Housing: First get in touch with others going to the same university and make a group where everyone can talk (e.g. WhatsApp). First years usually get town houses and it is always preferable to stay with a big group than in an apartment.
Places to look for these town houses around Lehigh University are:
- Other websites for housing. (google it)
Streets that you should look out for housing are:
- Birkel (best location)
- Summit Street
- Montclair Avenue
- West 4th Street
- Carlton Avenue (avoid if possible)
- South New Street – Student Housing, Subway apartment
- Vine street
Get in touch with the landlord through email and ask for when the house is available for showing. Then talk to one of the seniors and see if they can view the house for you and send a couple of pictures. They will also be able to tell you if the neighborhood is safe or and how safe is the house in winter in terms of snow and black ice.
Things to check for in the new house:
- Heating type: Prefer Gas heating as oil heating is expensive
- Utilities Included- Usually water, sewage and garbage disposal are included
- Furniture – If the furniture is included in the house and the landlord is not charging extra for it its fine. Otherwise buy your own furniture when you get here. It is cheap and also you can sell it once u move out.
- Check if the house has a laundry unit. If you are living up the hill in a house that does not have a laundry unit you are in for trouble. Laundry should be easily accessible.
Block the ticket first. You need not pay anything while blocking, it’s free! You can pay later (generally 10 days before departure) after your ticket and schedule is confirmed. Block flights with many airlines.
Book flights to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) preferably as it is the closest and the most accessible airport from the university. Transportation from EWR is through the bus service of Transbridge lines.
The ticket can be obtained from the Terminal C of the Airport and the boarding of the bus is from all three terminals of the airport. However you may board it from the stop outside Terminal C. It is across the gate of Terminal C. Make sure you carry around $40 in cash for the travel. $24 is the fare of the bus service and $15 is for miscellaneous expenses you might incur. Tip the Bus driver if you are using his help to load and unload the bags. Usually unless you are carrying more than 2 big bags you won’t be charged for the luggage.
Avoid travelling on connecting flights of 2 different airlines.
This may result in misplacement of luggage and unnecessary troubles. In case change of airline can't be avoided' leave at least 4-6 hours of gap
between the scheduled arrival of one flight and the scheduled departure of the connecting flight.
Ask for student concessions for baggage. British Airways might give allowance for 3-4 bags. Also remember not carry any valuable items in the check in bags as the airline operators might not handle it with as much care as you would.
Typical expenses: Rs.35, 000 - Rs.65, 000/-
Health check up:
- Get a medical check-up done.
Dental check up:
- Fresh check-up before flying to US, especially if you have a major ailment
- Please take a note that dental care is not covered under health insurance in the U.S.
Eye check up:
- Get your eyesight checked - get a new prescription. Buy at least 3 extra pair of glasses or pair of contact lens.
LIST OF MEDICINES RECCOMMENDED BY A DOCTOR:
- Crocin tablets (paracetamol 500 mg) - 3 strips.
For fever, body ache, and headache.
One tablet three times a day as necessary.
Above 60 kg please use 650 mg tablets (thermol/dolo).
For fevers, mild pain relief Actifed tablets – 2 strips (side effect drowsiness)
A costlier but much better alternative is Alerid (cetrizine) or Neoloridin(loridine) less sedation and next to no side effects.
- Azithromycin - 500 mg tablets (aziwin) - 3 strips.
One tablet once a day for atleast 3 days ...use if you have a bacterial cold or Respiratory infection...(most common symptom being dark yellow colored mucus, fever, etc.). NOT NEEDED FOR ordinary cold (white mucus, watery secretions).
- Sporidex 500mg capsules - 2 strips.
One tablet twice a day when necessary as advised (please don’t use on your own. This stuff needs a prescription to be used properly...meant only for persistent troublesome infections).
- Avomine tablets - 1 strip.
For air/ motion sickness. One tablet as necessary(causes drowsiness).
- Lomotil/Andial tablets - 15 mg
For diarrhea. But remember the best treatment for diarrhea is plenty of fluids, some good rest and bland food.
- Omeprazole - 20 mg
For gastritis. Can be take once or twice a day.
- Digene tablets - 20 mg
For stomach discomfort .One each three times a day.
- Spasmoproxyvon capsules - 3 strips.
For abdominal colic pain, backache, menstrual pain etc. One tablet every 6 hours or as necessary.
- Domstal tablets - 10 mg
For vomiting. Has to be taken atleast half an hr before food.
- Electral powder - 2 packets
One teaspoonful mixed with drinks to make up loss of electrolytes after vomiting & diarrhoea.
- Novalgin - 2 strips
For headache & bodyache. One tablet as necessary.
- Brufen - 600 mg - 2 strips
For arthirtic joint pain. One tablet three times a day after food.
- Avil Tablets - 1 strip
For allergy (use cetrizine/loridin for less sedation). One tablet as necessary.
- Relaxyl ointment - 1 tube
To be applied as pain balm.
- Band Aid assorted - 12
- Soframycin skin ointment - 1 tube
- Nimesulide tabs
For the severest of headaches and pains (Not available in the US). 100mg upto 3 times a day.
- Ciplox capsules - 500 mg - 2 strips
One capsule twice a day. For Infective diarrhea.
SHOPPING TIME BUDDY!!
There are so many things one needs to carry, as this is the first time you are going abroad. If you have a friend who is going to the same university, for the same semester, it is better to share few things. This saves space as well as money.
In this section, we have listed the most common things that your seniors have carried and suggest you to do. Many commodities like clothes, foot ware, leather items, and other miscellaneous things are expensive in US. Therefore it is a must that you go through the entire section and make a note of these things in the form of printout before you begin shopping to ensure that you don’t miss something.
Note: All the below mentioned items and quantities are not mandatory, but just a rough idea of what you should get. You might want to take some additional things apart from what mentioned here or exclude some from the below list. Finally it depends upon each individual what all things to carry depending upon his consumption, requirement and needs.
Formal suit & Ties: 1-2 pairs. You rarely need them...once in a year or so on occasions like Convocation ceremony and interviews and job fair. It is better to bring this from India.
Undergarments...a lot of them 15-20 pairs.
We stress upon this because you may go to the laundry once in two weeks!!
Socks 6 to 8 pairs you can bring even more because you would be wearing shoes most of the time. Do not take nylon socks. Cotton ones are better.
1 full sleeved Sweater advisable
Thermals for winter - full sleeved – at least 2 pairs. Get this from India.
Get a muffler and monkey cap and woolen gloves and windcheater.
Leather jacket- 1 they are rather poor protection in the north. But you may consider getting one woolen Jacket.
2-3 belts one formal leather belt and others as you please. But you might want to know that one rarely tucks in the casual dresses.
Kurta-pajamas-These would be good during Cultural meets etc.
2 Fitted bedsheets if possible (if you know the size of your bed) Otherwise buy them here.
1 Plush blanket for the initial days till you buy a comforter.
||15 to 20
||4 to 5
||14 to 16
||4 to 6
||3 to 4
||4 to 6
||12 to 14
||6 to 8
||1 to 2
||2 to 3
||3 to 4
||2 to 3
- Sport shoes:Sports shoes are real cheap in US. Moreover in sales of Christmas etc. So do not spend too much money for these. Get some moderately priced and good ones so that you need not buy them immediately after coming to US.
- Leather shoes:Get good and strong leather shoes, shoes that have good grip are preferred. This is for snowy regions. It’s difficult to walk on snow with shoes of flat sole. Firm grip helps to keep fit, prevents breaking head, bones. It’s best to buy snow shoes here because in India they either aren’t available or won’t be as good.
- Chappals: 1 pair sandals
- Slippers: two pairs, you don't get the India type slippers in US.
- Wallet - one that has space for cards - you normally don't carry much cash with you, card is accepted everywhere.
- Shaving kit & Blades - (get a good stock, they are costly In US). Brush & toothpaste (these are also expensive in US).
- Get one bottle of shower/body gel as soap bars are not used here
- Combs & hair oil - (if you use hair-oil get a year’s supply of your favorites).
- Nail cutter, Small scissors, Safety pin bunch and Mini-sewing kit with some buttons.
Summarizing your Personal accessories list:
||8 to 10
|Small pillow if possible
||1 to 2
|Passport and stamp size snaps
|Medicines + first aid kit
Do not get entire set of utensils Depends on whether you guys plan to cook alone or with your housemates, since most people don't get time to cook daily, stuff is generally prepared for two days at a go - so keep this in mind when you buy vessels, etc.
Summarizing your Personal accessories list:
||1, 3 litre with spare parts
|Spatula types used while making roti
|Serving spoons (for dal, curry and rice)
|Knife & Fork
|Steel containers to heat food
||2 (with lid)
|Coffee spoon for salt etc.
|Small size plastic spoons for masala
Some of the common food items that students carry are:
Spices, Tealeaves, Masalas, Haldi, Dhania, red chilly, Instant masalas, etc.
Different dals in small quantity for initial use.
Indian instant coffee + Indian tea (it takes time to get used to the American stuff).
Elaichi, clove, cinnamon
Masalas and tea/coffee powder, if you are a regular drinker (until somebody shifts to beer.)
Get a couple of bags each of haldi, red chilly powder, Garam masala, Dhania, Pickle bottles (if you have enthu, but preferably get sealed ones), rice, Moong Dal. Bring approx.1-month supply of masalas.
Most Indian foodstuffs are available even in small cities. Don't come loaded with foodstuffs as you may have problem with customs. Try to get "instant" stuff, as people don't have much time for cooking in the US.
2 large size suitcases – 29 Inches, one cabin bag and one backpack.
Things to be kept in hand baggage:
- Some medicines (including for air-sickness)
- Original important documents (I-20, visa, tickets.)
- Enough money (little cash, Forex card is preferred over Traveler’s Check)
- Copies of your photos (passport size)
Things to be kept in person:
- Shorter extract of contact addresses - especially of people coming to pick you up.
- 1 handbag to carry in flight stuff with you (buy a good quality, spacious one 'cause you might have to use it for carrying clothes to the laundry later).
- 1 backpack (get a good one; you will use it almost all the time in US)
In general, graduate students are not required to carry any books(strictly follow this, you will get more space in your bag to carry other important things).
Money to be taken with you:
Other than you fee requirements you may have to take $1000-$2000 depending upon where you are going. Do this after you buy your ticket. And remember! Take major part of the money in Forex card/DD/TC's
. The typical combination is. DD for the entire fee (if you plan to pay by yourself) you have to pay, $1000-$2000 in TCs/Forex card
, and $200
in cash...a combination of notes of different denominations.
Carry all documentation safely, and have photocopies to back you up - letter from Univ., mark sheets, etc. (the visa stuff basically). Things to get photocopied: Make three sets of the following copies, keep one set at home and take the remaining two sets with you (one in each check-in bag).
Xth, Inter (10+2), Degree marks sheets, Convocation Certificate of Under graduation.
I-20 and acceptance letter from the university.
Take all the I-20's with you if you have more than one.
Important things to do before you leave:
Give power of attorney (authorization letters) to your father or brother or to someone on whom you rely.
Put your signature on a 10 plane papers, write you name below it, keep these at home, they may need it for any purpose like authorization to collect marks sheets, Provisional certificate, Transfer certificate, Bonafide certificate, Degree certificate, Migration certificate from the university, applying for the refund from the college etc.
Make all bank accounts joint.
Things to be left at home:
List of addresses/phone numbers at which info about you can be obtained.
One copy of all your important documents.
A copy of all relevant parts of medical history files.
Arrange to collect/redirect mail from your room/hostel.
Arrange to apply/collect/mail your transcripts (about 20 in number preferable).
Your tailoring measurements.
A Review & Miscellaneous:
Get a driving license and a IDP (international Driving Permit).
Get at least $750 if you get paid within one month of arriving and at least $1500 if you get paid after a month and a half of arrival. Also be ready (both mentally and monetarily) to pay several deposits to pay for the first month of stay like gas, telephone, and electricity. You'll have to pay a month’s rent as deposit and a month’s rent advance (around $250-330 per person/month).
Get your application material if you wish to reactivate your applications at a better place for the next quarter/year.
Get a set of transcripts in case you apply all over again for a PhD.
B.Tech. Degree certificate (laminate it in thin plastic is possible).
Get 2-3 passport size photographs.
Get an address/phone number diary.
Have a set of copies of visa, passport, I-20 in each piece of luggage.
Depending upon the weather in your area get a folding umbrella.
Carry Rs.300 - Rs.500/- for airport tax and Rs.600/- for the $20 you'll get inside the airport.
If you are having a camera then get it endorsed on your passport.
Have a RBI permit ready for the dollars you are carrying with you.
Get a good leather purse that has several sections of "visiting cards" size, you'll need those for the bunch of credit cards/key cards/ID's, etc. you'll accumulate in no time in US.
Carry medical prescription for all your medicines you bring.
If you have glasses, get a through eye-check-up before and get 2 extra pairs of glasses.
Keep passport, visa, I-20, and other admission documents in the backpack you'll carry on your shoulders all the time.
Confirm your ticket a couple of days prior to the flight directly through the airlines you are flying no matter how reputed your travel agent is.
IN THE LAST WEEK:
Call up and find if there is any change of the schedule of the plane (inform the people coming to pick you up of any such change).
Find out the name of the person who is coming to pick you up at the airport. Remind those people of the flight timings, airline no, your name. Inform all these to your people at home.
Relax the day before journey, and check all the documents you are taking with you once again.
Arrange for the conveyance if you don’t have a car. You can book with any private transport facility like City cabs.
ON THE DAY OF THE FLIGHT AND ON–BOARD:
Since it is going to be a long flight wear something comfortable (cotton dress + full hand shirt). Wear your shoes - in flight you can remove them (some airlines give in flight shoes - else relax in socks).
Check all the documents once again and keep them at appropriate places.
Be at the airport 3-4 hours before the departure.
Collect $20 at the airport (part of it in $1).
Relax during flight, sleep as much as possible.
For vegetarians - watch out before you eat - you may get non-veg even if you had asked for veg. Veg food is generally bland - fruits/juices are good choices. (Before ordering anything on board check if, you have to pay for it separately). Don't hesitate to ask questions.
Once out of India be very careful (from sheer experience of seniors). Don't trust anyone. Don't hire a taxi (unless emergency) till you reach your destination. If required don't hesitate to spend money in the initial days, till the time you settle down.
ONCE OFF THE PLANE:
You are now in the USA! Once you are out of the plane go straight to the immigration counter - rush for them to beat the queue. It might take 0.5 - 1 hour here. Keep your I-20, passport, admission & aid letters ready.
They might ask a few questions like:
Is this your first time in the US? Student? F-1 Visa? Which Univ.? They will attach an I- 64 card to your visa.
Then go to the baggage counter to fetch your luggage. Pick up a cart (you get this at a machine for $1) to carry the bags. Then pick up your bags as they come out on the conveyor (suitable eye-catching labels help here) we suggest you tie your baggage with rope of a bright color that is visible from a distance. All this is to make your baggage appear distinct. If you don't get your baggage, inform the inquiry section - you may have to wait 0.5 - 1 hour here.
Cart your baggage to the nearby customs. If asked tell them that you are a student, F-1 visa, school, dept., coming to US for the first time if asked to open your baggage do so slowly - do not mess up the place. If asked about the "masala powder tell them that they are "dried Indian spices" to make traditional Indian food like curry. Rarely they might ask you to go the agris dept nearby - its a pain. If asked about "vibhuti" tell them that it is a holy Hindu powder.
In most cases, you will not be asked to open your boxes at all & you will be simply waved through.
Proceed to Terminal C if you are at EWR airport. Buy a ticket to South Bethlehem at the Transbridge lines counter and board the bus that goes to South Bethlehem. Please make sure you check with the driver before boarding the bus that the bus makes a stop at South Bethlehem(Adams & Mechanic St.).
In case you are travelling from JFK please check the schedule for the Transbridge Lines Bus for buses from JFK airport to South Bethlehem. In case you cannot figure it out yourself please get in touch with someone on the Lehigh University website so they can guide you to travel safely.
FIRST FEW THINGS THAT YOU NEED TO DO IN AMERICA:
Once you arrive at the University you will need to do the following things:
- Get your I-20 signed from the OISS office (Coxe Hall) seniors would guide you.
- Get your ID card from the Christmas Saucon building on Packer avenue.
- Get a schedule for the orientation program from OISS.
- Get your house set up. Electricity will be setup with PPL LLC. Internet: RCN
- Talk to one of your seniors well in advance when they plan to go grocery shopping. Everyone does not need to go for the shopping. In case you have something personal or essential you need to buy we shall make that trip separately.
- Do not hesitate to drop by at one of the senior’s houses in the evening. Lehigh grad students are always welcoming.
Hope you have a smooth transition phase.
ALL THE BEST!!!