If you’re an incoming, international freshman, you’re probably curious about some of the practical questions when you move to the US. While you could probably get the answers you’re looking for with extensive Googling, who wants to take the time to surf the web?
Well, here are our real answers for your real questions. While we’ve only answered four questions below, we hope they provide you with some guidance. And, if you have any other questions, feel free to drop us a line in the comments section and we’ll be sure to answer them.PC or Mac? Futon or no futon?
Question #1: Do I need a power adapter?
- The power supply in the US is very different from those in Europe or in other parts of the world. Many schools suggest that you wait to purchase electrical appliances until you arrive in the United States, since the odds are that you will not want to use an adapter for all 4 years. But, if you are bringing electrical appliances (like a computer charger) it is best to buy an adapter to be sure that your appliances will not be ruined.
Question #2: Do I need a Social Security number?
- As written by the U.S. Social Security Administration, unless you want to work in the US, you do not need a social security number. A Social Security number (SSN), is used to report individual wages to the government and determine someone’s eligibility for Social Security benefits. If you happen to be prompted for this number but don’t have one, you can contact your school as they will often times supply you with another identification number.If you’re looking into either OPT (Optional Practical Training) or CPT (Curricular Practical Training), then you will need a SSN. In this case, you’ll need to bring your I-20, Passport, and I-94 card. Those looking for OPT with need to also bring an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) card to a local Social Security Administration office.
Question #3: What should I do about a cell phone?
- One of the more common questions, there are a wealth of options for international students. For those that prefer to call their home country for free, Skype is always the best option. But, if you find that you’re someone who NEEDS a cell phone, be sure to shop around for a company that fits your needs. For example, some companies may charge you an expensive deposit if you don’t have a SSN, but not all do. Of course, if you’d like to keep your old phone, you can also install an international sim card on your phone which will help cut your roaming costs and international calling expenses.
The last option is to “jailbreak” your smartphone, which is tech speak for removing the limitations imposed by its manufacturer. This process may be necessary to change your sim card, but before you decide to go this route, please note that the legality of this practice may be changing in the near future. Back in 2010, the US Copyright Office ruled that jailbreaking was legal, but that law may soon be changing. If that happens, jailbreaking would be a crime, and we’d hate for you to be on the wrong side of the law.
Question #4: Is the alcohol policy the same as in my home country?
- Underage drinking in the United States is a very serious issue as the legal drinking age is 21. While this may differ from your home country, the majority of schools treat underage drinking with policies of little to no tolerance.