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Moving to USA: The Final Checklist

As thrilling and nerve-wracking it was to finally get the university admit from your target University at America, leaving behind your friends and family is never going to be easy. Undoubtedly, meeting new people, exploring the new land, and soaking up the new culture is all exciting! But the truth is that you are going to be alienated from the people you love and the town you have grown up in. Moreover, you may need to have a whole shift in your lifestyle when you move to USA. The culture changes, the food changes, the time zones change. You need to be prepared for it all.

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There are a few things that can make this transition as smooth as possible. Let’s look at a few of the things that you should take care before you leave for USA.

1. Bank accounts

  • Make sure that all your bank accounts hold the ‘minimum balance’ required. If you forget this, you might lose your money on ‘fall below’ penalty.
  • If you hold a salary account (zero-balance), it will be converted into a savings account (with minimum balance Rs.XXXX) after some time, as no salary is being deposited. Again, you will lose money if you fail to maintain the required minimum balance.
  • If you are unable in keeping a bank account active, it is a good idea to withdraw all of your money from your account and close that bank account.
  • If you are planning to use your bank account from USA, make sure that the internet banking service is available and active on the bank account.

2. SIM card

  • By default, International roaming services will not be active on your SIM. If you are planning on carrying the SIM card with you, inform the customer service to activate the International roaming plan. If you have a postpaid plan, you will probably be doing this on the online customer portal.
  • However, you are going to switch to an American SIM card once you arrive in USA. So it is likely to dump your old SIM card once you are in the United States. If you have a postpaid plan active, it is recommended to terminate it before you leave.
  • All airports offer free WiFi services. You can call your home while travelling using VoIP calling apps (e.g. MobileVoIP), or you can also buy a matrix SIM card.

3. Other records

Lastly, we would still like to remind you of these: make sure that all the income tax records are clean before you leave. You must also check that the services like your Health/Life Insurances, Provident Funds, Credit Cards, Mutual Funds and other investments, Business Partnerships etc. are taken care of. By doing this, you must ensure that either (i)You can still manage these abroad or (ii) delegate your authority to someone trustworthy in your home country or (iii) end/close it.

4. Education loan

  • Meet the bank manager once and discuss a plan to pay the interest every month for your education loan.
  • Note the procedure to get the next instalments of your loan. Also, a list of the documents to be given to the bank (e.g. University Enrollment Letter)
  • You might want to consider taking a Life Insurance on your education loan (to ensure that your parents are not burdened in case something unfortunate happens). Again, you can consult the bank manager.

5. Currency exchange

  • You need to keep aside at least a dispensable amount of $1,000 with you when you land in America. Splitting this amount in cash and a prepaid card might be recommendable.
  • Usually, the credit/debit cards will charge you an additional servicing fee or the higher conversion charges when you use them in USA. So it is recommended to have money in a prepaid card instead.
  • You now need to grab a good deal for currency exchange. You can either (i) use this website-FCM Travel Money to get best available deals near your city. (ii) Contact dedicated Forex companies (iii) Visit few banks, Western Union, Thomas cook etc. to find out the best exchange rate. Buy Dollars. Link of FCM Travel Money
  • Purchase a prepaid card. Load the card with at least half the amount of money you will carry. Click here for the detailed procedure in arranging the prepaid card
  • Apart from these ‘practical’ matters, you HAVE to ensure that a few basic needs are also taken care of.

6. Learn to cook

  • Whether you know it already or not, cooking is going to be the most critical skill when you’re studying abroad.
  • You will cook at least one meal per day. Eating outside every day isn’t healthy, neither is it wallet-friendly! Start learning your favourite dishes from your mom!
  • Learn a few dishes which are quick, yummy and easy to make. For the rest, VahChef and Gobble will be your friends.

7. Do your shopping the right way

  • Approx. 70 kgs. allowance will be given to take with you all the items you need for a pleasant stay in USA. Be smart in packing and in deciding what is necessary and more importantly, what is unnecessary to be carried across the countries.

8. Install useful mobile apps

  • Make sure you've installed all the necessary apps already downloaded before you leave for USA. Do proper research of the reviews of the apps you will be downloading.
  • VoIP Calling Apps: MobileVOIP or any other app you are familiar about
  • Maps: You need to be able to access maps at your destination place.
  • Local transport apps: These apps will help you navigate through the cities like any American resident
  • Greyhound
  • Amtrak
  • Wanderu
  • Lastly, we all have our emotional connections with our family, our friends, our home, our country. Leaving our homeland is creates a void which is hard to fill. Here are some tips to work on it.

9. Eat whatever you want. If any person tries to lecture you about your weight, eat them too!

Come on, guys — serious issue, especially if you are a foodie. You will miss the flavours and the masalas used in Indian food! Everything, from your favourite snack to your mom’s delicious dinner, will be just a memory. Once you are in USA, your food habits are going to change a lot. Eating with a fork and knife becomes customary and placing a napkin on your lap becomes a subconscious habit. Unless you are a good chef, you will have to settle for a bland, less spiced food.

So take a chill pill and go easy on your diet for now. If you’re a fitness freak, it is okay. You can start working out as soon as you land in America. But don’t miss out munching on your favourite food when it is still possible. No country can match the taste of the Butter Naans, Vada Pav, Rasagullas or the Masala Dosas made at our homeland :’)

10. Spend time with your family; get your personal things 'in order'

This is a no brainer. Your family has been with you for every struggle and every success in your life. Mom’s care, dad’s scoldings, brother’s punches or sister’s wailing. Spending time with your family made your day complete. But now, when you move away, you are going to miss your family a lot. So spend as much quality time as you can with them. Most importantly, sit down and talk to them about your future goals. Address their concerns and issues and get all your personal matters ‘in order’ before you make a move. You will not get back the opportunity to sit and talk with them for a long while. Assure your parents that you shall keep in touch and take their blessings before you leave.

11. Spend time with your best friend

If you are lucky to arrive in America with a friend alongside, that’s great. Having nobody readily around to share your joys and sorrows with, you will easily find yourself longing for a good friend. You will surely miss the days you spent with your besties when you are all by yourself. Take some time off now and have some great time with your best buds. Go ahead and do all the crazy things you wanted to do. Your paths aren’t going to diverge soon; these moments may take a while to come again. Click as many photos. Make crazy videos. But make sure to spend time with them and leave on a good note.

12. Hold your heart and bid the final farewell!

Goodbyes are not easy, we know. Not only does your farewell go to the people dearest to you but to all the hundred other things that were an integral part of your life till now. This farewell goes to your homeland! You will never to see your motherland the same again when you come back home the next time. So be thankful for everyone and everything that has had a role in your life, and bid farewell with a warm smile.

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