International Students’ Top Tips
The United States boasts the world’s largest number of international students, accounting for about 5% of all students enrolled in higher education in the country. Choosing to study in the United States is a wonderful opportunity, but there is so much to plan and prepare for – where do you begin?
How To Survive As A Student In The United States
The first week after arriving at their US institution is the toughest period of most students’ whole study in the United States experience. Not only will you have to battle with homesickness, but you’ll also have to adjust to a new culture, language, and other factors. Here are a few great recommendations for international students wishing to learn how to survive as a student in the United States to make your journey a little smoother.
Make A Budget For Your Stay In The United States.
The cost of living may be considerable depending on where you are studying. Early planning can help you meet these expenditures; here are some budgeting suggestions for college students studying abroad in America.
The cost of living varies greatly between states in the United States. Living in a city is typically more expensive than living in the suburbs or in a smaller town. The cost of living varies depending on the following factors:
- On-campus housing or off-campus apartment rentals
- Meal planning, personal grocery shopping, or dining out are all options.
- Taking public transportation or driving
- Personal spending habits include entertainment, extracurricular activities, and other personal expenses.
- Having a part-time job is a great way to supplement your income.
Many Websites can give you an idea of how much it costs to live in different states across the United States. You can compare these costs to your projected budget to narrow down the locations where you could pursue your education. With an online student budget calculator, you can calculate other expenses such as tuition, fees, and rent after you have an approximation of the costs of living in your new home.
The simplest method to organize your budget is to divide your costs into essentials and non-essentials.
It’s also a good idea to have a modest emergency reserve in your budget in case something unexpected happens.
Enhance your language abilities
Moving to the United States does not have to be difficult because of language issues. English-language programmes are available in several ITPathFinder programmes to help you improve your academic and speaking abilities. Online lessons, podcasts, and even TV episodes and movies can help you improve your English.
Here are some helpful hints for international students learning English:
- Learn English from instructors, locals, or mentors in the United States — Many institutions, including Shore light universities, have English-language courses to help you enhance your speaking, grammar, and academic English skills.
- Install a language app or listen to an English podcast — Listen to English-language podcasts, such as the British Council’s Learn English podcasts, or use an English-language programme like Duolingo. Transcripts (a written representation of the audio) are common in podcasts, allowing you to listen and read at the same time.
- Watch TV sitcoms – TV sitcoms use the English language in a more realistic way, which can help you develop your conversational skills, teach you about various cultural allusions, and give you a better knowledge of various types of humor. Subtitles are available on many streaming platforms, so you can read and follow along while watching.
- Change your computer’s default language – This is the most straightforward step. Learning to use technology in the language you want to learn is a terrific way to keep that language fresh in your mind every day – and to pick up new terms that will quickly become commonplace in your life.
- Make friends with American students – Making friends with American students is one of the best ways to improve your English since you can converse with them on a regular basis, learn from how they speak, and ask them questions.
- Read a book you’re already familiar with – many best-selling works have been translated into a number of languages. If you’ve read a book in your native tongue, look for an English translation of the same book. The story’s familiarity should aid your comprehension of the language.
- Carry a dictionary with you – If you need to look up a certain word during a conversation or in class, a pocket dictionary can come in handy.
Become A Member Of A Society Or A Club.
You can join a variety of student-run clubs and societies at universities. Whether you’re interested in sports, drama, music, debate, or something else entirely, you’ll be able to discover a student society or club filled with people who share your passions. Clubs and societies can also help you acclimate to life in the United States and make friends.
Here are some reasons why international students should join a club or organization in the United States:
- Explore your interests – Outside of the classroom, clubs can help you explore your interests and learn new things. This is a terrific way to take a break from your academics while also making you feel more at ease on campus.
- Find new activities – Hobbies can help you relax and socialize with people who share your interests. Joining a campus group or club allows you to test out new activities until you find one that you enjoy.
- Meet new people – Student organizations and campus clubs bring people together who have common interests. At an international student organization meeting, you might make a new buddy. Friendships and connections can help you get more out of your college experience: One of the most effective ways to acclimate to US culture is to seek guidance from other students.
- Build your résumé – You may not have much experience in your field when you first start seeking for work. Participation in clubs or organizations can demonstrate to potential employers that you have crucial abilities such as collaboration, communication, organization, and leadership. You might possibly meet someone who introduces you to new chances!
- Improve your English – Communicating with club members provides you with regular opportunities to practise and improve your English.
Become A Part Of The Culture
Most international students find learning about and assimilating to American society difficult. Dealing with culture shock is one of the most typical difficulties, and you may miss home while adjusting to life in the United States. This is quite natural: Culture shock affects many international students, and there are numerous strategies to prepare for your new cultural experiences.
Here are a few pointers for international students on how to fully immerse themselves in the culture of their host country:
- Research the social norms in the United States – Knowing these standards before starting university will help you establish friends and avoid cultural misunderstandings.
- Have an open mind and accept variety – the United States is a melting pot of cultures. You may meet individuals from different walks of life, learn from their diverse perspectives, and explore new ideas if you keep an open mind.
- Visit restaurants and other local sites – Getting out and experiencing the different establishments around you is one of the finest ways to acclimate to US culture. Try new foods, go to a park, try a new activity, and learn about everything the United States has to offer. You may begin to feel more at ease as you grow more familiar with your surroundings!
Create A Strong Support Network
During your journey from your home country to the United States, your university’s admissions office or international student office can be a valuable resource for international students in the United States. Participating in orientation at the start of your programme is a great opportunity to get used to living in the United States while also meeting new people.
Your new pals, academic advisers, and/or counselors will provide further support. Many schools have counselors and therapists on staff who have been trained to work with students just like you and are ready to talk about how you may cope with the stress of relocating to a new country, adjusting to American classroom culture, and more.
Getting involved in the social parts of campus life is another fantastic approach to create your new support network and learn how to survive in the United States as a student. Investigate the clubs and organizations listed on your school’s website and join them; you’ll soon feel at ease and a part of the community.
Get To Know The Laws In Your Area
It is critical that you become acquainted with the regulations of your city as an international student. Keep in mind that any violation of the law can have an impact on your legal position in the United States, so being aware ahead of time can help you avoid future issues.
You should be conversant with the following areas of US law:
- Following your visa conditions — Depending on your student visa category, there are a variety of conditions that must be adhered to in order to maintain your status as an international student, including academic requirements to remain in good standing, the number of hours per week you are allowed to work, and more.
- Understanding your legal rights — When confronted by local or federal authorities, non-immigrant visa holders (including F, J, H-1B, and O-1 visas) enjoy certain constitutional rights in the United States. If you are stopped by government agents, learn how to react to immigration queries.
- Local laws – Be mindful of local rules, such as speed limits when driving, closing times for local parks, and other regional issues. If you have any queries regarding what is permitted, contact your student counselors for clarification.
Copies Of Your Passport And Important Documents Should Be Made Several Times.
It’s a good idea to have backup copies of all your paperwork on hand in case they’re lost or damaged, especially if school or immigration officials ask for them. (After you’ve received your visa, go to the US Customs and Border Protection website to learn more about how to prepare for your trip and what to pack.)
In the event of an emergency, you should have backup copies of the following documents:
- Documents related to flights
- Visa for students
- I-20 form
- Letter of acceptance
- Health-care coverage
- Records of medical care
- Documents from the university
- Contact information in case of an emergency
Make Certain You Have Health Insurance While Traveling
Many US schools and universities mandate that you have active health insurance coverage while enrolled, so do some research ahead of time to see what coverage is best for you. The policies and costs of health insurance vary based on where you want to study, and some colleges may provide their own programmes to students.
You can receive student health insurance before or after you arrive in the United States; you can compare different student health insurance alternatives by searching online. Your coverage may begin as soon as the next day, depending on the policy. Look out your university’s criteria before acquiring any health insurance policy to ensure you’re getting an appropriate sort of coverage.
You have a few options when it comes to student health insurance:
A. ESSENTIAL GROUP PLAN
Some colleges have their own health insurance programmes that international students are required to pay. An obligatory group plan is what it’s called.
The following are some of the plan’s primary features:
- The fee will be added to your tuition statement automatically.
- They are typically more expensive than individual plans.
- They offer complete coverage, which includes
There is no waiting time for pre-existing conditions.
Mental well-being Wellness
B. REQUIRED GROUP WITH THE OPTION TO WAIVE
Some schools require students to enroll in a mandated insurance plan with predetermined coverage, but students can opt out. This option is only available if your personal plan is equally extensive and sufficient.
C OPTIONAL PLAN
The school will not give you an obligatory plan with predefined coverage if you choose an optional plan; instead, pupils can choose any plan they choose.
At Your University, Make Sure You’re Familiar With The US Collegiate Grading System.
You will need to maintain your grades as a student, and the grading system in the United States may change significantly from what you are used to. While grading systems fluctuate slightly depending on your university, the letter grading system is the most often utilised in the United States (e.g., A-F). In schools across the United States, the A-F grading system is used.
Your Grade Point Average (GPA), which is typically used as a measure of academic performance, is calculated using your grade and the grades you receive in your classes. The entire number of grade points gained is divided by the total number of credit hours taken to calculate your GPA.
Ensure That You Have A Valid Visa For The Duration Of Your Stay.
The school will send you an I-20 form, which is the application for an F-1 student visa, after you have been admitted to a US college or university. Remember to book a visa interview appointment and pay the required expenses.
Student visas can be issued up to 120 days before your Form I-20’s due date. Remember to fill out the new DS-160 non-immigrant visa application form, which must be done online.
Make sure you arrive in the United States no more than 30 days before your classes begin. Contact your Designated School Official (DSO) as soon as you arrive so they can direct you to your next steps and provide you with crucial information for overseas students in the United States. Before the start date specified on your I-20 form, contact your DSO again when you are on campus. If you miss any deadlines or need additional information about how to keep your status, contact your academic adviser or DSO for help.
Save Some Money For A Trip Around The United States.
While studying in the United States, having a separate savings account for travel can help you stay to your budget and achieve your trip goals sooner. When it comes to saving money for travel, there are a few pointers for international students. You can begin by opening a separate savings account and establishing a regular deposit schedule for it. This means that a specific sum will be deposited to your traveling savings account on a regular basis, allowing you to build it up over time and spend it when you need it.
There are endless places to explore, things to see, and activities to attempt in the United States! You can make the most of your trips and see everything America has to offer by ensuring you have travel money.
Experiment With New Foods While Remaining Healthy.
With so many cultures in the United States, you can sample a diverse range of cuisines no matter where you live or study. Mexican, Japanese, Greek, Indian, Italian, Chinese, and many other cuisines are popular. There’s something for everyone to sample, and you could even discover a new favorite dish!
While it’s fun to experiment with different cuisines, it’s also crucial to remember to eat healthily. Choose healthy dining hall alternatives that include plenty of fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and whole grains. Maintain a healthy balance of nutrients in all of your meals, and remember to stay hydrated, especially in the heat.
Make A List Of All The Housing Options That Are Available To You.
It’s crucial to decide where you want to live in the United States because it affects your living costs and how easy you can go to university and around the place you call home. Your accommodation options will vary depending on your university and the local area, but they can range from on-campus shared dorms to private apartments.
Many overseas students prefer shared housing since it allows them to meet new people and might be less expensive than living alone. If you want to be connected to the student community and get to your classes faster, living on campus is an excellent alternative. You can still go to a number of restaurants, entertainment venues, and fitness centers, and it may be more comfortable and familiar to you.
If you wish to live communally while yet having more independence and privacy, a shared apartment can be a better option. You may have your own bedroom while sharing the kitchen, bathroom, and living space with your housemates, depending on the apartment you choose. If you want to explore your city, this may be a better alternative than staying on campus because it is more centrally placed.
If you need housing guidance from an international student, talk to your ITPathFinder advisor or the International Student Office at your university. They can provide you with resources for local rental listings as well as leasing agents.
Seek Out People Who Are Friendly.
It’s wonderful to adjust to your new life in the United States, but you may wish to return to the comforts of home now and again. Many universities provide a diverse range of cultural student-run clubs and societies through which you can connect with people from your hometown. Speak with your university’s foreign student services for assistance and advice on how to get engaged.
Before Classes Begin, Make Sure You Understand How To Obtain Your Textbooks.
You have two alternatives for getting your textbooks: buying them or renting them.
When you buy your textbooks, you have the option to take notes and highlight content as needed, and you don’t have to worry about running out of copies when you need them. There are numerous used bookstores and internet marketplaces where you may obtain low-cost textbooks. Once you’ve finished with the textbook, you can sell it to another student or a secondhand store to recoup some of your costs.
You can also rent your book instead of buying it for a significantly reduced price, but you must return it in excellent condition. Keep track of how long you’ll be using the book in class and schedule your rental period accordingly.
Learn About Your Campus
By being familiar with your campus, you will feel more at ease in your new environment in the United States and will be able to acclimatize to the culture. Your first-year orientation is a fantastic way to learn about your new school, its systems and processes, teachers, and other important information. You can also look at videos and virtual tours on the university’s website before you come, which may help you acclimate more quickly once you arrive.
Speak Out For What You Believe In – Vote On Important University Issues When You Have The Opportunity
Your voice and perspective are important as an international student, especially when it comes to university regulations and procedures. Students at US universities are encouraged to get active in order to make their campuses as dynamic, equitable, and inclusive as possible. When you have the opportunity to express your concerns or vote on key university issues, take advantage of it. It has the potential to make a difference!
Remember that if you want to make your opinion heard on an issue that is important to you, you can always turn to your friends and advisors. They can direct you to the appropriate channels for expressing your concerns and the appropriate officials to contact. You can also become engaged with causes you care about by joining campus clubs and/or local community organizations.
If You’re Unsure About Something, Just Ask!
It’s natural to be unsure about certain parts of your life in the United States as an international student. In these situations, don’t be afraid to ask questions in order to get answers to your questions. Always contact your university’s international student services, adviser, or DSO for firsthand information and assistance for international students in the United States – and they can also help you locate answers.
Remember to inquire of those in your immediate vicinity! You can always ask someone around for extra information if you need help on or off campus, such as finding your way around, acquiring public transportation timings, or sorting out other everyday living difficulties.
Take Advantage Of Your Time Abroad
The United States is a vast country with a wide variety of landscapes, cultures, and experiences. You may go to the Grand Canyon, drive to the East Coast to see Boston and New York City, explore the most magnificent national parks, relax in California, meet celebrities in Los Angeles, and so much more. Relax in a park with your pals, go trekking with your buddies, go to music festivals – the options are unlimited!
International students who want to advance their careers might take advantage of numerous options. Find employment and internships with well-known companies like Microsoft, Google, Tesla, NASA, and many others. You can learn from industry professionals and participate in cutting-edge research while developing practical skills that will help you land your ideal job.
Contact Your ITPathFinder Consultant
ITPathFinder advisors have a lot of expertise assisting international students like you with adjusting to life in the United States, including giving advice, providing top ideas for international students, and answering inquiries.
Your ITPathFinder advisor is also available to assist you during your stay in the United States. Your advisor can help you with anything from F-1 visa assistance to campus transition programmes, academic support, and more. Your advisor can help you with everything from finding the perfect school to submitting an application, succeeding in class, and preparing for an incredible career.
You may get a jump start on your trip in the United States and thrive at your new university if you keep these top suggestions for international students in mind.
Are you thinking about continuing your education in the United States or Canada? You probably have a lot of questions! Well, we have a lot of answers for you—and they are all one click away. So don’t wait up, get in touch today with ITPathFinder and get answers to all your questions.