Once you have obtained admission to a university and obtained your student visa, it is time to arrange for your departure to the United States. There are several steps you can take to prepare for a successful transition to U.S. student life.
One of the first steps is to book your flight tickets. Most students prefer to arrive a little ahead of the program start date in order to get accustomed to daily life in the United States. You will also want to plan your arrival such that you can attend the international student orientation and the welcome week activities conducted by your university.
Another important step is reserving your accommodations. It is advisable to contact your university and current students to see if there are specific options or localities that are required or preferred. You may want to live in an on-campus dormitory, or you may decide it is better to stay in an off-campus apartment.
U.S. universities usually have immunization requirements for diseases such as meningitis, hepatitis and tuberculosis. You should consider taking these vaccinations in your home country before you depart.
You can find more information about studying and living at your university through the International Student Services at the university you will be attending. You can connect with current students at the university through student clubs, or through school social media groups.
In addition to these steps, you can spend time acquiring useful skills that will facilitate and enrich your student life in the United States. You may want to practice writing to get prepared for your classes. You can also read about time management strategies so that you are able to juggle your academic, extra-curricular, social and life activities in the United States. Finally, if your accommodations include a kitchen, you can learn to cook basic meals for yourself as this will help lower costs and make for a healthier lifestyle. You can also learn to cook a few traditional Indian dishes that you can share with other students to give them a taste of your culture.
In preparation for travel to the United States, you will want to scan and store online copies of all key documents. These include your university offer letter, I-20, the visa page of your passport, transcripts and test score reports. You can also study the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website to know what kind of items you are permitted to carry with you from India to the United States.
Finally, your university or EducationUSA centers will conduct pre-departure orientations for students going to the U.S. for higher education. You can attend these to learn of a range of subjects such as classroom culture or how to get a SIM card in the United States.
Preparing for your departure is the final step in your Five Steps to U.S. study. Once you have made your preparations, you are all set to depart to the United States. Best of luck on your journey ahead!
(The article is contributed by Manmohan Thorat, EducationUSA Coordinator, and Deborah Rosario, EducationUSA Adviser.)