Hey HSB, just a small attempt to share my experience of 2 months in US with a few suggestions.
I have tried focusing on few things that were not emphasized. Let me not share my name and other identification (though you will be aware of it ).
It took me a while to figure out what all should I write regarding my experience about landing in US and getting set for a transition in life. I procrastinated this because there were few unique things happening around me and was curious if there are more.
Of course for every individual it will be a unique experience for sure and I just want to share how different my uniqueness was from others.
Its been two and half months of my life here, and I’m learning a lot of things not just from the Americans but also from my people (Hope you get me). Just a glance of it here.
Travel from India to USA
It was my first flight experience and was a long journey indeed.
Traveling through Emirates Airlines was a good choice at last. For the first time I saw with my naked eyes what I used to see through google earth. And this time it was more astonishing.
There were no issues with my baggage and flight delays. Everything was right on time.
It’s good to find some traveling partners may be up to your destiny. It relieves you a lot if you are traveling for the first time and you don’t feel that confident about yourself traveling alone. I fortunately found few guys who were traveling to the same destination from the same departing location.
Prefer to pick aisle seat when you are traveling longer distance in a single flight. My itinerary was from India to Dubai (3.5hrs), Dubai- NY (13hrs), NY to ******* (1.5hrs). I had picked aisle seat only for the journey from Dubai to NY.
And as it is there are tips available already in the HSB post – How to Avoid Air Travel Jet lag. To be honest all throughout the trip I followed every bit of it and eventually ended having no jet lag at all.
One point to mention, change your sleeping habits for the last few of your days in India to sleep late at night. It really works. About the POE I just have one sentence.
After all the POE stuff every individual will say “Was that all?”. I hope that helps you gauge the seriousness you should have towards it. But never ignore.
A New life: Really?
Indian students association at my university really helped a lot of students with the temporary accommodation. Seniors really worked hard to ease it for the newcomers.
It’s better to get in touch with them ones you clear your visa and start working on your plans. You can even talk to your faculty adviser if you are comfortable. And it’s fact that professors here are your colleagues not teachers.
You should be good in analyzing your adviser through their responses for your emails. My adviser is from India and is really a cheerful guy unlike those come from the same nest. (Lucky again).
After finding so many Indians up here I wondered if I really had crossed sea. Its good be in a different place like this and still have people of your culture around you. It will definitely a major factor to ease your settling down process.
First Day in USA
<HSB – I posted similar tips when I started this blog – First Week in USA >
For the first day it was quite dooming for me, may be because of the fatigue. And I and my roommate, who had arrived two days before me, went ahead and signed the lease and moved in. Things look great in the initial days as there would be no course load, no assignments nothing. Just eat, roam, make friends and learn to follow rules.
- It’s good to walk in groups until you get to know the place.
- Find friends if not make friends whom you meet on your way.
- Figure out the best ways to get a job done.
Ask for the information unlike me who many a times carries a stubborn, independent and “I know how to tackle it” attitude.
It may get you into trouble if you are not confident about your attitude.
Attend orientations offered by the university; attend different events in the initial days. You may repent later, if you don’t do so.
They are great source of information and you will a lot of free stuff and see how generous are Americans.
Ask questions, it’s the best way to gather attention. Stay safe!
Dealing with Roommates
It takes time get adjusted to your roommates if you previously had not known them.
Every individual will be unique. It’s the compromise that can take everything smoothly for you.
You may turn up hating your roommates in the worst case; remember you will be signing a lease of 9 or 12 months.
You may have to end up in paying few buck if you want to withdraw the lease. Be careful about your lease terms before signing especially the letters on the document with smaller font size.
So technically speaking not everything in US is easy. You may even feel most of the things being complicated, and that is solely because we are new here. Be aware of the resources and how to make good use of them.
It’s good to buy laptop as soon as you arrive. That’s where I went wrong. You can buy a phone later, ones you irritate a senior enough to get you a phone.
Definition of computer here is not “an electronic machine bla bla bla . . “ It is your soul of study and entertainment (notice study come first).
Where did the uniqueness come from?
I had few instances which were indeed unique for me here. (Why International students in USA are Unique?)
An experience of earth quake in the middle of the day, followed by a hurricane after about a week and an ambulance ride for the first time life in the middle of a night for the sake of my friend though it wasn’t that serious later.
Just one major thing to mention, have a sound knowledge about your health insurance and about your health and its possible deviations.
Don’t try hard on American food in the initial days; give yourself time to get acquainted with it.
Health care here is really, really, really costly.
Though we can not do much about earthquake, the precautions about hurricane and its predictions and updates being circulated to keep the people aware, was appreciating. Its good to follow the updates on such happenings.
My friend had an acute and panicking problem in the middle of the night. Though later turned out to be just an infection of 3 hours.
But we had already made a decision call 911, And all we saw was taking him to the nearby hospital, injecting a painkiller, drawing blood sample for test and discharging him after 3 hours without even able to find the exact reason for the health upset. That’s it, no more medicines and treatments.
He was feeling good all in all until he received his bill. Altogether, he had to pay about $2500+.
For that 10 minute drive in ambulance and hospitalizing for 3 hours. Ambulance ride alone was billed for about $500+.
And the funny fact was that, when we rid the taxi on our way back from the hospital we paid $10. You see now how unique was it? Many a time’s health insurance doesn’t cover ambulance. Be aware of it.
So what best you can do in such times? Have contact numbers of seniors and your faculty adviser. They will be of help.
First Semester in College
Discuss with your adviser before you pick the courses for the first semester. It’s very critical, because I have seen few people around me worrying about after.
Though it may not be feasible with the CS or Computer engineering students as there will be huge rush towards the courses. Still you will see many people dropping the course after a week or two.
You can then make a choice. Have your wish-list prepared. The course load would be really heavy and can be a great mess if you don’t make a wise choice. To make a wise choice you need advice.
To have a good advice you need seniors and your adviser. To have your seniors and adviser to guide you, you need to communicate (even if you may not receive their responses soon).
First semester GPA and course compositions are critical if you are looking for a summer internship, Make such a choice that you maintain your GPA and enjoy being in US in the first semester.
I would say, pick the courses you are good at and have some background study experience. It’s good to have regular interaction with your teachers and friends.
Keep reading HSB for more of such experiences from others and enrich yourself.
Medical costs are very expensive in USA. Don’t try to save money by not buying health insurance coverage.
Tip to lower the medical Bill
If your friend hasn’t paid the bills, have him call the hospital billing department and ask for discount.
I will pay the bill today, can you give me 30% discount.
Even if you don’t get 30% discount from $2,500 bill, you should be able to get some discount.
Adjusting with roommates takes time. When they are from different states, it will take time to get along.
First semester is always tough. Stay strong, learn things as they come along.
Learning experience you get from day to day activities is actually preparing you to face bigger challenges in life.