Moving to the U.S. is going to be a cultural shock at first. You will have to adjust to a different climate, language, society, societal dynamics, and culture. The move may be overwhelming, but you are not alone. Hundreds of thousands of students and scholars move to the U.S. every year from all over the world.
Many students worry about their safety, as there have been instances of racism and violence towards immigrants reported from time to time. However, universities in the U.S. encourage diversity. They are extremely considerate of the safety and well-being of their foreign students.
Read this guide so that you know all about staying safe in the U.S. as a student.
Make sure that you know everything about the place you are moving to. Conduct enough research that you are well-informed about the laws applicable in the state you are moving to. Consider going through the national news for the U.S., know what weather to expect for the first 6 months of your life in the new city, and ask for a copy of the student handbook provided by your university. With adequate knowledge, it will be much easier for you to adapt to a new environment.
Carry Enough Cash
After moving to the U.S., opening a bank account and getting an ATM card may take a while. Carrying enough cash to last you at least a month is a good idea.
Reach Out to Your University’s Human Resources Department
Most colleges and universities in the U.S. have a department that helps international students sort out any problems they might face. Contact the relevant office at your university and save its emergency helpline number. Many educational institutes even offer transportation to drop you off where you are staying.
Always Be Alert
Burglaries and thefts are common in the U.S. If you stay on the ground floor, always keep your windows locked before you go to sleep. Also, remember to lock the main entrance to your apartment. Instead of hiding your spare key under a tub or a mat outside your apartment, consider keeping it in your locker at the university.
Keep Your Valuables Safe
Keep some cash stashed in your home which you can use in emergency situations. Do not carry the originals of your important documents like your passport, visa letters, and so on. Keep these documents stored safely at your accommodations. Instead, carry photocopies of the documents you might need.
Carry Enough Medicine
Most universities have health insurance facilities for foreign students. However, carry your regular medications before travelling to the United States, since it might take some time for the paperwork to be complete.
In Case of Emergencies…
Call 9-1-1. You must have heard it a thousand times already, but this little piece of advice never gets old. If you have any kind of emergency—medical or otherwise—call 9-1-1. It is also a good idea to contact campus authorities so that they may help you out.
Easy on the Partying
University life can be fun once you have settled in. However, if you see people engaging in activities that might be dangerous and / or illegal, do not engage in them. Do not get yourself in a sticky situation because of peer pressure. Instead, politely excuse yourself and distance yourself from the situation. Do not engage in any activities that you feel may jeopardize your plans.
While travelling, share your location with your friends and family. That way, they can reach you or send help to your location in case of a mishap.
Get to Know Your Neighbors
Get to know the neighbors in your building. Since they will be the ones living closest to you, you should be on friendly terms with them. If you are outdoors and feel lost or in need of assistance, approach the locals. They will help you out to the best of their knowledge.
Do Not Get into a Hostile Situation
If you find yourself in an argument that appears to be escalating, do not engage any further. Distance yourself. If you have been wrongfully attacked or accused, report the event to the appropriate authorities so that they might sort it out.
Do You Have A Health Insurance Plan?
Healthcare is very costly in the U.S. If your university does not have provisions to provide health insurance, be sure to get a plan yourself. Private hospitals charge a lot of money, even for minor treatments. To avoid a large hospital bill, get international student medical insurance. Insubuy [link in new tab: https://www.insubuy.com/international-student-insurance/] lets you shortlist, compare, and buy insurance plans specifically designed for international students.
If you follow these tips, you can be as safe as possible while studying in the U.S. However, no amount of advice can match the hands-on experience you will receive upon arriving. Remember to stay safe and secure, and seize the day!
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