Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Studying in the U.S. University-Visa & Travel

You can keep in touch with your university admissions office via post mail or the email. Email is a better option if you have access to the internet. That way you can research and learn about the university, departments, people, place etc. about that university. 

Once you have received your admission in that particular program, your university international office will send you the I-20 to request for your visa at the U.S. embassy. Back when I was going through this process, my admissions’ office was quite prompt about sending me the required paperwork for me to apply for the U.S. visa. 

Back in good ol’ days, it was pretty simple to apply for the U.S. visa. Anyways, first you would send your application through a designated courier. They would receive your papers and would send back your documents with a specific date and time for you to appear before a visa counselor at the embassy. They would ask you some questions to determine whether you are either a ‘genuine’ or ‘not so genuine’ student. So, let’s just say you were very convincing and charming and the visa counselor believed that you were an authentic student and a great addition to the university program. That is why you have been awarded the U.S. student visa. You get your passport back and now you are ready to make a leap of your lifetime to study in one of the prestigious universities in the U.S. in the program of your interest. How exciting!!

Make sure that you have applied for the visa well in advance of your semester beginning date. That way you would have plenty of time to spend some quality time with your family and also to prepare yourself psychologically and physically. Make sure you are healthy and have taken all the precautions to move overseas. As a word of caution, you don’t want to visit the hospital during studies. It is not only the studies that would suffer, but also the pocket that would take a huge burden. Therefore, you want to be super fit so that you could get yourself acclimated and be able to take the culture shock. 

Time would be flying while you are preparing to leave. Everybody around you would be anticipating you to leave them for a while and showering you with the love that you may or may not have seen before. So enjoy this time and be good to your immediate family, specially your parents. Being a parent, I can now understand how difficult it is to let your loved ones leave knowing that I would not be able to see them for a while. Anyways, there will be some emotional moments. However, you and everybody around you, knows for sure that this would be the best thing for you to obtain your higher education from a well-reputed university. 

By this time, get your travel arrangements ready. These travel arrangements are not only to fly from your home country to the U.S., but also to the place where your university is located. This means one or may be two domestic flights once you have arrived in the U.S. If there are no  flights to that particular town, you may have to research for an alternative like Amtrak train, or even a Greyhound bus service. All of this should be done in advance to be hassle-free. Another important point to know that travel planning  in advance also saves a lot of money rather than buying tickets on the counter.