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Moving to USA: The Final Checklist of Things to Do

As thrilling and nerve-wracking it was to get an admit from your target university in the US, leaving behind your friends and family and moving to USA can be challenging. Meeting new people, exploring the new land and soaking up the new culture is exciting. However, 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 us look at a few things that you should take care of before moving to USA .

1. Bank accounts

  • Make sure that all your bank accounts hold the ‘minimum balance’ required. If you forget this, you might get a ‘fall below’ penalty.
  • If you hold a zero-balance salary account, 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 to keep 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 an international roaming plan before moving to USA. If you have a postpaid plan, you can do this on the online customer portal.
  • However, you are going to switch to an American SIM card once you arrive in USA. If you have a postpaid plan active, it is recommended to terminate it before you leave.
  • All airports offer free Wi-Fi services. You can call home while travelling using VoIP calling apps or you can buy a matrix SIM card.

3. Other records

Make sure that all your income tax records are clean before moving to USA. You must also check that the services like your health/life insurances, provident funds, credit cards, mutual funds and other investments and business partnerships are taken care of. By doing this, you must ensure that (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 your bank manager 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 make a list of the documents like your university enrollment letter that is to be given to the bank.
  • 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 your bank manager for more details.

5. Currency exchange

  • You need to keep aside a dispensable amount of at least $1,000 with you when you land in America. Splitting this amount in cash and a prepaid card is recommended.
  • Usually, credit/debit cards will charge you an additional servicing fee or higher conversion charges when you use them in the US. It is recommended to have money in a prepaid card instead.
  • You now need 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.
  • 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

  • Cooking is going to be a critical skill when you study abroad. Practice essential cooking skills before moving to USA.
  • You will cook at least one meal per day. Eating outside every day is not healthy, neither is it wallet-friendly. Start learning recipes for your favourite dishes.
  • 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 right

  • You will be allowed to carry approximately 70 kgs of baggage. Be smart and pack only what is absolutely necessary.

8. Install useful mobile apps

  • Install all the necessary apps before moving to USA
  • 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 sensibly

Once you are in USA, your food habits are going to change a lot. If you are a fan of Indian food, try and eat your favourite dishes before your departure, but eat sensibly as you do not want to upset your stomach. Alternatively, you can learn to make those dishes yourself and/or carry some of the dry snacks that last long.

10. Spend time with your family

It may be a while until you get to see your family. Try to spend some quality time with your parents and siblings before you travel to the US. Address their concerns and issues and get all your personal matters in order before you make the move.

11. Spend time with your friends

If you happen to be travelling on your own, you may find yourself longing for a good friend. Take some time to meet your friends. Keep in touch with them and try to maintain your friendship even when you are abroad.

Goodbyes are not easy, especially when you are moving to USA considering the distance and time difference. However, bid farewell with a positive note and a warm smile.

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