The mere thought of moving away from your family, friends and country to pursue higher education, can be really daunting. You may not completely understand how overwhelming living in the USA can be, until you’re actually there.
There are teething issues for anyone who travels to the US for the purpose of higher studies. These include finding a place to stay, figuring out your daily meals, knowing where to buy stuff from and so on. This can be a burden, especially during the first six months when you are most prone to be homesick.
Understanding the cultural differences between India and the US can help you accept them and can enable you to avoid random feelings of frustration and alienation.
Survival Of The Fittest
Americans are usually very friendly and warm with international students, but sometimes their openness can be overwhelming. The details of classes, the noise levels on the campus, various means of transportation and regular invitations to orientation gatherings can make you feel a little lost. However, reading up on the American culture in various international students forums and talking to existing students there can shed a good amount of light on what and what not to expect during your stay in the country.
When Mom Isn’t There
In India, most children stay with their parents and are almost always pampered by them. The same students, when they get to the US, suffer inexplicable home sickness . The key here is to make sure you are prepared for what is supposed to come your way.
Cooking, cleaning, laundry; you’ll have to learn all of these since no one in the states is going to do it for you. Also, in the US Indian food is ridiculously expensive, so if you’re a real fan of home food, better ask your mom to teach you her signature ‘aloo paratha’ recipe and more.
Information Is Key
As international students in USA, you should scour the internet for articles and blogs about lifestyle in the USA. The best way to get first-hand information is talking to someone you know in the university or finding Indian chat forums for your university. This will ensure that you’re already familiar with various aspects of your city and your subsequent university.
Packing The Right Things
Make sure you take all educational certificates and permits that allow you to be in the US. If you’re on medication, ensure that the medicine you carry is legal there, otherwise, find a legal substitute of the same.
Electrical outlets also vary from what we use here in India. Not only do they use a different connector, but also a different voltage level. Bringing adapters that can handle this difference will help you manage with your own electronics without having to buy new ones. Winter in this country is totally different from what we experience in India, so packing a good number of warm clothes will profit you in the long run.
Homesickness – Get Ready For It
International phone cards are a ‘must-have’; talking to people at home can really keep you going. Keep yourself occupied with study, work and volunteering in community and student organisations. The busier you are, the more friends you’re likely to make and the less time you have to be homesick.
Location Of Residence
Indian students usually have an option to live in dormitories or find their own place. Wherever you choose, living closer to the dorm or near a metro / bus station can be helpful and can save you a lot of travel expense in the long run.
When In Rome, Do As The Romans
Culturally, America is entirely different from India. When you get there, learn to observe your fellow students and see how they interact. Understanding this can boost your confidence and help you make new friends.
To summarize, shifting to a new culture can be a fascinating roller coaster ride. It enables you to experience an entirely new way of living and communicate on multiple levels. An education in another country can transform you into a global citizen and is one truly enthralling journey that you wouldn’t want to miss.