New IIE International Student Guide

Note to Editors: Allan Goodman and Stacie Berdan are available for interview, and review copies are available upon request. Quotes and highlights can be provided for educational, travel, financial, parenting or career features.

NEW YORK, April 18, 2016—Why are sports so important in U.S. college culture? Am I allowed to express my own opinions, even if I disagree with the professor? These are some of the most common questions international students ask when they arrive at an American university or college. The United States offers a rich and dynamic higher education system that attracts more international students than any other country in the world. U.S. colleges and universities also actively seek international students to facilitate cultural exchange among students and internationalize their campuses. But the variety offered by the country’s more than 4,000+ colleges and universities can also be a source of confusion.

To help students understand and succeed in the U.S. education system, Stacie Nevadomski Berdan, international careers expert, has teamed up with Allan Goodman, President of the Institute of International Education (IIE), to write their third student guide, Preparing to Study in the USA: 15 Things Every International Student Should Know. 

This new book – available in paperback now and as an e-book in May – offers practical advice and cultural insight to students, including how to:

  • Understand the Value of a U.S. Education: Critical thinking and a liberal education can give international students a competitive edge in the global job market.
  • Identify Resources for International Students: A variety of resources are available for international students seeking or enrolled in U.S. higher education that offer students a wealth of information to ease their integration and immersion, including the U.S. Department of State’s EducationUSA network of advising centers around the world and on-campus resources such as the Registrar’s office, student advisers and health services.
  • Choose the Right School: Public versus private, urban versus rural, small versus large are just a few of the factors explained and important to consider in finding a good fit among the more than 4,000 institutions.
  • Calculate Costs: Tuition, room and board, textbooks, financial aid and scholarships are some of the biggest factors that are involved in calculating the difference between a university’s published price and the net (or actual) cost.
  • Get Involved in Campus Activities Beyond Academics: Taking advantage of the rich array of clubs, sports, interest groups and diverse student population can help students explore new passions and become a more well-rounded and attractive candidate for future employers.  
  • Navigate Campus Life: U.S.-style dorms and dining halls, Greek life, sports and fandom, and a robust party scene found on most campuses may be overwhelming to students who have little direct experience with U.S. lifestyle and culture; therefore, a little explanation and interpretation from fellow students and advisers will go a long way.
  • Stay Safe Far From Home: Being prepared, staying informed and understanding the local laws are critical for dealing with the inherent risks in traveling and living abroad.
  • Get Work Experience in the U.S. After Graduation: Taking advantage of the opportunity for Optional Practical Training (OPT) is one possibility explained for students on an F-1 visa to remain in country after graduation to get valuable work experience in their disciplines.

“International students in the United States are seeking a combination of intellectual and cross-cultural experiences that will prepare them to succeed in the global marketplace. With billions of dollars of funding, cutting-edge research and innovation, and unmatched flexibility on more than 4,700 campuses, the United States offers unparalleled educational opportunities,” say co-authors Berdan and Goodman. “We hope students and their parents will find this book a useful overview and guide to the sometimes confusing array of information available today.”

In 15 short chapters, Preparing to Study in the USA addresses the most critical issues facing international students as identified by U.S. international student advisers, accompanied by three Frequently Asked Questions at the end of each chapter. FAQs include:

  • How can I find out if a school I am thinking of attending is accredited?
  • What if my TOEFL scores do not meet requirements?
  • How do I choose my major?
  • If I want to be a professional, why do I need a liberal arts education?
  • How do I get an adviser?
  • What is academic freedom?
  • Why are sports so important in U.S. culture?
  • Why shouldn’t I live with students from my home country?
  • What do campuses do to help students deal with stress?

Print copies of Preparing to Study in the USA are available from IIE Publications for $4.95 USD, with a steep discount for bulk copies for schools to give out to students (20 copies for $20.00 USD). E-books go on sale for $2.99 in May at IIE Publications. IIE also publishes A Student Guide to Study Abroad,  a comprehensive guide to help American students seeking to study abroad while in college, and the best-selling A Parent Guide to Study Abroad, a companion booklet for their parents, which is available in English and Spanish (Guía para Padres Sobre Estudios en el Extranjero).

About the Authors

Stacie Nevadomski Berdan is an international careers expert and a best-selling and award-winning author of six books on the intersection of globalization and careers. Based on her work in more than 50 countries, she counsels companies on global issues, and speaks frequently on college campuses on the topic of global careers. Dr. Allan E. Goodman is the President and CEO of IIE, the leader in developing and implementing cross-border strategies and programs that harness the power of international education. He is a former professor and Executive Dean of the School of Foreign Service and Professor at Georgetown University. He is the author of books on international affairs published by Harvard, Princeton and Yale University presses.

About the Book

AUTHORS: Stacie Nevadomski Berdan, Dr. Allan E. Goodman
ISBN#: 978-0-87206-386-0
PRICE: E-book: $2.99 (available for sale in May); Paperback: $4.95; Discounts for bulk orders
PUBLISHER: Institute of International Education
PUB. DATE: March 2016

Preparing to Study in the USA is a companion to other student resources supported by IIE, including Funding for United States Study, an annually-updated scholarships directory for international students, and Intensive English USA, an annually-updated directory of English language programs in the United States. IIE also manages complementary databases online at and IIE provides expert management services to the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for EducationUSA, a network of more than 400 international student advising centers in more than 170 countries. The network promotes U.S. higher education to students around the world by offering accurate, comprehensive, and timely information about opportunities to study at accredited postsecondary institutions in the United States. EducationUSA advisers also help U.S. institutional leaders meet their recruitment and campus internationalization goals.

About IIE

The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,400 member institutions.


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