The United States is known for its multitude of foreign exchange students, which it accommodates on a yearly basis.

In fact, there were more than 914,095 foreign-born students enrolled in U.S. universities and colleges during the 2020-2021 school year.

If you are planning to travel to the United States to study, then here are a few tips to keep in mind to prepare before leaving your homeland and embarking on this new adventure.

Student Visa

There are three student visas that are issued by the U.S. Department of State.

The most common visa is the F1 visa, which is issued to students who attend English Language Programs or academic programs.


J1 visas, on the other hand, are issued to students who are interested in exchange visitor programs, such as Au-Pair, internships, study abroad or exchange programs, and summer work programs.

Lastly, a person attending a vocational or non-academic school will need to apply for an M1 visa.

Regardless of the type of student visa, most international students will need to show proof of funds or scholarships that cover tuition and living costs as part of the visa application process.

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Flight and Accommodation

Stanford University

It is important to book a flight in advance so you can get the best deals on airfares.

Also, flying into main cities is usually less expensive. If you’re attending a college or university in Boca Raton, for example, it might be a bit less expensive to fly into Miami and take the train or bus. Of course, you must research flight deals and choose the best option for your situation.

If you or your parents have an airline points credit card, then review your points balance. You might have enough points to purchase an airline ticket.

When it comes to accommodation, it is best to stay in a hostel because of its affordability. These days, you can also find inexpensive short-term apartments on Airbnb and Booking.

Additionally, your college or study abroad program should be able to guide you in obtaining temporary or more permanent student accommodations.

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Study abroad and exchange programs

Through WiFi or data plans, international students can now use WhatsApp, Messenger, and multiple free apps to get in touch with their loved ones overseas. Just make sure your family members, especially grandparents, back home also know how to use these apps to stay in touch.

It’s important to obtain a sim card before or as soon as you arrive. You never know when you may need to make a call for emergencies (Dial 911) or other reasons (maybe you got lost after leaving the airport).

Also, it never hurts to have a few emergency phone numbers with you at all times. Those might include your college emergency center, your international student office, your study abroad advisor, your exchange program representative, your host family, etc.

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Studying in the USA can be a dream come true, so remember to savor every moment and make the best of your adventure. Learn new things, meet new people, and find yourself.

These tips will help you get started with your traveling plans. Enjoy your journey!

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