Last Updated: January 24, 2021
Important things to do once you arrive in the USA
Register yourself in College/University
Go to University's international student's office and register your name. You might be asked to get health insurance and deposit fees etc.
Make sure to keep all documents in a very safe place
Secure all important documents in a safe place (Passport(s), Degrees, Admission letters, I-20, etc).
Open a bank account
First of all open a bank account (find a good bank near your university). Open Savings and Checking account (both accounts are recommended).
Get Health insurance
Health insurance is compulsory for all international students. You can have it from university or private (depending on the university). Check if your health insurance covers eyes, dental... etc. Talk to International Student's office in your University.
Get your name on Housing Lease
Guys this is very important to have your housing history. Always get your name on the lease. We have seen cases where students share apartments, and they don't have their names on the lease. If you don't have a name on the lease and in case if you have to move out or like if you get an internship in a different city, you might get a hard time finding an apartment.
Get a P/T job
In case if you don't have any scholarships then start looking for a P/T job. A maximum number of jobs are available when the Fall session starts (actually a few weeks before the Fall session). There are fewer jobs in the summer session (but many 20 hrs jobs become 40 hr job). You can work 40 hrs/week during vacation(Summer)!
Look for TA/RA
Keep looking for TA/RA in your college/University. It can be in any department (outside of your major). Keep looking for scholarships within your university. Some universities might offer tuition waivers or consider you as an in-state student (which means you might have to pay ~50% of your tuition fees).
Apply for credit cards
Apply for Credit Cards after coming to the USA. It's very important. Don't misuse them. Try to make good credit history.
Apply to Credit cards Like
- American Express (blue for students)
- Bank of America
*Note: Don't apply for too many credit cards. Most Students get AMEX (American Express) and a Credit card from your bank( in which you have a savings/checking account).
Get State ID or Driving License
Get your state ID from the Secretary of State office. Always keep this with you. You will get it within an hour (of course if it's not crowded). Don't forget to take all your documents Like your Passport and Sevis I-20.
Get driving license
Learn to drive properly before you arrive in the USA. Get a Driving license as soon as possible. Firstly you have to qualify written test if you qualify to get TIP (Temporary license) with this you can drive with anybody having a permanent license.
It's valid for about 6 months (I think I am right). After one month of getting TIP, you can appear for a driving test.
Make sure you file your taxes every year! This is very important. Remember to close unused/joint accounts from your home country. You will have to pay tax on interest income earned worldwide.
Keep an eye on student visa, CPT/OPT, H1B rules
Keep eye on visa rules as they can change and it might impact your future plans.
Keep track of visa related information (especially if you are on a Student visa)
Keep yourself updated on F-1 visa
Also be tuned to H1-B visa (work visa)
I would highly recommend learning some basic skills like web designing/programming. It helps in getting a good P/T job.
Start looking for internships after the first semester (depending on your major, improve skills required for Internships).
I will highly recommend every student to learn one programming language c++ or java or python etc.
Learn more about American Culture
Some students might get a culture shock, it's better to get adapt yourself and admire American culture. It might take time to adjust and learn about expectations/languages/slangs, try to learn it fast. Your communication skills will help you to get a job.
Learn about popular sports
American Football, College Football, Baseball, Ice hockey, Basketball, Golf, etc
Keep an eye on your expenses
Make sure you know how much you are spending and how will you finance your living expenses on top of tuition fees.