Common Do’s and Don’ts for Students Moving to The United States of America | GyanDhan

Published date: 11 Feb 2019 Updated on: 06 Apr 2020 The United States has since long been the preferred destination for Indian students who want to study abroad. However, a recent analysis by NFAP notes that the “the number of international students from India enrolled in graduate-level programs in computer science and engineering declined by 21%, or there were 18,590 fewer graduate students, from 2016 to 2017”. Though there is a dip in the number of Indian students going to the U.S, it still remains the number one choice of all those Indian students who aspire to study outside the country. With the fall season almost here; thousands of Indian students are currently busy packing their bags, with butterflies in their stomach. The United States, like all countries, poses a few challenges (both academic and social) for international students and thus students need to be prepared for their new life in a foreign country. In this article; we will discuss some common do’s and don’ts for those students who are on the verge of moving to the U.S for their degrees. Let us first list down a few basic do’s that are absolutely necessary for an Indian student when moving to the U.S: 1. Things to do Before your Flight Ensure that the US School you have been accepted to has proper authorization and adequate student intake. Buy your wardrobe essentials from India itself. Apart from mandatory everyday wear, do not forget to pack in clothes for formal events like presentations or meetings. Once your clothes are sorted, move your attention to books that you would need during your study. Get in touch with the seniors of your college or University personnel and find out about the books that need to be purchased. Since books are also expensive in the United States, you should buy the Indian edition of the same books at a fraction of their price in the U.S. Learn some basic cooking. Eating out is quite expensive (and not too healthy!) and thus students prefer to cook their meals. So step in the kitchen and learn some basic stuff. Indian students going to U.S miss Indian food and thus also prefer to take a lot many ready to eat meal packets – which become a savior during busy days. A pressure cooker is another essential item in the Indian student’s baggage - and a worthy one at that! Get a general medical check-up before you embark on your journey. Most schools in the U.S require specific immunizations, so check with your school and if required, get it done in India. If you are on any medication, make sure that you have enough supply of your medicines (packed in their original containers). Religiously pack in your doctor’s prescription too. Since Eye tests are not covered under International Health insurance plans, it tends to be a costly affair in the U.S. Thus, it is advisable to get your eyesight tested before traveling to the U.S. If you wear prescription glasses, invest in a pair of new prescription glasses and also have a backup pair handy. For those who wear contact lenses, make sure that you at least have a year’s supply of lenses. If you are aware of any major surgical procedures that need to be conducted before the start of your International Health plan, it is advisable to get it done in India itself – where it will be much more cost effective. Make arrangements for your accommodation. Take help from our blog on US Housing and get tips on how to find accommodation in the U.S. You can contact the University personnel– who will help you out with the accommodation. Alternatively, you can also register yourself at Hostel World and find accommodation at cheaper rates. ISIC also provides an international student identity card that helps students get discounts on accommodation at many places. Though students diligently make arrangements for their accommodation and their student loans, a few of them forget to carry enough US dollars to help them have a comfortable living till the time they get their local debit or credit card or even their bank account. Hence, ensure that you carry enough funds, in the local currency, for the initial few days in a foreign country. Hunt for deals on Travel Insurance and opt for a reliable one. Take help from your acquaintances and friends in the U.S and choose one which would bail you out with minimum hassle in case of an emergency. Make a folder of all relevant documents and keep them safely in your luggage. Hunt for the best deal on airfare and book your tickets. Plan your travel in such a way that you land in the U.S a few days before your program starts – this will give you ample time to take care of other things like opening your bank account, exploring your neighborhood and others. Arrange for your travel from the airport to your home in the U.S. Check the latest travel advisories and follow them. 2. After you land in the U.S Respect the laws and the local culture Network with your fellow students and the locals and make the most of your time in the United States. Networking will help you find part-time jobs while studying or even post your degree. Remember to speak slowly and clearly when speaking to an American – to help overcome any communication barriers. If you are looking to make some extra money during your study years, you can search for on-campus employment in your university during the first year of study. However, do adhere to the 20 hours a week work rule, which is mandatory for students. You can extend your work hours to 40 hours a week during breaks and holidays. From the second year, you can get off-campus employment as well. However, never forget to stick to the work hour rules. Try to do as many projects and internships, in your field of study, as your University allows. This would help you get practical experience and build on your experience. Once their program ends, International students have 60 days to look for jobs in the United States or leave the country. So, do adhere to this rule. After the completion of their program, Students have the option of extending their stay in the U.S through the Optional Training program. Those pursuing the STEM course get 24 months of extended stay, while the others get 12 months. So, ensure that you make the necessary applications and arrangements if opting for the OPT. Let us now discuss some of the common don’ts. Some of them are as follows: Since American professors do not mind students skipping a few classes, it might be tempting to miss classes. However, make sure that you maintain your grades – which are taken seriously by the professors as well as your school. Be punctual. Americans, especially professors, do not like latecomers and hence it would do you good to be on time for your classes or meetings. Respect the laws and never break any of them. It might be tempting to splurge but always plan your finances carefully. Apply for your Education Loan

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