Over a span of multiple decades, the United States has consolidated its position as one of the top-ranking countries for studying abroad, surpassing a record of one million new international students in 2018. Pursuing an MS in USA is very popular amongst MS aspirants. Pursuing other courses in USA is also becoming increasingly popular.
One would assume that adjusting in their new settings would be cakewalk considering the number of television series they’ve watched. However, it is easy to lose your composure and sense of self in a sea of new faces. Preparing for your stay in the US a few months prior to your departure will ensure that you will have everything in check. It is highly important for international students to ensure that there is a minimum amount of hassle once they leave home, and preparing beforehand will definitely provide a safety net.
- CHECK VISA REQUIREMENTS
The VISA Requirements for a US Student Visa include:
- An Officially Issued Passport – It is crucial that your passport be issued by the government respective to your country. A six-month assurance of validity beyond your stay in the United States is also required.
- Appropriate Photographs – Schedule an appointment with the US consulate at their centre for clicking a photograph of yourself. This visit is also essential as your fingerprints will be scanned at this centre for future reference. You will be given an approval receipt after successfully completing this procedure at the appropriate centre.
- Certificate of Eligibility– All students, spouses and minors must be registered with the SEVIS database, which stands for the Student and Exchange Visitor System. The school of your current study will send you a SEVIS-generated Form once they have entered your data into the database. The Form I-20 must be signed by the candidate and a school official. Only when this requirement is met, the form shall be accepted.
- Additional Documents: A personal interview will be conducted by a VISA officer, during which additional documents may be requested. These documents provide proof of academic records and/or financial status of you and your family. These documents may include academic transcripts and certificates, scores acquired on standardized tests such as SAT, GRE, etc., and predictive measures taken to account for financial expenses.
Various factors are taken into consideration when choosing an appropriate place of stay. Your choice of accommodation may directly impact your health, ability to study and the amount of participation in your classes or extra-curricular activities. These factors include:
- University Accommodation: If your college has a residential facility, staying in a college dorm may help with maintaining regularity in classes, a longer sleep cycle and added participation in activities. However, you may find it uncomfortable if the room is on a double sharing basis. It may also be hard to maintain a private life as you would have to occupy a room with another person.
- Private Housing: If it can be afforded, living under a landlord would provide ample space to breathe, a chance to further your interest in any hobby, or to just relax without outside interference. However, it may be hard to keep up with the monthly rent, travel expenses and daily expenditure.
If possible, consult the accommodation office at the university to look at possible housing options. If there is no student accommodation provided on campus, the office may be able to provide a list of landlords and other private properties in and around the area.
A tenancy agreement will be provided to you on which certain contractual terms and rights will be mentioned. Read this document carefully before signing to know which responsibilities are expected of you.
- Managing Your Finances:
Careful financial planning is required if you plan to move abroad for your studies. Depending on your circumstances, you may have to create a budget to follow, work part-time, and cut down on your expenses. A good place to start would be to open a savings account. Prior to this, make sure you have checked for and applied to various scholarships and student loans to aid you in your stay.
- Pack the Essentials
Small items like toiletries and stationery can be replenished at the nearest convenience store once you have landed in the US. However, make sure that you carry your important documents, a sufficient amount of clothes, comfortable and appropriate footwear as well as medical supplies such as bandages and other medicine. It will also help to get insured to manage your medical costs in case of an emergency.
- Cultural Differences
The United States has a different culture from your current place of stay. There may be several ways in which the cultural norms of your society and those of the US may differ. There are, of course, more obvious distinctions in accents and the food you will consume, but more subtle differences like social attitudes and expected behavior, as well as a whole other set of cultural and religious norms. A good way to gain insight into the way of life in the US would be to interact with people native to the US, watch videos online or on TV, and ideally, plan a trip to the US once before your course begins.