Home Study in US [Study in the U.S.] Preparation for studying in the US, After getting the offer from the school, there are 5 priority waiting lists after entry, packing list, driver’s license, rental house, credit card

[Study in the U.S.] Preparation for studying in the US, After getting the offer from the school, there are 5 priority waiting lists after entry, packing list, driver’s license, rental house, credit card

by Jack
study in the us
Reading Time: 15 minutes

Last Modified 2022年8月6日

Preparation for studying in the US. Before you go to study in the United States, I would like to congratulate you on getting the offer from the school and preparing to start on a new journey.

I have compiled the things I must do before going abroad, followed by the 5 priority to-do items after entering the country, and provided you with a checklist for packing your luggage.

Follow some precautions. Frequently asked questions: driver’s license, credit card, long-term lease, checklist for preparation before the trip, bank account opening.

I hope that through this article, you can reduce your anxiety about going abroad. I went abroad in a panic, but I have organized all the things I experienced before for you so that you can rest assured and concentrate on chasing your dreams!

After I got the school offer, I was very excited and looking forward to it, but I don’t know where to start, what process can I follow, and what should I bring with my luggage ? Before entering the United States, what must be done well; after entering the United States, what must be done.

But it is still full of anxiety, so when I put together my things before the beginning of the entry must be done, with luggage packed list of recommendations, as well as the entry must be five priority things to do (school report, bank accounts, office phone, Find long-term rent, apply for a credit card).

Common problems for international students:

I am very happy and congratulate you. I am ready to start a new life. I hope this blog can accompany you through the mile of chasing your dreams.

Priorities to do when entering the U.S.:

“Visualization Overview” Guide to Study Abroad

  1. Buying air tickets : [U.S. Travel] How do I buy air tickets in the United States? 3 steps to buy cheap air tickets
  2. Report to school
  3. Looking for a long-term rental house :
  4. Open a bank account :
  5. Phone number
    • Temporary sim card : 14 to 30 days temporarily, you can report safety to your family after landing
      • [Recommendation] (people outside US) directly use e-sim card, open online before departure, and use the Internet directly when landing: Mint Telecom
  6. Apply for a credit card (start to accumulate credit records):
  7. My website for studying abroad
    1. [Study in the U.S.] 40 essential websites for studying in the U.S.
    2. [美国求职] #0 A collection of job hunting resources in the United States, 15 must-have websites, 2 books, and 4 PROJECTS
    3. [Money-saving teaching] Rakuten cash back, saving USD500 in teaching a year
  8. U.S. Medical Insurance :
    1. [Study in the US] US study abroad insurance, 4 common insurance types, 5 cost keywords
    2. [Apply for teaching] Student Medicover US medical insurance, how to save $1500 a year? Easy application 5 steps
  9. U.S. stock ETF investment account opening: [Account opening teaching] Firstrade, an American brokerage firm, a 5-minute easy account opening tutorial
  10. Changing your driver’s license: [Study in the US] Taiwan’s driver’s license is exempted from the test and the US driver’s license is easily changed in 33 states

1. Apply for a student visa

Preparation for studying in the U.S.
Preparation for studying in the US

After getting the school offer, the first step to prepare for studying in the United States is to apply for a student visa .

1.1 Apply for I20

  1. Download and fill out the I-20 (or DS2019) form
  2. get ready
    • School Admission Letter
    • Proof of financial resources
    • Photo Page on the passport
    • Signature and payment
  3. The above documents are ready and sent to the school’s international student office OGS

1.2 Apply for student visa F1

How to apply for a non-immigrant visa (six steps)
  1. SEVIS
    • Code on I-20
    • Fill in the I-901 Form and pay the fee (USD 200)
    • Printed receipt for retention
  2. Schedule an interview
    • Fill in the application form on the AIT website ( DS-160 form )
    • Schedule an interview and pay the visa fee (USD 160)
    • Bring all the documents and receipts to the AIT interview on time
    • Determine the entry date (must be 30 days before you can use the I20 issued by the school to enter the United States)

1.3 MMR vaccine

According to New York State regulations, MMR vaccine is required. I vaccinated in a hospital in Taiwan, and stamped the hospital on the form designated by the school, which will be used when I enroll.

2. Baggage preparation(Preparation for studying in the US)

Preparation for studying in the U.S.
Preparation for studying in the US

I prepared my luggage before I went to study in the United States. In fact, when I was packing my luggage, I was really at a loss, because I didn’t know the climate in the United States and I didn’t know what to buy locally. Move to the United States.

Especially when I went to New York again, where it would snow. What kind of clothes should I bring? Those clothes are cheaper to buy locally.

The following I have compiled a list of references that I had prepared before leaving, what might be required with the thought, but can be cut by making a list of your needs, I also organized into a Google Sheet provided below you download, so you It can be printed out and checked one by one .

  • List of Documents
    • passport
    • Air tickets
    • Traveler’s checks, cash, credit cards
    • Certificate of academic qualifications, transcripts
    • I20, Admission Letter, financial proof
    • MMR (New York State requires MMR vaccine)
    • International driver’s license
    • English version of university transcripts, certificates, papers, important research results
    • TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, etc. transcripts
  • Refer to the list of items to carry (refer to NYU TSA 2017 Freshman Handbook)
    • Clothing
      • Personal daily clothes
      • Warm clothing (snow clothes, scarves, hats, gloves)
      • Formal wear
      • shoe
      • Swimsuit, goggles
      • Sunglasses
    • Daily necessities
      • Toiletries
      • Hygiene products
      • umbrella
      • Nail clippers
      • small scissors
      • Thermos cup
    • drug
      • Personal medicines
      • Doctor’s prescription
      • Gastrointestinal medicine
      • Cold medicine
    • Stationery
      • ball-point pen
      • Automatic pen
      • Highlighter
      • Utility knife
      • Scissors
    • Electronic equipment
      • Laptop
      • charger

Packing list: Google Sheet

I organized the above list details into a Google Sheet, which contains different tabs: documents, food, clothing, housing, education, 3C, beauty care, and medicine. It can help you to check if there is anything you didn’t bring before you set off.

3. Transportation

Preparation for studying in the U.S.
Preparation for studying in the US

The preparation for studying in the United States is to buy the air ticket. Because I bought it very late, I missed the cheap one-way price of China Airlines and Evergreen. When I started to buy the air ticket, the price was already sky-high.

In the end, I bought a one-way Etiha Airways, first flying to Hong Kong, then flying to Abu Dhabi, and finally flying to New York. This is the longest flight in my life. I stayed in Abu Dhabi for eight hours. It was a very special experience.

  • Find air tickets (3 commonly used websites)
    • Skyscanner -Integrate hotel, air ticket, car rental comparison network, you can book three things at once
    • Kayak -Integrate hotel, air ticket, and car rental comparison network, you can book three things at once
    • Google Flight s -the most powerful price comparison, very easy to use

Getting off the plane is really exhausting. I called the New York Trolley Car recommended by my senior sister and sent me directly to the place I booked in Taiwan. When I arrived at the door of my residence, I was really touched.

3.1 Airport transportation

After a long-distance flight, I usually just arrived in the United States with large and small bags. It may also be the first time to come to this place. It is best to pick up and drop off with the local student union, senior sister or someone you know before departure. . You can also talk to them about what to pay attention to in the local area.

If not, you can also ask Uber or Lyft to send yourself directly to the residence.

Detailed description of the five common modes of transportation in New York, and the cost I will write carefully in this article, you can refer to [New York Travel] New York Transportation-5 must-know modes of transportation

3.2 Daily traffic

Car rental

  • Recommended insurance
  • Under 25 years old will be charged more
  • Precautions for picking up and returning the car
  • Make good use of comparison websites and coupon companies, such as Groupon, to find cheaper deals

3.3 Driver’s License

In the United States, a driver’s license is just as important as an ID card . Some can be used to fly in the United States, unless you live in New York, which relies on the subway like me, or live directly in the city center. Most American cities rely on driving by themselves.

If you already have a car driver’s license in Taiwan , you don’t need to take the test in many states in the United States, you can directly change to a local driver’s license .

Method 1: Change photos directly

At present, Taiwan’s driver’s license can be interviewed in the United States for license renewal . For details, please refer to the list of countries in North America that recognize the exemption of driver’s license renewal in China .

Method two, driver’s license examination process

  • written examination
    • Go to the DMV to take the written test. After passing the test, you will get a Learner Permit
  • 5 hours in class
    • After obtaining a driver’s license, you must attend a driving training class for five hours (this step is not to teach you how to drive, but to watch videos and listen to the lecturer explaining how dangerous driving is, how important it is to drive safely)
  • road test
    • Schedule road test time online

For more detailed information, please refer to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) website in New York .

Extended reading: [Study in the United States] Taiwan’s driver’s license is exempted from the test and the US driver’s license is easily changed in 33 states

4. Priority to-do items after entry

Preparation for studying in the US

4.1 School registration

My own master’s degree is in NYU, so I am more clear about the admission procedure of NYU. I will provide the admission procedure of NYU in 2017. If you are studying in a different school, you can refer to the letter sent by the school.

  1. OGS Registration: OGS Mandatory Check-in Workshops
    1. Be on time, latecomers cannot enter the venue and need to make another appointment
    2. Carry all documents
      1. passport
      2. F1 VISA
      3. I-94
      4. I20
  2. Orientation reported by the college: Make a date set by the college and prepare relevant documents.

What impressed me the most about Orientation is that New Yorkers’ time is more important than life.

4.2 Bank account opening

After entering the country and settle down, you must remit the living expenses for the past two years to the United States. Common banks include Chase, BOA, Citi Bank, HSBC. After opening an account, you can prepare to invite parents, relatives and friends, and international wire transfer funds. .

Information needed to open an account

  • Passport
  • I-20


  1. Account opening time (address required, account opening discount)
  2. International Wire Transfer Information
    1. Bank name and address
    2. Swift Code
    3. Beneficiary Information

After opening a bank account, remember to tell the person who opened the account that you need to transfer money from Taiwan to this newly opened account. Usually the person who opened the account for you will give you detailed information and steps, and you can provide it to you. The family will transfer the funds to your newly opened account.

Extended reading: [Account opening instruction] Citibank Express, international remittance teaching with 0 handling fee, easy account opening in 3 steps

4.3 Register mobile phone number

4.3.1 Before coming to the United States, Pre-Paid card

In Taiwan, you can prepare first. T-Mobile’s one-week internet card can be used for one week immediately after landing. Once you have settled in, you can go to the telecommunications company to set up a house number.

You can refer to the following information for the purchase method. I bought a phone card for a week in Taiwan, and my family also bought this when traveling.

4.3.2 After coming to the United States, do the house number

Preparation for studying in the US
Mint (I currently use)4G$15 / Mon
VerizonUnlimited traffic$50+ / Month(Family Plan)
T-MobileUnlimited traffic$30+ / Month(Family Plan)
Preparation for studying in the US

Online application Mint mailed home

Among the four common telecom providers, many of my friends use Family Plan, which is usually cheaper. When I first came, I used Criket with four classmates. It was about USD 25 a month, and the Internet was 4G. Of traffic.

At the beginning, you may feel that you are accustomed to eating all-you-can-eat in Taiwan. 4G is not enough, but most of the time I use school and home Wifi, so the 4G traffic has never been used up.

After I graduated, some of my classmates went to other countries, and I transferred the door number to another carrier’s Family Plan, Sprint, and it was about USD25 a month, but there was no limit on internet traffic and Hulu was also given .

4.4 Looking for a long-term rental house

Before departure, you can actually ask the senior sister about the local rental situation from the Facebook club of the local school or the local club. If you can find a place for long-term rental before landing, it will be very good.

But if you don’t find it , you can find short-term rental accommodation near the school or temporarily live in Airbnb , and then continue to look for long-term rentals.

4.5 Apply for a credit card

If you want to accumulate credit records in advance , there are two credit card companies that provide credit cards for international students who do not have an SSN (Social Security Number). You can do this with student status. You can settle down, apply for one, and start at school. Accumulate credit history.

At first, I didn’t know that international students could apply for credit cards. I thought I had to wait until I was working before I could apply. It was probably in the first semester that students found out that they had a credit card, and then asked them if they need a social security code before they can apply?

Later I learned that there are two entry cards for international students , which can be applied without SSN . Although the quota is not high, it will start to accumulate credit records. I applied for both of them later.

Is there a credit card recommended for new international students who can apply to accumulate credit history?

I recommend it myself, and it is also my first credit card Deserve Edu credit card in the United States . It is very suitable for international students to apply. It is easy to apply online without SSN.

  • advantage:
    • You can apply online without SSN
    • Card opening gift USD30
    • Send Amazon Prime one-year membership (USD59), plus your school email to register an Amazon account, you can use Amazon Prime free for 1.5 years in total
    • You can start accumulating credit records right away, and you don’t have to wait until the SSN is down before applying for a card
    • 1%
  • shortcoming
    • Lower quota XD

Apply for a Deserve card and start accumulating credit records

Detailed application steps: [Study Abroad Credit Card] Deserve Edu credit card, no SSN, easy application in 3 steps

5. Food and clothing

Preparation for studying in the U.S.
Preparation for studying in the US

5.1 Food

I spend most of my time buying and cooking by myself. At the beginning, my roommates will cook together. They are very happy. Not only do they cook together, but they also buy groceries together to gather the concept of economy.

Practical App

  • Yelp : When eating in the United States, the most common use is to use Yelp to query restaurant reviews, where you can query popular dishes.
  • Takeaway app: usually online credit card transactions, don’t worry about preparing cash tips for delivery staff.

Extended reading: [Travel] 9 useful travel apps: Where are you in the toilet?


In addition to consumption tax (New York City: 8.875%), dining in American restaurants requires a tip. Tips in New York restaurants are about 15%-20% . If it is a group meal, the restaurant will usually add the tip to the bill automatically.

Frequently asked questions :

  • How much is the tip? 15% – 20%
  • Do I need to pay a tip for take-out? Need not
  • Do I need to tip for delivery service? Yes, give 10% – 18%
  • Some stores have the Cash Only logo, can I pay by credit card? no

When I first came to the United States, I was really not used to the tipping culture. As long as there is a service involved, you need to pay a tip, especially when you go to Koreatown to eat. Although the bibimbap on the menu is about USD17, the tip and tax are added at the end. OnePlus is no worse than USD22.

I like to go to the Korean Town Fried Chicken restaurant. Take out or eat in a buffet. It is not only cheap, but also very delicious. Later, my company is also nearby, and I take my colleagues to eat. Later, the entire company will order it every Friday. A Korean fried chicken shop XD.

5.2 Clothes

As it snows in New York, I can find a time to buy a down jacket at the Outlet . It is a very good investment . I spend my winter on down jackets, and I wear short sleeves inside. Usually the heating is turned on inside, and there is a place to hang my coat, so I hang up my coat inside, and wear short sleeves to get through the day.

Extended reading: [New York Travel] 7-10 days budget lazy bag, 3 must-catch budgets , which mentions how to buy tickets to go shopping at Outlet.

Five major money-saving festivals

  • Labor Day: The first Monday in September
  • Black Friday: After Thanksgiving, it is known as the most discounted festival of the year
  • Cyber ​​Monday
  • Christmas
  • new Year

Actually, I rarely buy things myself, but I did hear about Black Friday panic buying TVs. My classmates also saw crowds of people at the Outlet at midnight on Black Friday. I saw that on the night of Black Friday, the supermarket had a large TV ( It feels like no money?) But if there are items with high unit prices, it is really straightforward to wait until Black Friday to buy them.

Extended reading: [Money Saving Guide] 2020 Black Friday Guide, 10 categories of products with the largest discounts , [Money Saving Guide] 2020 Amazon Prime Day Money Saving Shopping Guide


Clothing tax, in New York City, is tax-free for a single item under USD100, and 4.5% city tax + 4% state tax for more than USD100.

Consider coming to New York to buy clothes or shoes. I often participate in marathon events myself. I need to change my shoes after training over 500KM. I usually wait until the shoes are folded in half.

5.3 Recreation

Common activities

  • match
  • concert
  • Broadway
  • ski
  • climb mountains

Frequently used and useful websites

Travel essential website

  • Itinerary planning, package tickets
    • KLOOK -offers packages to popular attractions
    • Trip Advisor -must-have for viewing tourist attractions and restaurant reviews
  • stay
    • Airbnb -the largest homestay website, there are many high-quality and affordable accommodations (the first time you sign up for Airbnb, there is a free USD 55 credit)
    • Hotels.com -Book 10 nights and get one night free
  • diet
    • Yelp -Restaurant reviews, prices, popular meals
    • Seamles s -North American food delivery platform
  • Find air tickets (3 commonly used websites)
    • Booking.co m – integrated hotel, airfare, car rental comparison shopping website, booked three things at once
    • Kayak -Integrate hotel, air ticket, and car rental comparison network, you can book three things at once
    • Google Flights -the most powerful price comparison, very easy to use
  • Find Coupons
    • Groupon -Provide various tickets and coupons for merchants
    • Coupons.co m – specializing in supermarket coupons

Extended reading: [New York Mountain Climbing] TOP 10 Mountain Climbing Spots: BREAKNECK RIDGE HILL

In my own leisure time, I will run in Central Park with friends every Thursday night, and eat together after running. Sometimes I go to the mountains in the suburbs of New York, climbing and camping. They will also plan all-marathon races in other states in the United States.

6. On-campus work

Work during school hours

  • Graduate assistant(GA)
  • Research assistant(RA)
  • Teaching assistant(TA)

Legal off-campus work

  • Curricular Practical Training(CPT)
  • If the CPT is more than one year, you cannot apply for OPT

If you need to apply for CPT, remember to make sure that your Program provides CPT when you apply for the school. I did not provide CPT for the one-year master’s degree in NYU.

7. Online shopping

Preparation for studying in the U.S.
Preparation for studying in the US

In the United States, in addition to grocery shopping, I almost always shop online. It is not only convenient, but also the cheapest price. Amazon shopping, if you are a Prime member, usually delivered within two days, and some products can even be delivered within one day. arrive.

7.1 Amazon

As the largest online shopping mall in the United States, if you are a Prime member again, the two-day delivery service can be said to be quite convenient, not only convenient for shopping, but also for returning goods.

I rely on Amazon for almost everything I buy. It is not only more convenient, but also very diverse.

7.2 Rakuten Cashback Site

Rakuten (registered members will receive USD 0 ) is a Cash Back website , in addition to back credit card, you can earn cash back way, when there will be uncertainty website, there are more feedback, the maximum time of 10% or higher, Different percentages will be returned according to different websites.

When I use Expedia to buy air tickets and book hotels, I use Rakuten to earn extra rewards. Udemy and Amazon have cash backs from time to time. After Chrome Extension is available, I will remind you when I open the website. Click to accumulate rewards. Super convenient.

Rakuten my referral link, use registration to get USD30 reward.Apply for Rakuten

Extended reading: [Money-saving artifact] Rakuten cash back use instruction, save money in 4 steps

Extended reading: [American Life] Purchase of American furniture, 3 sources of furniture purchase, 10 commonly used furniture

7.3 CamelCamelCamel

It is a website that records the historical price of Amazon products. You can see the historical trend of the price of the product . Usually I am not in a hurry to buy something, I will set a price alert, when the price is lower than the target price, I will receive it. notify. There is also Chrome Extension now  , which makes it easy to see price information on the Amazon product page.

Common reader Q&A

Must a credit card have an SSN to apply?

No, there are two cards, no SSN, you can apply as soon as the school starts.
Option 1: BOA credit card, but you need to apply for their bank account

Option two (recommended, apply online): 
Deserve Credit Card : Designed for international students, although the limit is not high, it is one of the few cards that can be applied for without SSN. 
You can get USD $30 with one purchase within three months of opening the card
Deserve application process

1. Upload I-20, passport, and U.S. visa to apply online, no need to go to the bank, no SSN.

2. You can accumulate credit points to Experian (EX) and TransUnion (TU).

3. Can be reimbursed for one-year Amazon Prime Student membership (worth $59).

4. 1% rebate on all consumption.

5. Waiver of foreign transaction fees (FTF).

6. No annual fee.
Extended reading: 
[Study Abroad Credit Card] Deserve Edu credit card, no SSN, easy application in 3 steps

Can Taiwan directly change to an American driver’s license?

Depending on the state, some states have cooperation with Taiwan, and you can directly exchange your Taiwanese driver’s license for an American driver’s license.

Further reading: 
[Study in the United States] Taiwan’s driver’s license is exempted from test-for-U.S. driver’s license, 33 states can easily change it,
you can refer to: 
North American countries recognize China’s driver’s license exemption from test-renewal list

What are the common must-have websites?

I have compiled 40 essential websites for reference: 
[Study in the US] 40 essential websites for studying in the US

If you want to prepare some skills in advance before coming to the United States, which online course platforms would you recommend?

The most common is Udemy & Coursera. If it is a skill course, I would recommend Udemy, but if it is a formal school course, I recommend Coursera. Before coming to the United States, you can get used to the speed and rhythm of the school course.
Extended reading: 
[North America Job Search] #0 Engineer interview resources, 15 essential websites, 2 books, 4 PROJECTS

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