When you arrive in the US for the first time, you may feel that you have a million things to get done right away. While starting school is exciting, it can also be extremely overwhelming. To help you combat this feeling, here are 5 things international students should do upon arrival in the US to keep busy and relatively stress-free:
Exchange Your Currency
First things first, get some money changed. Ideally you should do this before you begin your trip to the US. Because it will likely take days or even a week to set up a US bank account, and your credit and debit cards will likely charge extra fees if you use them overseas, one of the first things you should do is make sure you have a couple hundred dollars in cash on you.
You can exchange your money at one of the airport bureaus. This way you will be ready if you need to take a bus, train, or taxi to get to your campus (although most forms of transportation in the US accept credit cards or debit cards).
This serves a double purpose: calling home lets your friends and family know you’ve arrived safe and sound, and also helps with any homesickness you might be experiencing. Being in an unfamiliar country on your own and for the first time can be extremely intimidating. Calling home and hearing familiar voices can be a good way to help you feel less alone.
Explore Your New Home
Once you make it home, you’ll likely be faced with the overwhelming task of unpacking. Before you undertake this, try going out for a walk. You will probably be cramped from your long journey, and taking a walk is a great way to stretch your body while getting to know your new surroundings.
Don’t Give In to Jetlag
One of the first things you will want to do when you arrive in the US is sleep—don’t! The longer you can keep yourself awake that first night, the quicker you will fall back into a regular sleeping pattern. Additionally, make sure you eat your meals at the proper time, and keep busy throughout the evening. This will help ensure that you don’t lie awake all night.
Meet New People
The first person you meet upon your arrival will probably be your roommate. You should also take it upon yourself to go out and introduce yourself to a neighbor or housemate. When you’re unpacking or relaxing in your dorm room, keep your door open. That way, anyone who passes by can introduce themselves. Having new friends even before you start orientation is the best way to make you feel at home right away.