you might find it hard getting used to the scenery. It is located in the countryside and there is no access to public transportation. Students who want to leave the city usually ask the few people in the college that own cars for rides. This would be in exchange for buying them lunch, or paying for their gas. There is however the Foothills company, which is a bus service. It has pick/stop locations, and you have to call at least two days in advance to book a ride.
- Berea College is a very small School: You might be used to seeing large populations in colleges and universities. Some could have as much as 200,000 students enrolled. Berea College however has only an estimate of 1600 students. In Berea, everyone knows everyone, and there is a high chance that even people you don’t know, know about you.
- Berea College is not Big on Social Life: Gaining admission into Berea College as an international student is a big feat. However, the school is not known for their social endeavors. It has no fraternity or sorority. Neither does Berea College allow alcohol on campus. In a lot of countries, the drinking age is as low as 13 years. In the United States, the drinking age is 21 years. However, even at that age, Berea prohibits its students from having alcohol. I once had a roommate who was caught with alcohol in the room during a periodic search in the middle of the semester and they were given a social probation.
- International Students all Live on Campus: If you are not big on campus life, then I hate to break this to you. As an international student, you are required to live on campus (no matter your age). In Berea College most students are required to live on campus, however if you are above 23 you are qualified to apply for off campus housing. This includes the ecovillage which is mainly for people married or for people with kids. When you qualify for off campus housing, the school provides you with a certain amount of money. International students however have a different budget and are not qualified for this.
- Time Management is Key: Berea College requires students to work for a minimum of 10 hours a week. Failure to meet this requirement at the end of the semester (without a tangible reason) usually results in Labor Probation, which could potentially lead to suspension. As an international student, you are also required by law to be enrolled in not less than 4 credits to be a fulltime student. In addition, Berea has labor meetings every Tuesday evening and an event known as convocations even Thursdays. Convocations are events students attend where a guest speaker teaches on a particular topic for about an hour, with 15 minutes allocated to questions. Convocations are usually interesting, and can be controversial. Students are required to attend a minimum of 7 convocations per semester at the penalty of a social probation. As a result of all the requirements mentioned above, it is imperative that international students manage their time well. As an international student, if you fall behind on any of the above and go into probation, you could be suspended. Suspension leads to a loss in your F1 status as you will no longer be enrolled in the college. A loss in your F1 status means you are required by law to leave the United States, and I know you do not want that. Imagine getting back home in an Asian household and telling your parents that you lost a free opportunity to study in the USA for failure to attend a convocation. I guarantee you that conversation will not go well.
- Freshmen Usually Work in Facilities: As a freshman, you most likely will have a job in facilities. This would be either as a cleaner or as a groundskeeper. This is because freshmen usually get the jobs that no one wants, and most Berea College students are not interested in Facilities Management. In addition, freshmen are not allowed to change their jobs till they become sophomores. But hey, there is no shame in being a cleaner and there is dignity in every labor. Don’t sweat it, but focus on making the best of your time at the College.
Are you interested in studying in the United States, or are you an incoming freshman in a US college? Be sure to check out my Instagram and YouTube Also drop a comment on other questions you have about Berea College or study abroad.