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The Do’s and Don’ts For Students Moving To The US

The Do's and Don'ts For Students Moving To The US

Written by Pierre Noronha

Born and raised in Mumbai, Pierre Noronha thought that he was destined to be a Chartered Accountant, but all that changed when he discovered his love for writing. Taking this new found passion forward, he started working as a content writer for UniCreds.

October 8, 2020

Moving to a new country for further studies can be a daunting yet exciting transition. But when you’re a student who’s all set to move to the US, it’s hard to put your feelings into words. The ‘Land Of The Free’ is the preferred study destination of more than 1,000,000 international students, all focused on chasing the American Dream. But before you get to that, it is important to know certain unspoken rules about visiting the United States for the first time. So here are some do’s and don’ts for students moving to the US.  

Do’s For Students Moving To The Us

DO Tip For Good Service

It’s a well-documented fact that the US does things a little differently compared to other countries. One such example is the tipping system. In the US, tipping is customary. In fact, tips constitute a large percentage of some service employees’ salaries. In the restaurant business, for instance, tips form a major chunk of employees’ salaries as the average wage can range from $2.13 per hour to $7.25 per hour, depending on state guidelines. It is generally considered rude to dine at a restaurant and not leave a tip. One of the most important tips for international students in the US is to make sure you carry some extra cash for tips, as they range anywhere between 10 percent to 20 percent of the total bill amount. 

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DO Be On Time

Americans take time very seriously. If someone in the United States tells you to meet them at 8 AM, make sure you’re there at 8 AM sharp. Being late for a meeting/appointment does not go over well in the United States. So, ensure you take special care in reaching a particular place on time. This means taking into account unexpected delays can happen, such as heavy traffic.

DO Obey Traffic Signs 

The Do's and Don'ts For Students Moving To The US

This is another stark example of how the United States function differently compared to the world. Traffic signs can be a little different from what you find in your home country. For instance, “No Parking” signs in some parts of the world are mere suggestions for drivers but in the US they are well-enforced traffic signs, where any disobedience towards it could lead to serious ramifications. Drivers are also expected to arrive at a full stop at a red light and remain stopped until the light turns green; obey the speed limit and maintain strict lane discipline. 

Also note in the US, driving takes place on the right side of the road, which is opposite to some countries like Australia and the United Kingdom.

DO Visit National Parks

The Do's and Don'ts For Students Moving To The US
Yellowstone

As a student, you will normally be confined to the city or town your university is based in. But during summer or winter breaks, you might be tempted to explore the US a little more and maybe plan a trip to popular US destinations like New York, LA, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. While all that glitz and glamour sounds fun, we recommend you visit the severely underrated National Parks in the United States. You will find that America’s national parks boast unique mammal species only found in Northern America, like grizzly bears, and beautiful sceneries worth long selfie-moments. Here are some of the must-visit National Parks in the US –

  • Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
  • Denali National Park, Alaska
  • Yosemite, California
  • Yellowstone, Wyoming
  • Glacier National Park, Montana

DO Be Kind And Courteous To Locals

A good rule of thumb for visiting any new place for the first time is – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. While in the US, it is recommended that you smile, ask questions in a polite manner, say “please” and “thank you,” and be patient with the locals. Americans will reciprocate your kindness by perhaps, helping you settle in your student accommodation or showing you the best of their cities and towns.

DO Open A Student Bank Account In Time

Before moving to the US, or any country for that matter, make sure you have a working bank account in that country. Chances are that your domestic bank account may have branches in the country you’re studying in. So be sure to check with your bank before moving to the US. You might also be prompted by your university to pay your tuition fees before you get your visa. In such situations, you can apply for an education loan with UniCreds and get the assistance you need.   

Don’ts For Students Moving To The Us

The Do's and Don'ts For Students Moving To The US

Don’t Try To See Too Much Or Do Too Much

The US is larger than the entire continent of Europe. For students who have just moved to the States to pursue their education, I feel like it is my duty to tell you – Do. Not. Try. To. See. And. Do. Too. Much. 

You might be tempted to visit tourist hotspots like New York, Washington, DC, Miami, and Los Angeles all in one trip, but that kind of travel just won’t be feasible for a weary student like yourself. If at all you find the time (and money) to explore the United States, focus on a particular region and travel more deeply. You could plan a trip to the East Coast and visit New York City and Washington DC or go to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, which are located on the West Coast. 

Don’t Assume You Can Smoke Anywhere

In today’s day and age, smoking is prohibited in many public places. The US takes this up a notch with its strict and rigid measures against smoking. If you are studying in places like New York City, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington DC, smoking is banned in bars, clubs, restaurants, and most indoor spaces, like malls. California has taken even more drastic measures by banning smoking in public parks, healthcare facilities, beaches, and private residences. Search for dedicated smoking areas within your locality if you do wish to smoke. 

Don’t Use American Slang

Forget all the American slang that you’ve learned by watching Hollywood movies. Americans take speech seriously and may be offended by certain words you say, no matter how sincere the intentions. Students need to be vigilant about their surroundings and whom they are talking to. Stick to your everyday vocabulary like “How are you” instead of “How are y’all?”

Don’t Use The Metric System

As an international student, you’ll soon realise that the most difficult (read: frustrating) part of living in the US, is the US’s detest for the metric system. Forget all you know about Celsius degrees, kilograms, and kilometers and replace it with Fahrenheit, pounds, and miles respectively. You might find this change difficult in the beginning, so take the help of online converter tools and apps. 

Thank you for reading this blog. If you’d like to read more, here are some blogs that might be of interest to you –

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