In our previous post, we talked about things to note BEFORE you left for the US. As promised, we’re following that up with things you need to know POST arrival in your new home-country. Without any further ado, let’s jump in and take a quick look at what you need to know about arriving in the US.
- When you first arrive on campus you will need a place to live while you look for permanent accommodations. Many schools will provide temporary housing for international students who arrive before the semester begins. Ask the foreign student advisor or housing office for information about temporary housing. Another option if you know a student at the school is to ask them to let you stay with them for a few days.
- Learn about the driving habits of Americans, from driving on the “right” side of the road to the Pittsburgh left turn. There are also tips about bicycles, taxicabs, and public transportation that you will need to know. Get an international drivers license.
Money and Banking
- Read about US coins and bills, the need for checking accounts and credit cards, and traveler’s checks and exchange rates.
- Find out about everything from sales tax to saving money and clothing sizes to alcoholic beverages.
Mailing and Shipping
- The US Postal System is one of the least expensive and most efficient in the world. Unfortunately, this means you will get a lot more junk mail.
Safety and Security
- Do note that as long as you are on the campus you are safe , if you venture off campus you need to take care of your safety as it’s not the responsibility of the school.
- United States does not provide free socialized medicine. International students are required to have health insurance in order to matriculate in college, the insurance comes to about $ 600 /yr.
- Health Insurance – check with your university on whether they allow outside insurance from India – they are very specific about the coverage.
Mobile Connections & Internet
- Use a prepaid connection for a few days on your current mobile and then find out the best option.
POST ARRIVAL INFORMATION
- International Student Advisor: The first thing to do once you are on Campus is to report to International student’s advisor as there will be some formalities that need to be completed.
- Orientation: Second step will be to attend the New International Students Orientation which will happen a week before classes begin. You will be given an overview of U.S. immigration policies, campus information, housing, school security rules and Library resources.
- Department Secretary/Advisor: Inform the Department Secretary/Faculty Advisor about your arrival and get the pre-semester formalities done.
- Register for classes : Once you have met your Faculty Advisor you can now go ahead and register for classes for the semester. Universities have an online registering system
- Identity Card: Once you register for classes, you are eligible for a University ID Card which is valid for one calendar year and will be issued with proper photo identification.
- Email Account: This is the most efficient means of communications on campus. Every student is entitled to an Email Account which can be obtained at the Data Processing Center located.
- Social Security Number (SSN): Every student needs a SSN (unless one is a transfer student and already has one). Either the International students advisor may be contacted or personal arrangements may be made to go to the Social Security Administration Office.
- Transportation: From the airport a Greyhound Bus Service can get you either to the school town. Prior pick-up arrangements from airport or bus terminals can be arranged. Please contact any of the ISA office bearers regarding this. Since there might not be any in-town transportation, you can consider buying a car. Or you can always hitch a ride from friends who have one.
- Housing: Last but not the least is the apartment search. You can get Information at Campus Housing. For off campus housing contact the President or any representative of the association. We would advise you to make arrangements for an apartment before your arrival on campus.
- Bank Account: A Bank account can be opened at banks on campus or downtown. Some banks may have an ATM machine on campus, which is very conveniently placed. To open an account you need to get your SSN number.
Finally, please connect with the Indian Student Association of your university , you will find a lot of information on roommates and anything else you might need help with. Here is an example of – http://igsa.tamu.edu/faq.
That about sums about our list of ‘need-to-know’s’ before AND after your arrival in the US.
Let us know in the comment section what you’re most excited about OR what you’re most nervous about! We may have some handy advice to share 😉