International students planning to study in the US have special considerations.
International students and American students moving to a US college have a lot in common. More than likely, they’re both nervous and anxious, and wondering about their roommates, dorm rooms and college classes.
International students, however, have even more to consider, including getting a visa, acquiring translations of academic transcripts and personal documents, managing foreign money and maybe even learning English.
International Student Visas
International student information regarding student visas can be confusing. Your college or university should provide international students with information about visa requirements and how to get started. The US government also provides this type of information for international students.
You should start the student visa application process as soon as possible. You don’t want to be stressing out about paperwork at the last minute, when you should be packing your bags and enjoying your time with family and friends before leaving!
Finances for International Students
International students are required to prove that they have a certain amount of money to support themselves — or that someone else with sufficient funds will be supporting them — while studying in the US. International student information regarding visas should provide further details about exactly how much you’ll need.
College money management for international students can be tricky. Things to consider include how much money you’ll need every month, how you will access money in the United States and whether you will keep foreign bank accounts in your home country, open a US account, or both.
Packing Tips for International Students
Packing college supplies can be even more difficult for international students who can’t just pack up a car-load of stuff and go. Since you’ll likely be limited in how much you can pack, stick to the very bare basics – clothes.
You can buy school supplies, linens, toiletries and more when you get to school. You also can ship some clothing, like winter coats, which are light and will cost less to ship but which can take up a lot of room in a suitcase!
International students should consider information like shipping costs, how much luggage they can physically bring, and how much is provided and furnished by the school.
Get to Know Your Roommate
Contacting your college roommate before you leave for school can be comforting — you’ll already know somebody on campus when you arrive! This a great first step in getting involved in the social scene on campus.
International students also may find it especially useful to have an American roommate, instead of another international student roommate. An American roommate can not only allow international students who speak another language to practice English, but also provide information about American culture and etiquette.
College International Student Centers
Most schools have an international student services center devoted to helping international students get the information they need. If you have questions, this is probably the first place to look.
Many schools also have an international student “buddy program,” which matches incoming students with current students who can answer questions and provide international students with the information they need.