As you all know I just moved across the pond to study for five months at California State University, Long Beach. I have been so excited to move for over a year but now I'm here I've realised there's a lot you're not told when preparing to move to the States so I thought I would share some key things I've learned.
So initially, you're going to be drowning in paperwork so you need to be prepared. I took all of my visa forms in a folder whilst travelling into the country incase of any problems at customs. These were all the forms I needed to provide to my university for them to check me in to the USA.
Key Forms You'll Need;
- DS 2019 form
- J-1 Visa (inside passport)
- Scanned copy of passport
- Proof of immunisations (Measles/ Mumps/ Rubella and Meningitis vaccinations - for students living on campus)
I chose to live on campus to be close to my classes and it's the best way to meet new people. I tried to minimise the heaps of clothes and shoes I brought by fitting everything in one suitcase - can you believe it?! I travelled light by buying almost everything I needed here. I went to Target & T.J. Maxx for my bedding, towels and all of the essentials. But there's another way to do it - Send My Bag picks up all of your luggage from your house and sends it to your desired destination. For example sending it to your hotel before you arrive however I would recommend contacting your hotel in advance to check they can store your luggage safely.
Travelling locally in America is not like back home... Everything is really far apart even if it is along the road. The best way to get around is definitely by car but thats not always an option for everyone (like me - under 21). The best options for me is the bus, Uber/Lyft or cycling.
Another essential for me is having access to internet 24/7. So the best option was to buy an American sim card to be able to call, text and Instagram all day long. The most cost efficient network here is T-mobile. I selected how much data I needed (a lot) and most deals have unlimited texts and calls BUT when calling international numbers (like back home) I had to ask and pay a little extra - this was one of many problems I came across. iPhone people, another problem was having my phone unlocked before I could use my new sim. This was really simple - I just had to call my network in the UK and ask for it to be unlocked. A day later and I was surfing the web, calling my friends and blogging!
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