If you’re preparing to study in the U.S., there are more than a couple of things to contemplate beforehand. Whether you’re thinking about the culture shock, what you need on you, and how to survive once you’re there—you need to sort out your thoughts and do some organizing prior to getting on the plane.
So, here’s how to prepare for studying abroad in the U.S.
Check the Travel Requirements
When it comes to international travel, the U.S. has stringent policies put in place. That’s why you have to make sure you pack all identification documents, from visa, passport, and additional ID to proof of travel and medical insurance if you want to enter the country. Such documents are a requirement for the government to keep tabs on non-immigrant visitors.
If your studying in the U.S. plans are for a prolonged period, then you will need an F1 Visa. This is a student visa, for which you will need all of the aforementioned documents to apply. This way, you won’t have to worry about any missing documents since you already went through the procedure.
Make Sure You Have Health Insurance
Having health insurance is important; however, the U.S. doesn’t provide universal healthcare. Instead, citizens have to rely on private insurance plans for whatever medical expenses they might have.
Most domestic health insurance plans do not extend past borders. So, make sure to check with your healthcare provider if you can use your subscription overseas. In case you have long-term studying arrangements in the U.S., one of the requirements for an F1 Visa is having proof that you can cover medical expenses for which you can use your health insurance (if it extends to the US ) or purchase an insurance plan in the US.
Prepare for the Classroom Culture
Classrooms in the U.S. are well known for having a nonchalant and laid-back approach to teaching. If you’re used to sitting tightly in your chair, that won’t be the case once you start studying in American universities due to most of them having a more relaxed atmosphere.
Professors are known to hold lectures in a friendly tone, even sit on their desk at times, and allow students to speak without raising their hands. Still, this largely depends on the professor too. Some might want their class to be more old-fashioned and will expect the same from students.
Manage Your Budget Expectations
Studying in the United States can be quite expensive, whether that’s tuition fees or daily expenses. You have to take into account that you will need a place to stay, food every day, books, and any additional expenses you might have.
Don’t overlook budget planning while you’re preparing to study in the U.S. One thing worth pointing out is that your student visa allows you to work 20 hours per week on-campus. This can help contribute to your budget if you’re having any difficulties.
Embrace the U.S. Culture
Although known for its heterogeneity and for being multicultural, American culture can be quite a shock to someone not used to living in the States. However, that shouldn’t frighten you. Here are a few things to keep in mind during your stay in the U.S.
Tipping is crucial in the U.S. More times than not, your tip will be the sole contributor to the waiters/waitresses’ pay. It is customary to tip 20% of your bill; however, 15% is considered the minimum tip. So, always make sure you leave a good tip when you’re dining or drinking out.
Beware of the processed food you can find around every corner. Yes, it’s most probably incredibly tasty, making up for the lack of nutrition it entails, but it shouldn’t become a part of your daily diet.
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This is the kind of food that should be consumed in moderation, especially if you’re not used to it and ate differently back at home. If you wish to stay away from such foods completely, there are also a heap of healthy options that you can get at your local grocery store.
Individualism is an ideology that drives the U.S. culture; it’s the belief that everyone is responsible for supporting and improving themselves. Your own personal ideas, needs, and rights are put above the collective ones. Because of this, self-reliance is advised and encouraged, and you should do the same for the time you are there.
If you want to study in the U.S., you should be ready for everything that will change and all that you need to do in order to adjust to these new changes as soon as possible. We hope this list of things to do before studying abroad in the United States helped you organize your thoughts and prepared you physically and mentally for the challenge ahead of you.