On this page, we’re going to go over a couple of important pieces of information that you may need to know in order to get by while studying in the United States. This information will include transportation and keeping in touch with your loved ones while studying in the United States.
If you are used to driving in your home country, you will probably see a lot of differences when driving in the United States. One of the most prominent is that you probably drive on the other side of the road; Americans keep to the right, whereas many other countries keep to the left.
Like many things in the United States, the driving laws vary by the state that you are in. Some states will not accept your driver’s license if you are from outside the United States. In many cases, you should get an International Driving Permit (IDP), which translates the information contained on your official driver’s license into 10 languages. You will have to obtain this in your home country, because the United States does not issue these permits to foreign visitors.
If you are planning on driving while studying in the United States, contact the university that you are attending for more information. They will have any paperwork and/or other information you need in order to determine your eligibility to drive.
The United States, due to its size and the “individualistic” mindset of many of its citizens, does not have a country-wide public transportation system. Many large cities do have public transportation systems that include railways, buses, and taxis that can take you around the city. If you are located in a large city (New York City, Washington DC, etc), you will be able to buy monthly passes for the public transportation system in your city at a discount.
There are trains, buses, and airplanes that will take you to different areas of the country as well. They may cost a bit of cash, but if you have to travel across the country, they will save you a lot of time in the long run. Many cities have at least a train station, a bus station, and/or an airport that you can use for those purposes. Prices will vary depending on the city you are coming from. The International Student Identity Card and the International Student Exchange Card can help you to get some great discounts on travel around the United States (and even around the world!)
Contacting Loved Ones
One of the most important things that you need to know about traveling to the United States is how you can keep in touch with your loved ones that are back in your home country. There are several ways that you can do this.
- Most cell phone plans that you can obtain in the United States offer discounts on packages of international minutes so that you can call your loved ones using a cellular device.
- Most universities and colleges will give you access to the internet. Even if you live off campus, internet access is incredibly easy to purchase (and it’s relatively inexpensive as well). You can use email or a messaging/VOIP client (like Skype) to keep in touch.
- Landlines are not as popular as they used to be, but people still use them for international calls. Talk to the provider that is local to the area which your university is located and talk to them about your situation. They may be able to give you a good deal.
If you need more ideas about this, talk to the international studies department at the university that you attend. They will be able to help you keep in touch with your loved ones at a minimal cost to you and your family, which is always important.