international students packing and preparing for departure

Step 5: Prepare for Your Departure

English Language

Studying in the United States is a memorable and rewarding experience. Congratulations on taking this exciting step towards your future!

In planning your move to the United States, you may want to ask for assistance from an EducationUSA Advising Center in your home country and from your chosen English language program. The more that you prepare for your study experience, the more you will enjoy it.

Make Travel Arrangements
Before making travel arrangements, confirm with your program when you are expected to arrive on campus to comply with visa regulations. Finalize health insurance, communication plans with family and friends, emergency plans, and other travel-related items. Remember that you are not allowed to enter the United States more than 30 days prior to the start of your I-20 or DS-2019.

Attend a Pre-departure Orientation in Your Country
EducationUSA Advising centers organize pre-departure orientations (PDOs) for students to help prepare them for their studies in the United States.

During these PDOs, EducationUSA advisers and students who have returned from studying in the United States provide information and resources that will help prepare you for new experiences and learn how to adjust to new challenges. Topics discussed include cultural differences, motivation, changes from your home environment, academic systems and expectations, housing, and handy tips for settling into your new community.

Gather Pre-departure Materials & Important Documents for Arrival
Everyone arriving in the United States passes through an inspection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Learn more about this arrival process and the documents required for entry.

Report to Your School and Attend Orientations
When you arrive on campus, be sure to check in with your Designated School Official (DSO) to complete your required visa information session and learn more about the program's international student policies and procedures. Your U.S. program will also usually offer a special orientation for new students. Attending orientation is crucial for all new international students.