Congratulations! You have just got admission to a university in the US and there are many things you need to do before take off.
Madhavi Desai, a Mumbai-based education consultant who holds a master's degree from Purdue University, Indiana has a few pointers for you.
i. Once you get admission to your desired university, you need to apply for a student visa. It's not that easy, but you may be lucky enough to manage one. Be smart, confident and precise when you are being interviewed for your visa.
Your potential and personality play a key role.
Note: When you apply for a visa, they give the results within 10-15 days. This is a special concession time meant for students; business groups may have to wait for months together.
ii. Next, start packing. Make sure you go in for good long-lasting baggage. Don't carry too many bags as this will be inconvenient for you to handle. Three suitcases and a handbag will do fine.
iii. Coming to your belongings:
a) Carry the right type of clothing for the climate you will be in (preferably a warm collection).
b) A comfortable pair of shoes and an extra pair just in case.
c) Basic sets of bed linen and personal toiletry items.
d) Essential cooking items you might need, like special pots or pans and spices (well sealed), You are not allowed to carry dairy, agricultural or canned food abroad.
e) Medical supplies, but only with a prescription. If you carry medicines without a proper prescription, you will not be allowed to board the flight.
f) Get all your medical check ups and vaccinations done (tetanus, hepatitis, and a general check up including blood test, urine test, HIV test, etc).
g) Your school/college transcripts.
h) Carry "student health insurance" with you. It is also available in India.
Student health insurance
What is it? Specially designed to cover the health services that students need, this will help you pay for medical and hospital care while studying abroad.
A student insurance health plan is compulsory in the US.
A rough approximation: around Rs 2,600 for 60 days and go up to Rs 5,000 depending upon the time period and how much health you are covering. The premium amount also depends up on your insurance cover.
Generally such covers don't cost more than Rs 10,000 annually.
NOTE: Student health cover cost and content also varies from state to state.
A student health cover is meant to cover all your medical expenditure for the time you are studying abroad. It provides coverage for doctors, hospitals, emergency ambulance transport, travel and prescribed medicines.
As for making the right choice, remember that several insurance providers cater to students. Health insurance programmes are available in all states from a variety of providers. You should definitely shop around at more than one provider, because prices and coverage can vary tremendously.
You can also check out the two leading student insurance companies -- Tata AIG, ICICI Lombard.
~ Carry a map of the place you going to stay in.
~ Carry clothing, toiletries, shoes and cooking items.
~ Develop the capacity to make friends. It will help you settle in and get familiar with people around you. You have to understand one thing clearly -- that you are going to an alien land and if you do not make friends, it's really tough to lead a lonely life.
~ Carry enough currency that you are capable of and can handle. Also have a sufficient amount of funds to cover admission fees, as per the rules set within the current RBI limits.
~ Ensure the validity of your passport and visa.
~ Carry too many bags.
~ Carry medicines without a proper prescription.
~ Carry heavy electronic items that aren't necessary.
~ Be careless about your belongings.
Advice from Naitik Shah, 24, a student of Northeastern University at Boston.
~ Get used to the idea of sharing your living space with someone else. Work upon your living habits and try to improve them. Be more adjusting and don't be obstinate. Be careful with your belongings. Try and share the space allotted to you, equally. Maintain hygienic conditions within your living area.
~ Make sure you keep all essential documents safely. They serve as your lifeline; so don't be careless about these.
~ If you check in and find that your luggage is overweight, first try and convince the officials by telling them it is your first trip and you know no one there. If matters settle down, good for you. If they don't, leave behind the extra luggage. Make sure you don't miss out on anything important, though. In case you have to leave some luggage behind, ask someone to sort out the things you require from the things that can wait. The bag that contains necessary items can then be sent through someone who is coming that way and has less baggage.
~ Make sure you carry more books than food items because books are really expensive abroad.
~ Try getting used to the time difference, probably by sleeping here at the university time. Do this for a few days before your departure.
~ Take the advice of an education consultant. Consultants charge around Rs 12, 000 to Rs 13,000 for the entire process, right from the beginning and through the admission process. Web sites are not always a dependable source.
Are you currently studying abroad?
Or have you completed a stint at a foreign university before?
Share your experiences with other Get Ahead readers -- good, bad and the ugly.