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4 Crucial Things I Wish I Knew Before Studying in the USA

CollegeQuest
Macmillan Employee
Macmillan Employee
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A sneak peek into the life of a student studying in America for the first time.

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Born and brought up in India, I completed my Bachelor of Business Management from the Center of Management Studies in Bengaluru and joined Amazon right out of undergrad as a Risk Investigator where I worked for almost 3 years.

Eventually, I decided to pursue an MBA in the United States. I automatically gravitated towards the university located in New York. I blame my fascination with New York on popular TV shows like "Friends" and "Suits".

Weather

Firstly, the weather: I knew it would be cold and ended up buying thermals and a winter jacket, As soon as I landed, I realized that the jacket was inadequate for the winter, so I bought a bulky North Face jacket, which was my companion the entire season. I've never used those itchy thermals again even to this day.

Ayaan's Advice: Understand and prepare for the weather before traveling.

Location

The first things I imagined of New York were tall skyscrapers and fancy designer clothes. However, I stayed on Long Island, the outskirts of New York City with a more slow placed vibe and isolated vibe. I found a cheap Airbnb to stay for a few weeks that was supposed to be an hour away by bicycle from my university. To my surprise, it took much longer than an hour and the cold made it seem longer. I suggest to do some research and find a place in a walkable distance or a reliable commute to your university.

Ayaan's Advice: Do your research on locations. Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.

Tipping

Without understanding the tipping system, The first time I ate at a restaurant I didn't leave a tip and the waitress was furious and asked me outright to give her a tip -- embarrassing! In India, tips are included in the bill as a service tax and VAT (Value Added Tax).

Ayaan's Advice: Look up the tipping system well in advance and tipping at 15% is a good starting point.

Solitude

Another thing I had to be prepared for was the loneliness. I didn't know anyone on Long Island and I had a bad habit of only talking to people who approached me first. The bus rides and the walk home during the winters were long and lonely and I used to talk to myself to keep myself sane, which isn't the best welcome to the "Land of Opportunity."

Ayaan's Advice: Prepare for solitude and weight your options. You could move out with the friends you make at the dorm in the next semester to save on rent.

These small things are an inconvenience at first but studying abroad beats studying in your own country any day because of the exposure and great learning experience.


ayaan-pasha-cq-authors-community-headshot.pngWRITTEN BY
Ayaan Pasha
Adelphi University

Ayaan is said to mean "Gift of God" in Arabic. Ayaan is known in some parts of the world as "Ayaan Pasha the Great" (Just Kidding). Currently on a conquest to get a Masters of Business Administration and some good barbecue, he is an intern in the Marketing and Communications Department at Macmillan Learning. Favorite music era - from the 2000s and all-time favorite movie "The Dark Knight Rises."