Rutgers Class Helps International Students Make Themselves at Home

Anusha GUPTA RU FIT Photograph with glasses

RU-FIT, a transformative, one-credit course, helps international students navigate nuances of Rutgers – and the United States

Like many just beginning life at college, first-year student Anusha Gupta was nervous. For Gupta, though, last fall didn’t just mark her first time on campus.

It was her first time in the United States.

“I was obviously as lost as any freshman on this huge campus,” said Gupta. “I didn’t know where the resources were. And I felt the culture shock that people used to say I might face – I didn’t know the common slang and ways of communicating here.”

Research suggests that the first-year experience for international students is crucial to success at college. Now a sophomore, the New Delhi native has settled into a psychology major and even wants to write a few novels on the side.

Gupta credits RU-FIT, or Rutgers First-year International Transition, a one-credit mandatory course designed to aid international students enrolled in the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering, and the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers-New Brunswick to successfully transition to life at Rutgers and in the United States. The course, taught by Rutgers juniors and seniors – many of whom come from other countries themselves –  connects students with Rutgers resources and promotes engagement with others in and outside the classroom.

“RU-FIT made me aware of the large international student body at Rutgers and the organizations that are ready to assist me,” she said.

Anu Gupta, assistant dean of International Academic Success at Rutgers Global, collaborated with faculty and staff across Rutgers to create this course with a clear intention. 

“The ultimate goal of RU-FIT is to assure preparedness by helping students to understand what it means to academically succeed at Rutgers,” she said.

But academic success can differ across cultures, and classroom norms can vary. RU-FIT's instructors demystify the university’s expectations, including Rutgers’ Academic Integrity Policy, a policy that outlines how to properly cite other works or contributors and violations for plagiarism.

“I was aware of academic integrity through the module we were required to complete before coming to Rutgers, but this course further explained expectations and consequences – and also made us aware of the honor pledge,” said Gupta.

Time management and study skills are other important aspects of succeeding at college.


Read More about RU-FIT at Rutgers Today