Studying in the US: A basic guide, Part 5. Living in the US

Studying in the US: A basic guide, Part 5. Living in the US

The United States often seems like a fantastic place to live for people looking in from the outskirts. However, there is much that goes into living in the United States, even as a student. There are many things that you need to be prepared for so take this guide seriously.

Culture Shock

When you move to the US for school, you will be entering a different life. Culture shock is basically a feeling of disorientation. Most people will experience this. It is not uncommon to feel sad, depressed, longing to see family and friends, aches, pains, lack of confidence and even a feeling of isolation, not wanting to communicate with the people around you. In order to shake this you must remember that you are not the only one experiencing this, in fact majority of international students will experience this. Try to keep in touch with your family as much as you can. You may also find support at the admissions office of the school you choose to attend. Most school’s will also have an international students office that hosts many different activities to keep you engaged. Take advantage of all that is available to you.


Getting around in the US can often be challenging depending on the area you choose to attend school. This challenge will arise whether you choose to live on or off campus. If you choose a school in the city then you will mostly have all the following options available to you.

  • Uber or Lyft
  • Public Train
  • Public Bus
  • Bicycle
  • Private taxis
  • Car rentals
  • Carpooling
  • Ability to purchase a car

Of the above the cheapest option to you are Uber or Lyft, the public bus, train and bicycle. The rest are a bit on the costly side and may be time consuming. While internationals are able to get an american license, this is only available in select states. Also, there is the added element of insurance. It is advised that you make friends and stick to simple easy options that will get you to your destination safely. Non-city areas will not have trains or buses that are always available.

Money Matters

Money matter in the US will be very similar to your home country. When you arrive you may need to see about getting set up with a local bank. As for expenses, you will be purchasing things that you used at home so just budget accordingly. Added expenses will arise for decor of your dorm room and getting set up during the first few weeks. Most universities will allow online payments for fees and tuition so there is no need to travel with cash. Debit cards are international and can be traveled, the only downfall is that you may need to pay a fee for international transactions.

Working in the US

As students you have the ability to work in the US. International students are on a F1 visa and this allows work under select conditions. See them below:

For on-campus work, an F1 student is subject to the following rules:

  • You must maintain valid F1 status
  • You can work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session
  • You can work full-time on campus during holidays and vacation periods if you intend to register for the next academic semester
  • The employment may not displace (take a job away from) a U.S. resident

Safety Issues

Safety issues arise wherever you decide to venture to. The best advice is that you have to take responsibility for your own safety. Be vigilant, travel in groups, update people when you decide to venture off campus, take advantage of on campus safety mechanisms. Living on campus will be the best way to ensure your safety.

This journey will be one filled with great memories. Enjoy it and be safe.

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