The United States has the largest population of international students in the world. More than 800,000 students choose the states to educate themselves every year. It’s a life experience they cannot get in their home country. While only 4% of students enrolled in universities and colleges are international, this percentage is growing quickly.
If you’re planning on joining the thousands of international students in the United States, it’s important to prepare yourself with everything you’ll need when you’re away from home. The following are 10 things every international student needs when studying in the states.
#1: Student Visa
The student visa is the most important thing you’ll need when studying in the United States. There are three student visas:
- F1 Visa for Academic Studies
- J1 Visa for Practical Training
- M1 Visa for Non-Academic/Vocational Studies
#2: Prove You Are Academically Eligible
When you apply for one of these visas, you will need to prove you are academically eligible. This means you are enrolled in an educational program in the United States.
#3: Prove You Are Financially Stable
You will also need to prove you are financially stable because you will not be able to work with these visas while in the U.S.
#4: Show You Have Health Insurance
You must also have health insurance in case you need any medical assistance while in the states.
Bring your medical records with you when you come to the United States. If you’re studying at a university or college, visit the medical center first. You will be able to learn more about the health care options they offer international students and know where you should take your medical record for safe keeping.
#5: Find Out How to Get Health Insurance If You Don’t Have It
The program you are in for studying abroad probably also has health care options you can take advantage for while in the United States. It’s important to know you must have health insurance when living/studying in the states. It is the law.
#6: Identify How You’ll Connect with Loved Ones
It’s important to stay connected with loved ones while in the United States. It can be stressful being in a different country by yourself, and your family can make the adjustment much easier. Many international students use Skype, Google Hangouts, Viber, WhatsApp, and Snapchat to stay in touch with people across the world, but you can also use a mobile phone. It’s wise to look into international rates for calls, so you don’t end up with a large bill to pay.
Don’t forget about regular mail. It may take longer for people to get your messages, but it’s still a great way to stay connected on a deeper level. When you sit down and write a letter, you’ll be able to get into more detail about your time in the states.
#7: Consider Taking a Trip
Many people will explore the United States before settling into their program. Think about if you would like to do that, so you can start to make arrangements.
#8: Schedule the Travel Arrangements
It’s important to get all of your travel arrangement ahead of time, so you can ensure you get to your destination in plenty of time. This is especially true if you want to take some trips before you start the program.
Be sure to research and book:
If you simply want to go from your home country to the university, college, or training center, speak to the school. They often have resources to help you get to your final destination easily and sometimes, for much less money. Many academic institutions are used to helping international students, so this is something they are ready to assist with whenever you need the assistance.
#9: Bring the Essentials
Besides all of the paperwork you need for entering the United States, you will want to bring the following items, so you can make your adjustment as easy as possible:
- Clothing for the climate
- Special trinkets that will help you feel closer to home
- Books or magazines in your native language
- Special bedding
Anything you usually bring with you when you go on vacation will help you get acclimated to the United States. Just know that if you ever need anything, you can go to the store to purchase it. You can also always have a loved one ship you anything that you may forget.
#10: Make a List and Use It
A great way to remember everything you want to bring is to start a list early. That way you can add to the list as you remember things and go off the list when you’re packing.
Now you know what to bring when studying in the United States. Get ready to have the best life experience you’ve ever had and may ever have!