The time has now come for you to prepare yourself for flying to the USA for higher studies. You have already obtained your student visa and would have to make your final departure to the USA to build your career in your field of education. You are lucky to get such a big chance to boost your career and you must not allow it to get wasted. First of all, never think that you are going to the USA to enjoy the amenities available in this great country, at least for the next 3 years till you complete your study with flying colors and settle in a good job, may be in India. The student life is extremely tough and demanding in the USA, particularly as a foreign student and if you are even slightly weak, you may not be able to face the challenges of study here, resulting in returning back to your home country without achieving the goal you have come for. So, think positive, be cool and carry lots of courage with you to face any situation in the USA during your study. Give good thought to all the factors listed here, one by one and start preparing for your grand arrival in this country of opportunities.
1. Schedule your departure date- Plan your departure so as to reach at least, 3to 4 weeks in advance of the date of the beginning of your course. This will give you a time to settle in a new environment, making some good friends, and decide suitably as to where you will stay. This is the most vital decision for all the students coming from abroad. Never plan to stay in the hostel of the university. The hostels shall give you very good facilities of lodging and boarding but is extremely expensive and you or your parents may not be able to afford it. The best option is to stay in a rented apartment with other 3 to 4 students. Always land at the city or the nearest air port where your university is situated. Landing at some other far off airport in the USA may create a doubt in the mind of the USA immigration officers regarding your final purpose and destination in the USA. If you have to visit your relatives in the USA, plan your visit later, once you have settled well in the USA.
2. Come in with couple of friends- If possible, try to reach here in the USA in a group of around 3 to 4 and plan to stay together. This will reduce your expense considerably. This will also boost up your confidence level and you will be able to perform well. Also, make sure that your friends are also serious about their higher studies and are not from extremely rich family and have come to the USA for fun and enjoyment, rather than study.
3. Start taking your cooking classes- If you want to restrict your cost of stay in USA, start learning cooking from your mom or sister. This will prove to be immensely helpful to you. Keep in mind that getting all your meals ready in your plate is out for you for at least next 2 to 3 years. The cooking will not be as difficult as you might think and can prove to be very interesting and pleasant and give you a feeling of creating some thing for you. At least, learn some basic Indian preparations that do not involve intricate steps and procedure. Have cooked meal at least once a day.
4. Start your driving lessons at once- Even if you may not own an automobile during your career as a student, learn driving in your home country and obtain your international driving license with you. Such a license may allow you to drive for a limited period in some of the states in the USA, and within this period you can also try to get driving license of USA. Keep in mind that it is really tough and difficult to get driving license here in USA and you will have to master your art of driving for this purpose.
5. Master yourself in English- You may take some coaching class that can teach you to speak and understand English easily in the USA. Sometimes, it is very difficult to understand English in the USA, even though you know the language well. This can help you in better communication, which is a key to many aspects.
6. Plan on your health insurance- Never buy your health insurance in India, except for a period of about initial month or so. You, being a student, will have many good and economical offers for health insurance through your university. Study those carefully and select the most attractive one.
7. Items to carry- Carry around 6 pairs of your full clothing from socks to the cap. The types of clothes must be according to the weather conditions at your place of study. Always carry couple of woolen sweaters, an overcoat, hand gloves, leather waist belts, and a sturdy pair of the leather shoes. Make sure to acquaint yourself with the new shoes in India prior to your coming here to avoid shoe bites. Always carry around 2 to 3 pairs of your spectacles as stand-by, as the specs are quite costly here in the USA. Follow strictly to luggage regulations of your flight. Make sure to carry few cooking utensils, pressure cooker, etc. Consult your mom or sister in this aspect. Some dry snacks, which may be allowed to be brought in the USA, will also be of great help. But make sure that the custom laws allow this. The bags you carry must be strong and sturdy and should not be overstuffed in any case. Take good care of all your documents like passport, visa, I-20, your academic certificates etc. A small briefcase to carry all such documents during travel is a good idea. Make sure to buy some books that you will need in USA for your study from your home country. Such books are very expensive in the USA and you may not be able to afford it. Make a basic first aid box to carry with you in case of an emergency need. Some standard pain killers and bandages may be included in this kit.
8. Money to carry- Always carry your money in form of traveler’s checks, rather than cash. It will be a good idea to carry the expense for around 6 months initially. This will be about $6000, considering that tuition fees for the first semester are already paid in advance. Declare the total amount of money you have, in the USA customs at the time of your arrival without hiding anything. Taking one credit card from India can be a good idea for a very short initial period of your stay in the USA. Subsequently, you will get good offers for the credit cards through your bank and university.
The above guidelines will be certainly useful to all students coming to the USA to fulfill their dream of life. As a conclusion, each and every student must come here with a fixed and determined goal of higher study and should put all out efforts to see their dreams turn into reality.