1. Finding accommodation
Don’t have a family or friends with whom you can live with when you study in America? Check out the accommodation options below.
· On-campus dormitory
Living in a dormitory has a lot of advantages. It removes the need to commute to and fro the campus. It puts you in a place where you can easily engage in campus activities and access your university’s facilities. If your school offers on-campus lodging, apply immediately after admission. Don’t assume that you’re automatically reserved a dorm room because you’re an international student.
Not up to following dorm curfews? Consider leasing an apartment. It might be more expensive compared with on-campus accommodation, but the freedom it provides is often worth it. Choose your apartment wisely. Ask around and find off-campus housing providers that really care for their tenants.
A homestay arrangement happens when an international student stays with an American family for the duration of his or her program. It’s an accommodation option that mostly only available for students that are not older than 18.
2. Getting to know the college life in the US
Universities in the US are certainly different from those in the Philippines. Here are some things about college life in America that’ll surprise you.
· The academic year is usually either divided into semesters (in which you have midterms and then finals) or into quarters (each capped off by finals).
· College social scenes are not always frat-based. They vary from school to school. Some are wild and liberal while some are formal and conservative. Some are frat- or sorority-centered while others are sports- or organization-focused.
· You don’t have to settle on a major immediately. If you’re not sure on what course you want to pursue, you have until the end of your sophomore year to decide.
· Engaging in extracurricular activities is a must. These can help you develop your skills, gain experience, meet new people, and expand your network. You don’t have to participate in an activity that’s in line with your major. Join one that catches your interest and learn a new skill!
Still attending classes at the IELTS review center in Manila? Ask your instructors for their movie and book recommendations for people aiming for the US. Watch programs set in an American university to get to know college culture.
3. Adjusting to know your new place
Preparing for your life as an international student shouldn’t be limited to getting to know the American college system. You should also study up on the other aspects of life abroad. Below are the basics of the US transport system, weather, and currency.
Commutes in America are more efficient and extensive compared with commutes in the Philippines. You can travel by bicycle, bus, train, and subway. If you live off-campus, consider all the possible routes you can take going to school. Explore your transportation options.
Regarding the weather
There are four seasons in America, and they usually follow the schedule below.
· Spring – March to May
· Summer – June to August
· Autumn – September to November
· Winter – December to February
To understand the weather in the US, you must know that the time and attributes of the seasons vary from place to place.
Winter in the southern states, for instance, is fairly mild compared with the heavy snow and cold temperatures experienced in the northern states. Southern states during the summer, on the other hand, often experience extremely high temperatures while northern states experience a fairly warm climate.
The United States Dollar (USD) is the official currency of America. Here are the different kinds of USD bills and coins.
USD notes: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100
· Penny – 1 cent
· Nickel – 5 cents
· Dime – 10 cents
· Quarter – 25 cents
· Half Dollar – 50 cents
· Dollar coin - $1
Memorize these figures before leaving the Philippines to reduce transaction blunders. Also, take note of the many names (e.g., bucks, cash, greenbacks, etc.) that US currency can take. If you’re still taking IELTS review classes, add US currency to your must-learn vocabulary list.
Knowing what to expect when you move to America will help you ease into your new life faster. So, do your homework. Research about life in the US before you leave the Philippines—or, even better—during your IELTS review period, so you can hit the ground running when you start your college life abroad.
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