I have been a fan of this blog since the days I was in my home country to the day I arrived in the USA to pursue my masters. However, I would like to stress that F1 Visa approval is just a quarter of the battle won.
I would first of all like to congratulate all those who have been able to get their visas to come and study in the USA.
It has come to no surprise that many people now days have the information and are well prepared while going to face the consular officer.
I can say that the visa approval rate stands at 75%, which is good.
I would like to stress that this is just a quarter of the battle that has been won and here’s 6 solid reasons.
- Maintain the visa status
- Managing your finances
- On-Campus jobs
- Culture Shock
- The stress of CPT, OPT and H1B Lottery
- Whats next after H1B Visa?
Maintaining Status in the USA
This is the most challenging part of studying in the USA, which many international students fail to pay attention.
How about those who fail courses and are placed on probation, then they can’t find themselves registering the following semester and not to mention about dismissal from the graduate school.
However, you can cheer up, because the American educational makes it difficult for an average Joe to fail. The case of my friend.
My friend who took four classes in the first semester and was overwhelmed with the coursework, he would have failed the fourth class had he not taken an incomplete (I), so that he could complete the course during summer at his own pace.
Also, you must be on status to get a Drivers License, SSN, On-campus jobs.
Not to mention the new USCIS Memo about accruing Unlawful presence.
Money and Finances
It is very expensive to study in the USA. Some private universities charge $50,000 per year.
Your survival in the USA depends on you being able to pay your college fees. So please come prepared.
Part-Time, on-campus job can only cater for your personal expenses like monthly rent, phone bill, gas bill/ electric and food.
Working off-campus is illegal and can lead you into trouble. Despite that, several students take this risk and get paid in cash.
That’s what I meant in the first point – Maintaining students status. Do you have what it takes to continue to battle, if you don’t have sufficient funds, no financial aid and without on-campus jobs?
Some people are able to get jobs easily while others have to hustle.
My international student affairs advisor told me “You don’t have a sign on your forehead was written, international student”.
Learn to hustle. Make yourself available. Keep looking for opportunities. Most people have no idea where you are from. If you are from the USA or not, if you want to make your ends meet, you got to hustle. But, don’t let go of your focus on your education.
Americans are very individualistic.
Here people mind their own business. After class, everybody leaves and goes their own way. Actually, only the old Americans have time to ask you about your personal life.
That is why there is ‘China town’ in the USA. Now here is summer time and you will see all the craziest things in utter shock.
It is like a time to throw all morals out the window. Especially if you arrive from a conservative country like mine.
The stress of OPT and H1B Visa
For me internships are not hard to come by, the challenge is after you graduate.
If you are lucky enough to graduate (very possible). Unless you are lucky or have good networks, finding a job is no easy task.
However be optimistic, many people don’t find Full-Time employment and end up working for consultants.
Here’s what some students have to go through to just get H1B Visa:
- Study for 2 Years (Masters)
- OPT – H1B 1st attempt
- STEM OPT – H1B 2nd Attempt
- STEM OPT – H1B 3rd Attempt
- Second Masters – Day 1 CPT College – H1B 4th Attempt
- Second MAsters – Day 1 CPT College – H1B 5th Attempt
You probably know friends who have endured the above process and received H1B Visa. Getting H1B visa is half the battle won if your goal is to establish your career and life in the USA on a long term.
Whats Next After H1B Visa
So you got the job, lucky to get H1B Visa via lottery, worked for six years, what’s next if you plan to still be here.
What about your status, you don’t want to fall out of status.
If you plan to do your PhD, it’s good for you. Maybe you want to try for MBA.
Perhaps, your employer applies for Green Card then you could extend your H1B and there’s strict timeline that one has to meet to extend H-1B visa even if employer files for Green Card.
For those who are coming know that you have got three more quarters of the journey to go through and the remaining journey doesn’t have a set time since the Green Card wait times are well anyone’s guess right now for Indian nationals and at least for me, I don’t have long wait times.
This article was shared by Kenneth Njoroge.