Life in the USA
• The United States calls itself "a nation of immigrants." Immigrants (from Europe) founded this country and have been coming in large numbers (from all over the world) ever since.
• All ethnicities and nationalities are represented, although not to the same extent in every city. The country is vast (over 9 million square kilometers) and populous (over 300 million people).
• You can encounter and experience almost any climate, landscape, lifestyle, and culture imaginable.
• By selecting the right University, you will be able to find a living experience that is perfect for you.
Misconceptions About United States and Americans
There are numerous misconceptions by foreigners about the USA and Americans themselves. Sadly, much of this misinformation is initiated by people who have not visited or studied in the USA. It is important that these misconceptions are fully understood and not prevent international students from obtaining a quality American education.
America is full of crime and is a dangerous place
• Television and sensational news reporting gain viewers and sell newspapers. But they do not always reflect the truth
• While it certainly is true that there are areas in America with crime problems and high crime rates, that is not the norm.
• In any country, there are areas that one would be more likely to be victimized by crime, and efforts should be made to avoid these areas. The USA is no different. Good judgment is always the best defense.
It is too expensive
• If an international student is using foreign funds to pay for his or her education in the USA,, he or she is affected by fluctuations in currency exchange rates.
• It is a misnomer that attending college or university in the USA is extremely expensive.
• Given the quality of education, the potential earning power of working in the USA, as well as the various forms of aid available to students, an American education is still affordable.
• While there are some schools that are notorious for charging high fees, there are many schools offering great programs for much less.
• The Key is to know how to pick the school that is right for you. It is in this process that the SIL foundation can help.
I may not be accepted or well received by the locals
• Americans are some of the friendliest and most hospitable people on this earth.
• The USA is made up of immigrants from all over the world, and most Americans understand that their history, too, descends from another land
• Most Americans are eager to learn about new cultures and they welcome the chance to meet foreigners
• International students should reciprocate by learning and respecting the local laws and cultures
• International students should ask for help. The Sil foundation is ready to help
The USA is not known for certain academic disciplines
• America is a world leader and innovator in thousands of industries.
• USA is a rich country and it possesses the infrastructure and the opportunities to train and innovate.
• The USA offers some of the best training and employment opportunities of any country in the world.
• It is this culture of innovation that attracts students to the USA from all over the world.
Recent international developments have made the USA a dangerous place
• Daily life in the USA has long returned to normal after the events of 9/11.
• The government and its people do take more precautions in general, there simply is no cause for alarm or for an alteration to one’s academic plan of study in the USA.
• Applications to colleges in the USA has not decreased and continues to increase constantly.
• Life in America has never been better!
Financing your USA Education
• While the cost of an American Education is high and can add up to tens of thousands of US dollars, it is an investment that will benefit you for the rest of your life.
• It is very important to calculate how much your total USA education will cost.
• you will be required to prove you have the necessary financial resources in order to obtain an international student visa
• In general, it is not easy to obtain an international student scholarship or international student loan since competition among applicants is fierce
International Student Admissions
• Admission at US colleges and US universities can be very competitive for international students.
• Each US school sets its own international student admissions requirements
• Much depends on the school in question and qualifications of the international student
• Different US schools will have different minimum requirements for grades as well as for standardized tests (such as TOEFL and SAT).
• In order to be accepted at a TOP US school, you must have attained good grades, completed challenging coursework, obtained sufficient financing, and developed a strong command of the English language.
• Admissions for international students requires preparation
• You can research the Sil foundation web site for more information and help.
• The admission process is a long one, and should ideally begin about 12 months before your expected arrival in the USA
• International student visas are issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Department (INS), under the State Department of the United States.
• An international student visa grants the student permission to enter the USA legally.
• In order to obtain an international student visa to enter the US, the applicant must meet the following basic requirements:
a. The international student visa applicant must be in good health. People who have tested positive for HIV are not allowed to enter the US and will not be issued an international student visa.
b. The International student visa applicants must promise to obey all US laws, or risk deportation.
c. The International student visa applicants must be able to support themselves financially during the course of US study.
d. International student visa applicants must agree to leave the USA after the course of US study is complete.
e. It is important to remember that applying early and providing the requested documents does not guarantee that the international student will receive an international student visa.
f. Each international student’s immigration situation is unique, two students from the same country, applying for the same international student visa may be asked different
g. International students should be aware that obtaining an international student visa does not automatically guarantee entry into the United States.
h. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officer at the port of entry into the US has the authority to deny admission even if an international student visa has been granted
i. Obtaining an international student visa is a crucial step towards a successful US education.
• Health coverage and medical costs can be costly for both citizens and non-citizens of the United States,
• Having a sufficient international student health insurance plan is beneficial when studying abroad.
• International medical insurance programs make it easier and more convenient to obtain quality health care in case of a medical emergency or illness.
• Generally it is simpler to find the right doctor and quality medical facilities when you have foreign student health insurance coverage
• Medical bills and expenses can lead to financial ruin without appropriate insurance, and preventing potential money stresses is easy by selecting the right international student health insurance plan. Sil Foundation can help select the right insurance program
• The first decision that international students need to make regarding housing is whether they will be living on campus or off campus.
• Some small schools and some schools in large cities do not offer any on-campus housing.
• Both living on campus and off campus have benefits. Read the information below to determine which is best for you.
• One major benefit of living on campus is that students will have easy access to everything the school has to offer.
• Libraries, the sporting facilities, and computer centers are at theirr convenience.
• Most schools offer affordable meal plans to students who live on campus, since on-campus residences do not have kitchen facilities.
• On-campus housing can also be cheaper, depending on where the school is situated.
• If a school is located in a suburban area, it may be difficult to find apartments close by. And if the school is located in a large city, you will find that it can be competitive and expensive to find any apartments at all.
• Some colleges and universities do not provide on-campus housing.
• Some colleges provide housing, but it is not sufficient (and therefore not guaranteed) for all their students.
• Often there will be an off-campus housing office to assist students in finding an appropriate place to live.
• Many international students, particularly graduate students, prefer the independence of living off campus.
• Off campus housing creates fewer distractions and gives the students more privacy.
• Sometimes living off campus can be more affordable, particularly if you rent a house and find several roommates to share it with.
• You will also find that food costs may be lower, since you will be doing your own cooking.
• International students need to calculate what you will need to pay for transportation and utilities, such as electricity and local telephone service, when figuring the cost of living off campus.
• Several transportation options are available to International Students
• Some of these student transportation options are more practical than others.
• If a student is living on campus, they may find that almost everything needed is within walking distance.
• International students may only occasionally have to leave the school campus and use one of the modes of transportation --- Bicycles, Buses, Trains and subways, Taxis, Cars
• A valid driver's license is required to not only drive, but also to own, a car.
• There are numerous banking options for International students in the United States.
• Finding the right bank depends on where an international student lives, how much money (on a monthly average) they will need to keep in their account, and how often they will need to visit a branch to complete their transactions.
• Most Americans rarely go into a bank. Checks are becoming more rare, most places of business accept credit cards, and automated teller machines (that give access to money from anywhere in the country) are located everywhere.
• Many banks also allow their customers to perform most transactions, such as transferring funds and paying bills, from their personal computers
• International students will have to provide some form of identification (usually two different pieces), such as a passport or driver’s license, when opening an account.
• Students will need to transfer a minimum amount of money in order to open a bank account. Depending on the type of account chosen, the amount may be quite small (perhaps as little as $100).
• The best way to transfer money from a foreign account is through a wire transfer. Although there will probably be a fee for the wire transfer (also called an electronic transfer), it is the fastest way to transfer money
• American banks will typically place holds on checks deposited into new accounts.
• A local check deposited into a new account will be held (in other words, the money will not be available) for several days.
• Checks from foreign banks will be held for much longer, sometimes up to 30 days.
Work in the USA
• The United States continues to be one of the most attractive countries for immigrants and international students
• Many International students look for work opportunities after they graduate
• The only way foreign students are legally allowed to work in the USA when they are not a citizen or permanent resident is to obtain a USA Work Visa.
• The work visa allows the foreigner to work for a predetermined period of time, and different types of visas have certain restrictions and requirements.
• Whether an international student is thinking about working in the USA, or are a foreigner interested in applying for a USA work visa, they will need to know what the rules and regulations are for their specific situation.