Preparation before Travel & Studying in U.S.A

Your Guide in UK
February 25, 2019

Preparation before Travel & Studying in U.S.A

Preparation just before Travel & Studying in U.S.A


For Undergraduate Studies:

What is TOEFL?

TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. The TOEFL exam is offered both as a paper-based (PBT) or internet-based (iBT) test. Its main purpose is to measure your ability to understand spoken and written English and to recognize appropriate written English structure at a university level.


Who Recognizes TOEFL?

The TOEFL test is recognized in over 130 countries by more than 7,500 colleges and other institutions around the world.



You will be asked to read a few passages of university-level articles and answer some questions presented in Multiple Choice format (MCQ). The questions are design to assess your reading comprehension, key facts, vocabulary and style.



In this section you are given few extracts of conversations or conferences. All these refer to university life like a conversation between a student and a teacher, or a lecture in a class. The questions are MCQs and question you about details, suggestions and vocabulary



This involves speaking into a microphone while being recorded. Later, an examiner will listen to your answers and mark you accordingly. Two questions will be more of a personal style, like asking about your town or your favourite teacher. Another two questions will see you condense information from a text/conversation while offering opinions. Further questions will just ask you to summarise information from a short conversation.



Finally, there will be two short essays to write for the TOEFL exam. For the first exam, you are given broad topics such as, ‘How has the internet changed our lives?’ or ‘If you changed one thing in your country, what it would be?’

In the second one, you’ll need to analyse material from a text or lecture and you will have to produce an argumentative essay, analysing the information given.


What score should I aim for?

The Reading and Listening sections are scored by computer with a score range of 0 to 30. The Reading section has 36-56 tasks based on reading passages from academic texts and answering questions. The Listening section has 34-51 tasks based on listening to lectures, classroom discussions and conversations, and then answering questions.

For Post Graduate Studies:

GRE or GMAT? If you’re planning to study at (post) graduate level in the States, then you need to consider this question. These are the most popular tests as part of grad school admissions. Ultimately you should check which test the institution you are applying to accepts, or which they would prefer you take.


But if an institution accepts both, which should you choose?


1 x 75 min Analytic section of 2 essays

2 x 30 min Verbal sections

2 x 35 min Quantitative sections

Aprox. total length: 3 ¾ hours



1 x 30 min Analytic section with one essay

1 x 30 min Integrated Reasoning section

1 x 75 min Quantitative section

1 x 75 min Verbal section

Approx. total length: 3 ½ hours

Your Guide Before Start Packing…

Bursting with excitement, you’re now left to complete packing your bags. Whilst you’ll want to take as many of your favourite things with you as possible when you move overseas, it’s important that you think practically about the restrictions of your luggage and what will be of most use to you once you land, and what you wouldn’t need, and leave…



Whether you have access to funds by card or not, you should always have an amount of local currency on hand in case things go wrong, particularly when you just arrive. Some shops and establishments might not accept foreign cards or payment via card at all, whilst some services such as public transport tickets or taxis only take cash.



Students should research the climate in the state they’ll be studying in before arriving, and pack the basics they’ll need to function in that climate. You’ll be arriving in the fall, so warmer clothes would be better, or if in summer then light clothes are better match, though again this will depend on where you are studying.


Keep your passport, immigration forms and university acceptance letter in a plastic pocket or folder within your carry-on luggage whilst you travel, and stored somewhere safe and out of the way once arrived. You should always make both paper photocopies and digital copies of all your documents just in case, and have these accessible while travelling so you can produce these at border control.


Academic Supplies

Books and stationary are not only heavy, but are unlikely to vary in quality between countries. All the books you’ll need for your studies will definitely be available on campus at the library or bookshop, through a campus-run service or through online retailers like Amazon.

LEAVE Behind

When trying to squash your life into a suitcase it’s tempting to try and fit in as many items of sentimental value as you can. Whilst taking a few tokens of your life at home is a good idea, taking photo albums, soft toys or too many trinkets will just end up cluttering your new room and using up precious luggage space. Try to be reasonable with your choice of mementos from home, and remember that once in your room abroad, you’ll need the extra space to make room for new memories.


Your Guide for Public Transportations in U.S.A

America is a huge country with many different environments across its vast landscape. While these can be a joy to experience, all in one country, they can be troublesome to navigate (especially when you have to get around day-to-day). While you might know about the hustle and bustle of New York’s famous underground subway from films you’ve seen, you won’t necessarily find the same transport options in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Your university will have some local transport information on their website while university staff can advise you too (plus you can always use Google Maps to plan journeys or see what’s available in the local area).

By Taxi

While you may recognise New York’s yellow version of cabs, you can always get a cab elsewhere around the country to get around town (though the number of firms available to choose from will depend on the area). Make sure you only get in a cab registered with a reputable firm or company; never get into a strange car or simply assume that a cab is who they say they are, especially at night.


By Underground

In New York City for example, due to the heavy traffic and narrow streets, most rely on the famous underground system, referred to as the “Subway”. Boston, Chicago and other large cities have their own versions of the underground system which make getting around the city easy. Just exhibit caution when using these late at night when you’re on your own. If you’ll be using these regularly, buy a weekly or monthly ticket to save money.


By Train

The over ground train isn’t quite as adored in the States as it is in the much smaller UK where it is widely used both intra-city, inter-city and nationwide. All the same, the train is still used by many to move around cities as well as for those commuting in from the suburbs and surrounding areas. You can use Amtrak to plan a journey and book tickets online.

Some cities also have a city tramline which runs on the roads. Usually these will be in cities which attract a lot of tourists, allowing them to jump on and off to explore.


Planning your journey

If you’re planning on making an important journey, and you need to know where you are going in advance then make use of the Google Maps journey planner which allows you to plan a journey in advance either by foot, by car or by public transport. It is pretty easy to use; simply enter your start destination and your final destination and Google will do the planning for you!

Sources of Financial Aid for Studying & Traveling to U.S.A

Financial Cost of higher education in the United States rises year after year, and many students are finding that they are unable to support themselves. There are a number of other avenues that you can explore when looking for sources of funding for your education.

Direct Assistance of University

You can ask directly the university you chose, if they provide financial Aid to students travelling abroad, and there are actually many Private & Governmental Universities in the US provide financial assistance to travelling students. Directly you can get an instant inquiry and see if your desired university in U.S.A provides covering your financial costs or not.

International Organizations

There are several international organizations, such as the Fulbright Commission, who grant aid to students all over the world. Other such organizations that offer aid are:

Student Loans

We know it’s not a great idea, to kick off your journey of studying abroad by getting a LOAN!

But actually, Students travelling abroad are eligible for private international student loans to study in the USA. As long as you attend an approved school, and have a US citizen or permanent resident to co-sign for you, you can borrow as much as you’ll need. Be careful about taking on too much debt, you should only borrow what you truly need to cover the cost of studying and living in the US. As you can work while studying and repay back your debt loan after finishing your studies.


As you begin to think about funding sources for your educational and living expenses in the United States, remember that you cannot count on working in the United States unless you have been granted a teaching or research assistantship. When you submit evidence of your financial resources, you cannot reply on potential income. The income on which you base your application must be assured, and it must be equal to or exceed the costs of the first year of your studies.

Part-Time Jobs

You can search for part-time jobs to cover your tuition fees. Although, jobs available on campus typically do not pay much, certainly not enough to finance a university education. Do not count on this kind of a job for anything more than a supplement to other funds.


Careful long- and short-term planning is necessary to ensure that you will have a rewarding educational experience in the United States.

Freelance Jobs

You can search easily for freelance jobs to preform online. If you are realistic about your financial needs, you will be better able to enjoy the exciting academic and cultural experience of living and learning in the United States. All you need is to have a Laptop & wireless internet connection available.

How Can I Find a Job after Graduation from U.S.A?

When studying abroad in America, you might want to undertake part-time work to offset some of your living costs, or complete some work experience within your field. Whilst America has some of the world’s strictest immigration laws, students with some visa types will be allowed to work part-time beneath certain circumstances. However, where you may be awarded a small income, it will be nowhere near enough to cover your complete living costs or tuition fees, so you’ll need the finances to support yourself for the entire duration of your study program before you leave.

Can I Stay in the U.S?

Graduates wanting to stay on in the US after completing their studies will generally have one of two options: enroll in an Optional Practical Training Programme (OPT) or apply for a work visa. After your student visa expires, you will have what is called a ‘grace period’ to leave the US, extend your visa or secure a new one. The length of time you’re able to stay will depend on the type of student visa you’re on: F-1 students are allowed 60 days, whilst M-1 and J-1 students have 30.



If you are in the US on an F-1 student visa then you will be allowed to complete up to one year of temporary employment in a position directly related to your field of study. Under this programme, you are allowed one year of temporary employment for every study level you’ve completed. For example, you would receive one year of OPT after you’ve completed your Bachelors, and another after you’ve done your Masters.


You will first need to submit an OPT I-20 request form to the international office at your host university to be considered for OPT, and if your appeal is successful then your host will put you forward to the Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS). You will then receive new immigration documents you will need to include in your complete OPT application that you’ll submit to US Immigration.

Work Visa

There are many different types of working visas in the US. As an international graduate, you are most likely to be eligible for a Temporary Working Visa (H-1B). Under this visa, you’ll be able to stay in the US for up to three years, with the potential for extension to six.


Graduates are NOT able to apply for this visa themselves: rather, once they have been offered a job in the US their employer will lodge the application on their behalf. You must hold a qualification at degree level (Bachelor) or higher to be eligible. Kindly visit U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website for more details.


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