Things to know before studying in USA
Things to know before studying in USA - While some students dream of pursuing their passions abroad, many still single-mindedly vie for the American dream. “Since, I was in the ninth standard, I have had dreams of studying in America,” says Juhi, an MBA aspirant who is currently working in the IT sector. “It is not just about studying MBA, for me the States offers more than study opportunities. I want to experience life in the country. There is nothing that one cannot do in USA!”
Juhi is only part of an increasing number of international students waiting to explore USA and its study opportunities. Currently, there are over 6 million international students in the world, majority of whom are enrolled in US universities.
Appearing for standardised tests, applying to US universities and getting your visa is vital, but it does not stop there. Before venturing out to the land of opportunities, it is equally important that you are aware of the various lifestyle hacks of the American people.
Here are the things to know before studying in USA:
How are classes held?
If you have been researching about studying in US universities, you must have come across terms like Spring, Summer and Fall. Being an international student, chances are you will apply to start your studies in the Fall semester. Fall semester starts in August or September and continues till January followed by Spring semester till May and Summer, which lasts till July. Interestingly, your degree matters not on the semesters or years of classes but on the credit points that you earn. In fact, the most important element in the degree granting process in the USA is credit points earned by the student. Credit points are, basically, the number of hours you give to a particular course. “You can finish a two-year programme in less time if you can earn the required credits in less than a year,” says Mr. Kent D Thomas, Assistant Vice President, International Programmes, Missouri State University.
Besides, US universities offer huge flexibility in their courses, which enables you to select your choice of subject from a variety of topics. In your undergraduate studies in US, many colleges let you to take classes in a variety of subjects in the first 1-2 years before you decide on your major.
Also, in your graduation, classes are held mainly through discussions and seminars. Your grades depend mainly on your assignments and how you have been able to cope with the discussions. Also, there is no stress on attendance in US universities. Nobody in the US will ask you to attend classes or keep a particular track on how are you managing your classes. That depends on you. However, what would matter is the number of hours you are giving to a specific subject. Further, classes in USA can be rather competitive. You would be expected to be well prepared and take initiatives rather than wait for the professor to give you lectures. Also, the best part is your professors would be accessible almost all the time. There is a lot of interaction among teachers and students and it is expected that the student would pose new questions in the class.
Click to read: ‘US classroom is informal but rigorous’
Things to know before studying in USA - The USA is vast and diverse:
One of the things to know before studying in USA is that it is a vast country. So, your life as a student there depends on the location the university is in. Therefore, you should be ready for a big difference if you are studying in New York University or the Texas A&M University. While the former is located in the centres of New York like Manhattan and Brooklyn the latter is located in a remote area where students have less accessibility to the city, though they have the advantage of huge and picturesque campus. Also, like many other countries, the USA too has a very diverse culture. There are huge gaps in the language and mannerisms of people from two different states. So, try to understand the local lingo of the region you’ll be studying in. For example, if you want to get a bottle of cold drinks you would have to ‘pop’ in North America while just ‘Soda’ or ‘Coke’ in Southern USA. Hence, you have to make sure you research about the city you are travelling to in detail.
What should you know:
Now, social etiquette is one of the most important things to know before studying in USA. After all, you’ll be spending years in your new destination. In terms of social beliefs, the USA is a very relaxed country to be in since it has a huge pool of international people leading to a potpourri of beliefs and behavioral patterns. However, there are certain things that you should know:
Tips all the way: One of the vital things to know before studying in USA is that you should have your dollar bills stacked in your pockets because tipping is a regular affair in the country.Make sure you are ready with tips at restaurants and for bell boys at the hotels you would be putting up at. Usually,restros fix around 15 to 20% of the bill for tips, but of course, it all depends on you!
Turn right: Among the vital things to know before studying in USA you should remember that traffic in the USA runs on the right hand side of the streets. So, if you are from a country which drives from its left, and plan to take up driving in the USA, make sure you adjust yourself to this position first. Also, honking is prohibited in many states unless necessary.
Clothes cost beyond the listed price: Yes, if you thought your tee costs $30 because the label says so, you are wrong. You see, the label price doesn’t include sales tax. So, get ready to fish out at least 4 to 6% extra for the clothes that you buy.
Underage Drinking: This is perhaps one of the most important things to know before studying in USA for students. For all those international students who are going for their undergrad or below, drinking is a strict no in most places if you are under 21. And yes, they’ll check you IDs at the door.
Food: Like your food. Well, the US is the right place for you. Having people from all over the world means that Americans are well oriented with a diverse food culture. So, name any cuisine- Chinese, Mexican, Indian- you would definitely find a good restaurant somewhere serving these food. However, if you are a vegetarian, it could get a bit difficult for you. Though with veganism becoming a trend in the country, many places do serve vegetarian food, you need to make sure what you are ordering as in some places, especially, if you are located, in the outskirts, purely vegetarian food is hard to come by.
Also, a very interesting fact is that everything in the USA comes in huge proportions. People find it easier to buy in packs as they tend to be much cheaper compared to single items. If you are single person dining at a restro it is better if you avoid large sizes or anything, unless, of course, you appetite runs high!
How to save your money:
Well, the USA is not just one of the most developed but also one the most expensive destinations to study. This is reflected in the tuition fees and living expenses of international students. The average weekly rent in most states is around $1500, however, in places like New York, it can be upwards $3000.
Take the subway: Most of the cities in USA are huge so transportation could not only take up a lot of your time, but also a lot of money. In New York, citizens consider 2 hour travels to be mandatory to reach anywhere. However, the cab system in USA can be wildly costly, too. There’s a general saying that if you are late, avoid the cab. So, what do you do? Take the subway. It is one of the most important things to know before studying in USA. It will not only take you to your destination faster but your entire journey will be covered in half the cost.
Don’t keep you phone on roaming: It is the habit of some international students to keep their phone on international roaming. Don’t do that. Because the next thing you know you’ll have already run out of the most of the money for the month. What do you do? Get a sim. You’ll get those for around $50 and can easily speak to your family. Better still, install a calling app on your phone. Whatsapp, Skype are very popular among international callers.
Get a library card: This is a must for international students. Most universities charge you a library fee and give students a card at the start of the semester. So, make sure you have one. Because books like other items in US can be very expensive. In fact, many domestic students also depend on libraries to get access to books. Also, most of the libraries in USA are technologically enabled and advanced. So, whatever information you need you just have to log in.
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Questions related to United States of America
I wish to become a Neurosurgeon, but first I wish to practice in the United States or Singapore for half of my career and to spend last half of my career in India. Whether my wish is a good one? Is it possible? Is my decision is correct? Kindly commend on my wish?
Raja, we have been discussing your career and aspirations for a while now and we appreciate that you want to take Career360's opinion on the matter of your career. So by now, you are aware of the fact what it takes to become a neurosurgeon and what it is to clear USMLE, practise as a resident in the US. We also have discussed the life style and the salary part. Now regarding the first half and later half of the career, we only wish we could predict our timeline on this planet. We do not which might be the first half or which might be the later part. But no wish is bad. If you want to achieve something, you should lest you regret for the rest of your lofe. Now to practise in the US, you may have to appear for USMLE, clear the step 1 and then practise as a resident before you can get the license to practise as a full time neurosurgeon. That is a long process that might take good 4-5 years. You study MBBS in India for 50 months and then complete the 1 year rotational internship and it takes you as many as 5 years. And appearing for USMLE and then working as a resident take another 4 years and so 10 years of your life are spent getting a valid license to practise in the US. And then lets say after 5 years you want to move to Singapore, that takes a whole different processing because you need to appear for their license exam. And you work in Singapore for lets say another 5 years and you come back to India. 15 years of your life are spent studying and getting licenses. But the beauty is within 15 years you can actually get license to practise in 3 countries. So you need to take a call. Or how about you finish MBBS in India, move to Singapore to study your MD/MS and plan on moving to the US? That way the transition is going to be smoother.
Is there any age limit to take admission into Ph.D in USA?
The age limit which almost every University demands is 35 years. If anybody is above that they can might miss the chance to get enroll theirselves for phd.
This age is decided because phd is all about researching and writing ,they usually demand people who is also iinvolved in academics and departmental works.
Are Neurosurgeons happy in San Francisco?
Well I guess they are because they get very good six figure salary and have a great job security although it's stressing but still they like their job cause they got into it knowing the stress it may carry. Neurosurgery is very much in demand and is a very great speciality in medical field.
I hope my answer helps.
All the best.
Are Neurosurgeons happy in New York?
It will all depend upon the lifestyle and the office hours you put in the work. The number of opd days, OT days and the visit to the wards for rounds. It all affect the free time period for a doctor. In USA,you have to pay tax for the services thus it can be little less than what you make in india
Are US Neurosurgeons rich enough to live a comfortable life in the United States?
It will totally depend where are you working and what are you getting paid.
As US is anyways costly ,there lifestyle tends to change.Neurosurgeons in Us are paid according to their qualification as well as where they work
According to research
The average income for a neurosurgeon is $775,968
The middle range income is approx $704,170
the lowest paid are $350,000
And the top 10 % of the neurosurgeon get a pay of $1,229,881 per year!
So it totally depends upon your qualification and the place you work if you can have a comfortable life or not