Preparing for departure to study in the United States as an international student IMAGE

Make sure to gather all necessary documents, including your passport, visa, I-20 or DS-2019, and any other required paperwork. Report to Your School and Attend Orientations: Upon arrival at your university, it is vital to complete all necessary check-ins and attend orientations.Preparing for your studies in the United States can be an exciting and rewarding experience. As an Indian student, there are several important steps to take to ensure a smooth transition. Below are some comprehensive tips and resources to help you get started

EducationUSA advising centres are in five cities across India – Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, and New Delhi. These centres provide valuable resources for students preparing to study in the United States. They offer pre-departure orientations (PDOs) that cover a wide range of topics, including cultural differences, staying motivated during studies, adjusting to a new environment, understanding the U.S. academic system, finding suitable housing, and coping with cultural shock. Attending these orientations will equip you with the knowledge and skills to navigate new challenges and enhance your overall study experience.

1. Begin with Making a To-Do List

The best way to start any endeavour is to create a checklist. To get self-motivated, you can use a diary/notebook and pen down the items you will need to carry; instead of a diary, you can also use online planners, calendars, or sticky notes. Make a list of items you need to buy in an organised manner. It will save you from a lot of unnecessary last-minute tension. For all the items that you have already arranged, please strike them off your list.

Most importantly, please check and re-check all the academic and travel-related documents. It is important to make a folder of these documents with enough photocopies. Please keep one set of photocopies at your home with the knowledge of your parents. It is advisable to make an e-folder of all these documents and a separate folder of all communication from the university and visa office in your e-mail which will be of great help in case of an emergency.


2. Check the Validity of the Passport

Before an international student commences their study abroad journey preparation, they must check the validity of their passport. In no case, it should be less than six months after completion of your program. It helps to avoid any last-minute hitch in terms of applying for internships, co-op programs or CPT/OPT.


3. Book the Air-Flight Tickets

It is a common understanding that flight deals and tickets are extremely expensive in the peak season and especially when booked at the last moment. Therefore, as soon as the visa is approved, the study abroad aspirant should book the tickets. Booking flight tickets in advance is not only cheaper but also gives the choice to choose the direct flight to your destination. It will allow you an opportunity to be in touch with students who would be going to nearby universities; connections with other students provide the desired emotional support.


4. Get the Right Insurance Policy

It is a common practice for Indians to ignore and not avail the security and benefits of an insurance policy in their homeland. However, this lacklustre approach needs to change when you are planning your journey overseas. A suitable health and travel insurance plan is the first thing that will allow you to board the plane; so choose the right insurance policy and keep its paper in your hands to show it as and when required.


Making Travel Arrangements:

To ensure a seamless travel experience, it’s important to plan. Confirm your arrival date with your graduate program, finalize travel preparations, and observe entry regulations. Make sure to gather all necessary documents, including your passport, visa, I-20 or DS-2019, and any other required paperwork.

5. Carry Medicines

As Over the Counter (OTC) drugs are expensive abroad, it is advisable to make a list of common drugs/any regular medications you take and keep sufficient stock of the same in your suitcase.


6. Gain Knowledge About the Host Country

To overcome fear and anxiety associated with travelling and living in a foreign land, what helps is to do a bit of background study about the country. It is not just important but also a fun thing to know about the local weather/climate, seasonal changes, local culture, food, and the topography of the area. These topics are great conversation starters and can assist in breaking the ice while communicating with the locals. The best way to google the information you need and spend some time collecting the required information is to use the internet platform of the host country.


7. Understand and Learn to Better Manage Finances

This is the most challenging task. However, you are supposed to manage it on your own as there will not be anyone to help you. The difference in the exchange rate and dealing with the course may be a bit tedious but it is the most important aspect one must take care of. Please ensure that there are sufficient funds in the account that guarantees your stay; do not carry too much cash as it is not easy to carry. The best is to carry a traveler’s cheque or an international forex card.


8. Carry Basic Toiletries, Clothing, and Electronic Gadgets

These are also necessary items, and overstuffing clothes/toiletries is not a good idea because it will take up space. Therefore, it is good to segregate electronic gadgets, such as laptops, external hard drives and universal chargers in one handbag and keep them with you because you cannot risk putting them in a big suitcase.


9. Carry Foreign Currency

Most students carry about $1000 in currency and the rest can be taken in loaded forex cards. Carry some loose change for calling and eating/drinking while travelling. Forex cards/traveler’s cheques are preferentially priced, so consider carrying most of your money through them.

Also, the following is the checklist of the important documents to be kept handy in a folder, while travelling abroad.

University Documents

  • University-specific letters like admits, aid, forms
  • Original transcripts
  • I-20
  • Syllabus copies
  • Immunization documents (specific to university)
  • SEVIS fee receipt

Travel and ID documents

  • Passport photocopy
  • VISA photocopy
  • Air Ticket

Educational Documents

  • Original mark sheets
  • Attested mark sheets
  • Degree certificate
  • Final-year project report
  • Recommendation letters
  • GRE and TOEFL mark sheet


Report to Your School and Attend Orientations:

Upon arrival at your university, it is vital to complete all necessary check-ins and attend orientations. Report to your Designated School Official (DSO) to complete your visa information session and check-in process and attend both general student orientation and a specific orientation for international students.

Additional Tips:

Check your institution’s website for additional pre-departure information that may be specific to your university, including details about health insurance, weather, transportation options, housing, and more.

By following the above guidelines, you can ensure a smoother transition and a more fulfilling and successful study experience in the United States.

Here is the schedule for the 2024 EducationUSA pre-departure orientations sessions below.

• Mumbai (In-Person), Friday, June 14

• New Delhi (In-Person), Friday, June 21

• Chennai (In-Person), Friday, June 21

• Kolkata (In-Person), Friday, June 28

• Bengaluru (In-Person), Friday, June 28

• Chandigarh (In-Person), Friday, July 13

• Hyderabad (In-Person), Friday, July 12

• All India (Online), Thursday, July 18

These sessions help the prospective students to interact with current students and alumni who have been there and done that! Students interested in attending the pre-departure orientation session can register at –

– U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad

What to do when you arrive in the US as an international student?

  1. STEP 1: Buy Necessary Daily Living Essential Items. …
  2. STEP 2: Check-In With U.S. School & Attend International Student Orientation. …
  3. STEP 3: Pay International Student Tuition & Enroll In Class (Buy or Rent Required Textbooks) …
  4. STEP 4: Get Student ID Card As An International Student.

What is the pre-departure orientation for international students?

Attend a Pre-departure Orientation in Your Country

Topics discussed include cultural differences, motivation, changes from your home environment, academic systems and expectations, housing, and handy tips for settling into your new community.

What do I need to study in the US as an international student?

To apply to a US degree, you’ll need the following:
  • Academic transcripts from previous study. …
  • Proof of English language proficiency. …
  • Personal statement. …
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) or résumé …
  • Copy of your passport.
  • Financial proof showing you can cover your study and living expenses.

Why is pre-departure important?

Pre-departure training for expatriates is a broad term for a programme that briefs soon to be expatriates on what to expect when living and working abroad. Well delivered training allows employees to personalise learnings to anticipate and plan for challenges they and their family may face when they move abroad.

How much money do you need as an international student in USA?

International students studying in the United States can tentatively expect a cost of between $25,000 and $45,000 per year tuition and living expenses. But one can rest assured that studying at the top universities in the USA is affordable despite the high average tuition that one must pay.

How can I study in the US but not have money?

A scholarship is the main way to fund your studies in the US. There are private, institutional, and government-funded scholarships. While they are highly competitive, your chances of getting one are pretty good if you have impressive achievements and know how to make a good application

You’ve made it to Step 5! Preparing for your departure is the final step to Your Five Steps to U.S. Study.

Key components to this final step include making your travel arrangements, attending a pre-departure orientation at your local EducationUSA center or online, gathering pre-departure materials and documents for arrival, as well as reporting to your school and attending orientations.

Check your new institution’s website for additional pre-departure information that will be more specialized and have information about health insurance, average local temperatures throughout the year, local transportation options, housing, and more.


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