Universities across the United States host tens of thousands of international students every year. While studying abroad in the US, international students get to learn about American culture and customs, and exchange their own cultural knowledge with their American peers. If you’re thinking of becoming one of these international students, you’re in the right place. We’ve created a list of five things you should consider before applying to study in the United States.

1. Make sure your passport is ready to go

A passport is required for international travel, so you’ll need a valid one in order to study in the United States. Review your passport at least six months before you plan on leaving to ensure it’s up to date and will remain valid for the time you will spend in the US.

Keep in mind that if your passport is expired, updating it isn’t an overnight process— it can take weeks or even months for you to be issued a new passport. Therefore, don’t procrastinate when it comes to your passport.

2. Prepare for the visa application process

If you plan on studying in the US, you will have to work with the university you will be attending to apply for a student visa. This means you’ll have to fill out an I-20 visa form for international students, prepare for student visa interview questions, and complete any other required paperwork.

If you’ve never navigated the visa application process before, it may be overwhelming or confusing. In this case, you should reach out to the American university you plan on studying at. They will most likely have staff who can guide you through the process and point you to the necessary documentation.

3. Do some research to find the right university for you

There are a few things you should consider when choosing a university in the US to study at. When looking at colleges, it may be a good idea to think about things like:

● Academics: You’ll want to attend a school that offers courses in line with your major. If there are any classes that you’re required to take while abroad, double-check to ensure the university where you’ll be studying offers these courses.

● Diversity: Some schools have large populations of international students, while other schools may not be so diverse. Universities that commonly host international students may have more resources available for you during your stay abroad. Additionally, a larger population of other international students can make it easier to meet  people and make friends.

● Location: There are many different climates that exist throughout the US. If you spend the winter at a university in Minneapolis, you’re going to have a much different experience than if you spend the winter in Los Angeles. Also keep in mind that culture varies widely across the US, so do some research to see what works best for you.

4. Look into financial aid

Many schools offer extensive financial aid programs for students. Winning a scholarship or grant can drastically reduce the financial burden of studying abroad. Thus, it may be a good idea to look into financial aid programs ahead of time and fill out any relevant applications before beginning your journey.

5. Figure out your housing situation

You’ll need a place to stay when you study abroad in the US. In some cases, you’ll have a few different housing options to choose from. You may be able to stay with a host family or in on-campus housing or in an off-campus apartment.

See what your particular university allows and consider the pros and cons of each option. And, of course, make sure your housing is completely secured before you leave your home country.

Studying abroad in the US provides a great opportunity to experience a different culture and meet new people. Take the above considerations into mind to ensure a smooth trip to the US.

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