So, my university has finally started. I hope to become an Astrophysicist one day and I plan to work as hard as possible to make sure that I do so in a decent place. For the first semester, I couldn't get any Physics classes as they were full, but it's all right since I'm able to cross off the core requirements quickly and will get to the juicy part later on. I understand that the 3 most important parts of a grad school application is GPA, research experience and GRE/recommendation letters. I'm not worried about the latter two right now, I am working my hardest to ensure I get the best in the 1st one, however, I'm not so sure about how I'm supposed to get research experience (conferences and paper publication etc.). I will definitely talk to my Physics professors when I start their classes, but is there any other opportunity for an international freshman in the US (maybe during the summer)? Do I just shoot up an email in November to many observatories seeing if they're willing to take me in for the next summer? I heard of REUs which sounded great, but are reserved for American citizens, and I heard it's difficult getting research experience at any university other than my own. My university does have research happened in Astronomy, but I'm looking for options (research, internship) outside of it in case I don't get to work on anything here. Thank you!