An international education is something that will provide you with such an enriching and rewarding experience that it will last with you for the rest of your life – you will learn new things, experience new cultures and it will open up your mind to the wide world in which we live.
Undergraduate education is the post-secondary education previous to the postgraduate education. It includes all the academic programs up to the level of a bachelor’s degree. For example, in the United States an entry level university student is known as an undergraduate, while students of higher degrees are known as graduates.
In the United States of America undergraduate refers to those who are studying for a bachelor’s degree. Degrees in law and medicine are not offered at the undergraduate level and are completed as professional study after earning a bachelor’s degree. Neither field specifies or prefers any undergraduate major, though medical schools have set prerequisite courses that must be taken before enrollment.
An undergraduate student in the United States is seeking one of two higher education degrees an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree.
An undergraduate student in the United States is seeking one of two higher education degrees an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree.
An associate’s degree is a two-year program that either results in an Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate of Science (AS) degree. It is often a general degree that is structured similarly to the first two years of a bachelor’s degree.
Associate’s degrees normally do not require a major or specific area of study. So if you’re unsure what you’d like to focus on but are considering a four-year degree, an associate’s could be a great place to start.
Associate’s degrees are technically less expensive than bachelor’s degrees, clearly, because of their shorter durations. An associate’s degree program won’t keep you out of the workforce for as long.
If you’re planning on transferring to a four-year program, an associate’s degree program can be a good idea. You can possibly save money for the first two years of your education by studying at a local community college, but ultimately receive a degree with the four-year institution’s name on it. Be meticulous about researching credit transfers, sometimes this can be difficult, especially with credits from online associate’s degree programs.
The greatest downside to an associate’s degree in the job market is that you will be competing with plenty of individuals with bachelor’s degrees. Many white-collar employers will eliminate resumes without bachelor’s degrees right off the bat.
Bachelor’s degrees in the United States is a four-year program this is either completed as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. Most bachelor’s degree programs require choosing a major and completing some kind of final project to earn the degree at the end of the course of study.
Bachelor’s degrees offer the classic four-year college experience. With a four-year college education, you’ll be able to delve deeply into your academic specialty, as well as exploring other areas that interest you. While it is not the length alone that makes a bachelor’s program worthwhile, this longer amount of time does allow you to develop your skills and deepen your knowledge.
Some career paths require a bachelor’s degree, particularly if they require graduate school. For example, you most likely will be unable to get into law school or medical school without a bachelor’s degree. In all likelihood, you will need a bachelor’s degree to enter into other graduate programs such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a Master of Fine Arts (MFA).
Well-paying fields like accounting and finance also often require at least a bachelor’s degree for entry.
[av_toggle title=’Define Your Priorities’ tags=”]
When searching for an undergraduate program in the United States, it is important to first decide what is most important to you. Please answer the following questions with as much information as possible.
- Why do you want to study in the United States?
- Which subjects interest you the most? For example, art, music, science, technology, etc.
- Which degree will you seek in the United States?
- During which time of the year do you want to begin your studies in the United States?
- After you finish this degree in the United States and return to your home country, what type of job or employment do you plan to seek? For example, doctor, engineer, social worker, teacher, etc.
- Do you plan to begin a graduate or other academic program after completing your bachelor’s degree in the United States?
- What skills do you want to improve while in the United States?
- How will studying in the United States help you improve these skills?
- Have you taken any classes or earned any degrees beyond secondary/high school?
- How will you pay for your studies in the United States?
- How much money, in U.S. Dollars, can your own source(s) contribute each year?
- Which type of U.S. institution is best for you?
- How did you perform in secondary/high school based on this GPA measure?
- Which of the following standardized U.S. college or university admission tests have you taken?
We prepared a college list for your and please check our “Recommended College List”
Use university search engine, College Navigator (NCES).
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations. NCES is located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. NCES fulfills a Congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze, and report complete statistics on the condition of American education; conduct and publish reports; and review and report on education activities internationally.
What’s the difference between financial aid, grants and scholarships?
Financial aid is simply money to pay for college from sources other than your savings or your family’s contribution. It can come in many forms and is certainly not only for those students who demonstrate a financial need.
A grant is an award offered from a federal agency to help you pay for your tuition, and the best thing about them is that they don’t need to be paid back.
Scholarships are given to you either because you are an excellent student, you’re a minority or you can’t afford your college even with the grants and loans.
Can you get a job on campus to help cover educational expenses?
If you are an international student studying in the US, you have the opportunity to work part-time but remember that you are restricted by the terms of your visa. It is a MUST that you know all the requirements and restrictions concerning your visa!
Although F-1 status includes an on-campus employment privilege, on-campus employment opportunities at most schools are limited. Even if you can obtain a job on campus, you may not rely on it to prove financial resources for the year, and often these jobs are not related to your studies. Many schools do require that you obtain permission from the International Student Office prior to accepting any on-campus employment, and may not permit such employment in a student’s first semester or year.
For on-campus work, an F-1 student is subject to the following rules:
- You must maintain valid F-1 status
- You can work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session
- You can work full-time on campus during holidays and vacation periods if you intend to register for the next academic semester
- The employment may not displace (take a job away from) a U.S. resident
[av_toggle title=’Make a Shortlist of Your Top Choices’ tags=”]
How Many Colleges Should You Apply?
The typical advice, is to apply to 10 to 15 schools. But make sure you choose those schools carefully. This may sound obvious, but if you can’t picture yourself being happy at a school, don’t apply to it. Also, don’t apply to a school simply because it has a great reputation or it’s where your parents went or it’s where all your friends are going.
Begin with 15 or so possible choices and narrow down your list after carefully researching schools, visiting their campuses and talking with students. Apply to those schools that are a good match for your personality, interests and career goals.
If you have an idea of exactly which colleges or universities you will be applying to, visit the websites of only those institutions to learn more.
You may choose to find information for 10 to 20 colleges or universities that meet your needs. Then narrow down your list once you have conducted additional research about each one.
How do you find out more information about a particular institution?
Check college and university websites. Many U.S. colleges and universities have their course catalogs online.
Do additional homework. Use social media and take virtual tours of U.S. campuses to learn even more. If possible, visit the campus in person to get the best sense of the atmosphere and setting.
Send an email. You should only contact admissions representatives directly to ask specific questions that are not addressed on the institution’s website.
Purpose of Standardized Tests
The purpose of standardized tests to provide fair, valid and reliable assessments that produce meaningful results. Standardized testing, if done carefully and with a high degree of quality assurance, can eliminate bias and prevent unfair advantages by testing the same or similar information under the same testing conditions.
Standardized tests allow the comparison of test takers from different areas of the state, the country and the world.
Preparing for Tests
Being ready for a test begins weeks, months and sometimes years before test day. The best way test takers can prepare for a test is to familiarize themselves with the format of the test and review the content areas the test will cover. This helps reduce anxiety and increase confidence on test day.
Here are test preparation tips and materials for some of the tests we develop.
English Proficiency Tests
Whether you are looking to demonstrate proficiency to a potential employer or to a school, there are several widely recognized tests and examinations you can choose from. Each has unique benefits, so do your research to determine which one best suits your needs.
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an English exam assessing your listening, reading, writing and speaking skills. The IELTS recognizes both British and American English offering both an Academic and General Training test depending on whether you need it for school or work.
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) evaluates your ability to listen, read, speak and write English at the university level. Accepted by over 8,500 colleges and universities in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, over 27 million people have sat for the TOEFL test in over 130 countries.
The Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) measures English proficiency, specifically as it is used in real-life situations in the workplace. This exam evaluates your ability to listen, read, speak and write English. The TOEIC is used by employers to hire, place and promote employees.
Finances is one of the most common reasons people bring out as a problem when talking about going to study abroad.
Too often people consider it simply unaffordable. In reality, studying abroad can sometimes be even cheaper than studying at the home university. There are many possibilities how to finance your studies starting from scholarships, student jobs and ending with study loans and savings. If you really want something then you can make it happen.
What to take into account when planning your budget?
- Tuition Fee
- Cost of Study Materials (books, etc.)
- Cost of Transportation to the Institution (flight tickets, train tickets, etc.)
- Living Costs (accommodation, food, transportation, etc.)
How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad?
Study abroad costs are more than just program fees. To see how much your abroad experience will ultimately drain your bank account, read on for our guide on how to calculate the cost of your study abroad semester.
Know What’s Included in Your Program Costs (and What’s Not)
You’ll be paying for a lot of things when living abroad– food, accommodations, travel, and more.
You should receive a list of everything that the program cost covers, but be sure to contact your advisor or program coordinator with questions about any additional charges you are not certain are included.
Know Your Spending Habits
You’ve done your research, and you know what typical prices are like in your study abroad city. But those numbers won’t help you calculate the cost of your study abroad semester if you don’t know how many times a week you’ll be going out to dinner, or using the bus. By figuring out your spending habits, you can accurately calculate how much you’ll spend each week.
Figure out how often you typically shop for clothing and other items that aren’t food, and how much you tend to spend.
What’s your eating out to eating in ratio?
Estimate how many times you’ll want to eat out per week and what your budget is for those meals.
Check the program calendar to see how many free weekends and extended breaks you’ll have open for travel. What do you think your travel style will be? Jet-setting to different countries every weekend, or experiencing the local culture by train or bus?
Research the Average Costs in Your City
Knowing the exchange rate is useless unless you know how much things will cost in your study abroad city.
Budget Your Trip is a great tool to use to find the average daily costs in cities around the world. Use it to get an average of what you’ll spend on food and more, depending on your travel style (which we assume is “budget” for most students).
For more specific costs, find your study abroad city on Numbeo and see how much things you’ll purchase while abroad are, like a dozen eggs, a one way bus ticket.
Reduce Educational Costs
Study abroad programs are the stock and trade of most top tier four year colleges and for students who choose to enroll in them they can become an edge in the job search. However according to a report from the British Council, a U.K. non-profit that promotes overseas educational programs, the number of American students considering study abroad has slumped 12% from last year.
Why? Study abroad program inflation. At an average cost of $31,270 per semester, these programs run about double what a semester at private colleges run.
Many US students are unfamiliar with the financial realities of foreign study, with only 23% aware of government-sponsored programs – up from 6% in 2013. We’ve outlined the best tips below so you don’t have to sacrifice your experience to save a buck.
Rethink How You Book Airfare
It’s commonly known that airfare prices balloon as flight dates approach, yet abroad students habitually reserve seats on the fly. A quick Expedia.com search shows waiting to book airfare until a week before a trip can drain hundreds of dollars from your bank account. Do yourself a favor and book in advance.
Leave Your Old Credit Card At Home
Most credit cards will bill customers a foreign exchange fee, which is a 1-3% charge on every purchase made overseas. After living in a foreign country for six months, this expense can become pretty substantial. It may be in students’ best interest to sign up for a credit card without exchange fees, such as Capital One’s Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card or the BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card. With no annual membership fees, 1.5% cash back on all purchases and various rewards for spending $500 in the first 3 months, your savings account will thank you.
Get International Student Status
If you’re over 12 years old and a full-time student, then there may be one piece of plastic missing from your wallet. The International Student Identity Card, which is issued in over 130 countries, gives cardholders discounts on any product, service or experience relevant to student life and doubles as proof of student status. Airfare, magazine subscriptions, movie passes, restaurants and countless other everyday services are all included in the perks. The card varies in price between $4 and $20, depending on the country of registration, and is valid for 16 months so you can continue to rack up savings even after you return home.
Apply For Funding
With thousands of international and domestic organizations dedicated to funding student travel, every student can find a scholarship, loan, grant or fellowship relevant to their needs. Sifting through these opportunities can be overwhelming, but search engines like studyabroadfunding.org, simplify the process by filtering programs according to field of study and country.
Do you know you want to study abroad but don’t know how to get started? We created this timeline to guide you through the steps of the study abroad process. This is merely an example of the ideal application process and may vary by program location. Students are often able to apply closer to their program start date and, in some cases, after the application deadline.
Exploring your program options: (approx. 8-12 months before your program starts)
• Contemplate and reflect on goals for studying abroad (academic, career, and personal)
• Research countries and cities of interest
• Meet with academic and study abroad advisors to discuss your plans to study abroad
• Speak with program alumni about their experiences
• Apply/renew your passport, if necessary (your passport should be valid 6 months after
your intended return date). See US Department of State website
Choosing and applying for a program: (approx. 6-10 months before your program starts)
• Review application procedures and make certain you meet eligibility requirements
• Submit supplemental application materials (i.e. deposit, transcript)
• Start a financial plan: research scholarships, encourage family/friends to give monetary
• Request faculty recommendations for scholarship applications, if needed
• Meet with academic advisor to confirm study abroad plans and discuss course selection
• Ensure required paperwork is submitted to your home university study abroad office
Preparing for your Study Abroad Experience
After acceptance: (approx. 4-6 months before your program starts)
• Begin the visa application process, if applicable
• Set a reminder for payment deadlines and finalize your budget start tracking exchange rates that may impact your budget
• Complete all home university study abroad requirements and paperwork
• Research flight options and costs
Planning Guide and Timelineontinued research and preparation: (approx. 1-3 months before your program starts)
• Continue to research country and city where you will be living and follow relevant news online; purchase or borrow a guidebook for additional information/recommendations
• Research climate at your program site and make a packing list, including culturally appropriate clothing and any household items you may need
• Purchase airline tickets, if you haven’t already done so
• Visit your physician, optometrist, and dentist to discuss any medical issues, obtain required immunizations, and fill any required prescription medications, if needed
• Attend pre-departure orientation, if offered at your home university
• Ensure you have a credit and/or debit card that can be used overseas and inform banks and credit card companies of your travel plans
• Become familiar with the US Embassy closest to your program site
Final arrangements: (week of your departure)
• Get cash in the currency of your program site for immediate arrival needs
• Copy all important documents and credit cards to leave one copy at home and take one with you abroad (i.e. passport, other photo ID, credit cards, etc).
• Prepare travel file to hold important documents (i.e. passport, plane tickets, Arrival Update); share information with a key contact person at home, such as a parent
• Re-confirm airline and arrival transportation arrangements
• Compile a list of emergency, program, and friend contacts (phone numbers, email, mailing address)
• Say your goodbyes and get ready for the experience of a lifetime!
Maximizing Your Experience Abroad
• Keep a journal and/or blog to document and share your experiences
• Take pictures and label them as you go
• Stay in touch with your academic and study abroad advisors
Make Your Calendar for Your Admission Options
Admission requirements for study abroad and exchange programmes
Admission as a study abroad or exchange student is based on three or four factors:
- 1. Academic requirements
- 2. English language requirements
- 3. Course capacity
1. Academic requirements
- You should have completed at least two years of university education
- You must have a GPA of at least 3.2 out of 4.0 (or equivalent)
- Your academic background must be relevant to the courses you are applying for
2. English language requirements
You will need to demonstrate your proficiency in English, preferably by means of an IELTS test (though we also accept TOEFL.
This requirement does not apply if you:
- Completed your secondary education in Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, the UK or the USA
- Have an International Baccalaureate diploma.
3. Course capacity
Admission to a specific course will also depend on the maximum number of students each class can accommodate.
[av_tab title=’Visa’ icon_select=’no’ icon=’ue800′ font=’entypo-fontello’]
Here are some guidelines to help make your student visa application process smooth and successful.
Getting your visa to study in the United States takes time but can be a surprisingly easy procedure. It is well worth the effort. In many countries, the number of student visas issued by the United States has grown significantly in the last year.
While the application process for an international student or exchange visitor visa can be confusing, hundreds of thousands of students are able to meet the requirements for a visa each year. Last year, 534,298 F-1 student visas were issued!
After a college, university, or English language school has accepted you for admission to full-time study, the school will send you a document called an I-20 form, which is the application for an F-1 visa.
If you will be an Exchange Visitor, the organization or U.S. Government agency that is sponsoring you will send you a DS-2019 form, which is the application for a J-1 visa.
The U.S.A. issues different types of visas to students.
A full-time student would receive an F-1 or M-1 visa.
Your spouse and children would receive F-2 or M-2 visas.
An Exchange Visitor would receive a J-1 visa.
Exchange Visitors come to the U.S.A. for consultation, training, research or teaching, or for an approved Au Pair or temporary work position.
[av_toggle_container initial=’0′ mode=’accordion’ sort=”]
[av_toggle title=’Follow the Step by Step Visa Application Process’ tags=”]
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is a program within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that manages the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). SEVIS is the internet-based system that maintains records of foreign students and exchange visitors before and during their stays in the United States.
First, your school or university will send you a form confirming that you have been accepted at an institution authorized by the U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Service (USCIS) to enroll non-immigrant students (the I-20 for an F-1 visa or the DS-2019 for a J-1 visa. You will read and sign this form.)
Second, you will need to make an appointment for a visa interview and to pay some required fees. Under a revision in the regulations, Student Visas can be issued up to 120 days before the date on your form I-20. Exchange Visitor Visas can be issued anytime before the date on the DS-2019. You should apply as early as possible for your visa.
Each U.S. Embassy has a website providing instructions on how to make an appointment for a visa interview and other information on the visa application process. The website for the Embassy in your country can be located at: http://www.usembassy.gov/
The website can also tell you the expected wait time for a visa in your country. International student visa applicants should receive priority by the Embassy or Consulate so if your program of study will begin soon, be sure to explain this when applying for your visa.
You may wish to visit or contact the nearest U.S. Department of State-affiliated EducationUSA advising center office in your country. They are located throughout the world and listed at educationusa.info/centers.php The staff at these centers will be able to explain where to pay the visa fees and how to schedule your interview.
There is a US$200 fee, which supports the cost of the computer system used to record your stay in the United States (SEVIS). You can pay this fee with a credit card that is valid internationally. Go to https://www.fmjfee.com/index.jhtml to pay the fee and make sure you print a copy of your receipt. You must pay the SEVIS fee at least three days before the date of your visa interview. Bring a copy of your receipt to your visa interview
You will also need to pay an additional US$160 for the visa application fee in your country at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate or at a bank that the Embassy designates. Specific information on where to pay the visa application fee can be found at the web site of the U.S. Embassy in your country.
Third, the United States is using a new non-immigrant visa application form, DS-160 that should be completed on line. This form replaces all of the other forms. Instructions for completing the on line form and links to the form can be found at http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/forms/forms_4230.html The website of the United States Embassy or Consulate in your country can be found at http://www.usembassy.gov, go to the section on Visas, and read about the correct procedure currently in place for Non-immigrant visas.
Complete the DS-160 form on line completely. Again, remember to use the exact same order and spelling of your names as they are found in your passport. Then you will print them out and bring them to the Embassy when you go for your your visa interview.
Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements: http://travel.state.gov/visa/visaphotoreq/visaphotoreq_5334.html If the upload of your photo fails, you must bring the photo with you when you go for your interview.
Fourth, prepare for your visa interview. It is extremely crucial that you apply for your visa well in advance of the date your studies begin. If possible, apply three months before you plan to travel to the USA. This will give you extra time if there are delays at the embassy, or if you wish to appeal a decision in the event of a denial.
Six Tips for Your Visa Interview
- Wear a business suit or dress
- Be specific when you answer questions
- Bring bank statements or proof of employment
- Provide details of your study plans
- Stay calm and be professional
- Tell the truth
- What you wear is important. Consider the interview a formal event. Business attire is appropriate. First impressions can be crucial, since there will be little time to speak with the officer, who will often have only a few minutes to conduct the interview and make a decision.
Be prepared to give your information quickly and completely. If you are unable to answer the questions in English, and the visa officer does not speak your language, you can ask for an interpreter. Speaking English is not a requirement for a student visa. In fact, thousands of students come to the United States each year to learn how to speak English.
The visa officer needs to know your specific objectives, both academic or professional, for studying in the United States. Be prepared to explain why it is better to study your specific field in the United States than to study at home. Be ready to say exactly what you will study and for what career your U.S. studies will prepare you. Calmly state your education plans concisely and clearly.
If you are going to the USA to learn English and then earn a degree, be able to explain your complete program of study. Remember, it is not enough to just say, “It is better to study in the United States.” Give valid reasons why it is better for you. Visa officers like to hear honest, direct responses to questions. They generally react poorly to applicants who give vague answers, memorize a speech, or make overly solicitous comments about how great and wonderful the United States is.
You should also be able to explain in detail why you chose to study at a specific school and be able to give information about that school and where you will live (dormitory, host family or apartment).
If you will return home to complete university studies after studying English in the United States, bring proof of your student status in your country. A letter from a university professor supporting your study plan can be helpful. Young people around the world are often unsure of their plans. However, in the visa interview it is best to give definite answers. If you seem to be unsure about what you will be doing, the visa officer may believe that you are really going to the United States for reasons other than education.
Grades do make a difference. If your marks are below average, be ready to provide explanation on how you are going to succeed in the United States. A letter from a school director or teacher, or from your U.S. admitting school stating that the proposed program of study in the United States makes sense and explaining your good prospects for success can be helpful. If there were special circumstances (such as a death or illness in the immediate family) that contributed to the poor grades, have the school explain those special circumstances.
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has implemented an online tool that nonimmigrant and immigrant visa applicants can use to check the status of their application: https://ceac.state.gov/CEACStatTracker/Status.aspx
Last Year 534,298 F-1 Student visas were issued and there were over 991,957 students in the United States on F and M visas last year!
[av_toggle title=’Financing’ tags=”]
You must have adequate, demonstrable financial support to live and study in the United States. Visa applications are generally stronger if the financial support comes from family, employers, or other institutional sponsors located in the home country.
If your parents will pay for your education, be ready to document how your family gets its income. Bring a letter from your parents’ employers stating what they do, how long they have worked at those organizations, and how much they earn.
When visa officers see information that is contradictory or does not make sense, they do not grant visas. If your family can only show enough income to support you in the United States, the officer will become suspicious.
Large sums of money in bank accounts may not be sufficient proof of financial support. When providing information about your bank accounts, ask someone at your bank for a letter that states how long the account has existed, and what the average balance in the account has been. That should convince the visa officer that you and your family have a long and stable history of business at the bank.
“Intent to Return”
Most student and exchange visitor visa applications are approved. The most common reason for a student or exchange visitor application to be denied is that the person applying for the visa has not proven to the Visa Officer that they will return to their country when they complete their studies in the U.S.A. This rule is called Section 214.b.
To determine your “intent to return” home, the visa officer will ask you a series of questions about your connections to your home country and about your study plans. You will have to demonstrate to the officer that your family has the ability to pay for the first year of your proposed stay in the United States and that you have realistic plans to finance the remainder of your education.
You must have all of the required forms with you including your I-20 or DS-2019 and the SEVIS payment receipt. You should bring any financial documents to demonstrate how you will pay for your education and any documents that might help demonstrate why you will return to your country. Some examples of such documents are previous passports demonstrating travel abroad, bank or salary statements, family documents or student records.
If all else fails…
If you are denied a visa there may be something you can do to reverse the denial. You may appeal the decision. In most cases, you will need to provide additional documentation that was not presented with the initial application. In some cases, a visa officer may request additional documents like proof of employment, or ownership of a home or business. You should respond with the information requested.
A fax or email from your U.S. school to the embassy or consulate in your city containing details about your qualifications, and requesting reconsideration, can be helpful in pursuing a successful appeal. Faxes should be addressed to the Chief of Nonimmigrant Visas at the Consular post in question. Fax and telephone numbers are available on the Department of State website at http://usembassy.state.gov.
Once a visa is approved, you should receive your visa within a few days.
[av_tab title=’Departure’ icon_select=’no’ icon=’ue800′ font=’entypo-fontello’]
Gather Pre-departure Materials and Important Documents
Before you leave your home country, take the time to double-check that you have gathered all the documents you will need for your travel and stay in the United States.
1. Talk to your academic advisor to discuss both the courses you will be taking abroad, and those courses you will need to take when returning. Studying abroad will be a waste if the courses you take aren’t going to count for credit at your home college or university.
2. Look into calling card that will charge your overseas calls to your home number. Better yet, download Skype and get a web cam. Its probably the easiest and cheapest way to communicate with people from home, as well as people that you are abroad with.
3. Make travel plans including transportation from the airport to your university.
4. Make 3 photocopies of the INFORMATIONAL pages of your passport. Carry one in your bags but separate from your passport. Leave one in your home in the U.S., and leave one at your home abroad.
5. Start your trip with about $300 in foreign currency to get you through your first few days abroad. Exchange your money before you get to your country of destination. More often than not, local banks will give you the best exchange rate, and the lowest conversion fees.
6. Don’t forget to take a copy of your birth certificate, proof of health insurance, a calling card, and an International Student Identity Card.
7. And finally, I would think about buying a travel adapter plug. It pretty much sucks not being able to charge your laptop when you finally land because the plug from your charger doesn’t match the local outlets.
• Passport and nonimmigrant visa. Hand-carry your passport and certificate of eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019) with you at all times during your travel. On the plane before you land, you will complete the Arrival-Departure Record (I-94 form) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will take your biometric fingerprints and photograph. Part of the I-94 will be stapled into your passport. Do not lose it! The stapled portion will be removed when you leave the United States.
• Certificate of eligibility. Confirm you have the I-20 or DS-2019 issued by the school or program you will be attending.
• Contact information. Have the name and phone number of your international student adviser on campus, in case you need to call him/her upon arrival in the United States.
• Birth certificate and marriage certificate, if applicable. Be sure to obtain notarized translations of these certificates if they are not in English.
• Medical documents. Bring certificates of immunizations and vaccinations, prescriptions and medical and dental records.
• Academic transcripts. Bring your official transcripts, outlines, or descriptions of courses you have taken, and contact information for your U.S. campus.
• College or university acceptance letter.