Things Nobody Tells You About Going from India to Study in the USA


Cyril Zachariah
Updated on May 01, 2023 07:34 PM IST

Planning to Study in the USA? We bet that the following list of things will give you a better understanding of how to adjust on international soil. Learn the hacks and basic life skills for a pleasant study abroad experience.

Things Nobody Tells You About Going from India to Study in the USA

Have you ever questioned what it is you should really look out for when travelling from India to the USA for higher studies? Well, in this article we shall discuss those factors and things nobody tells you about going from India to study in the USA.

The USA has been one of the top choices for Indian students who wish to study abroad. The country not only promises excellent quality of education but also far better career prospects for many students. Many Indians decide to study in the USA to not only access quality education but also to avoid intense competition in India for top colleges. In fact, due to the high standard of education in India, most Indian students will find it easier to get into US universities and get world-renowned education.

However, despite the availability of various channels dedicated to making the life of an Indian student easier in the US, there are some things that are just different from what we are used to. To help save your hours of research and to help you prepare, we have compiled a list of things nobody tells you about going from India to study in the USA.

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Why Study in USA as an Indian Student? 

Before we shed any light on some of the top things nobody tells international students about going from India to study in the USA, let us first understand why an Indian student should choose the USA as a study abroad destination and the perks involved:

  • Home to Top Ranking Universities: The United States is home to over 5000 universities, the majority of which are rated first in the Global University Rankings. Yale University, Harvard University, Cornell University, Columbia University, and others are examples of universities.

  • Degrees Are Approved Worldwide: A degree from the USA will put you in a better position. If you are searching for a degree in the near future, you will realise how vital it is. If you are seeking work, you will find it simpler to get a better-paying job in the United States or any other country.

  • Career Opportunities: A degree from the USA will help you find a better career. You can also conduct internships to gain valuable experience that will be recognised both in the USA and other countries too.

  • Strong Networking Opportunity: Unlike in many other countries, professors in US universities are more open to debate and discussion. This will also assist in obtaining helpful suggestions. The planning of career workshops and counselling sessions will improve your employability.

  • Guaranteed Good Campus Life: You will visit several of the greatest colleges in the United States, as well as students from different cultures. This will help you understand more about life outside of campus and will offer you the greatest campus life possible.

  • Exclusive Support for International Students: Universities in the USA offer several sorts of assistance to international students. Language classes, orientation programmes, and other activities will help students.

  • Earn While Studying: You can work 20 hours every semester on a part-time basis, and 40 hours during the semester breaks. This will help you earn money and manage your finances.

  • Cultural Diversity: The USA is a melting pot of several civilizations. You may engage with and become friends with students from many nations, which will help you learn more about diverse cultures. This, in turn, can make you feel less homesick.

Now that we are all aware of some of the perks of studying in the USA for international students, let us shed some light on the things that nobody tells you about studying in the USA:

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Life and Work Integrity

Indian students are very well-versed in jugaad and as Indians, we are of the firm opinion that there is always an alternative way to deal with situations and challenges. Whether it be our college applications, admissions, examinations or even taking up a job, using your sources and the good old jugaad never fails to work out.

However, you might find that things are vastly different in US universities. Students are more honest about their studies and work hard to complete their assignments on time. Plus, the style of teaching and studying in the USA is extremely different than in India, which might take some time to get used to, initially.


Networking is a crucial aspect of studying in the USA, especially as an international student. Inevitably, the more contacts you make during your study in the US, the better your chances of becoming successful, not only during your studies but also after. It is important to go out and talk to people, your classmates, senior-year students, teachers, and vendors in your university. Maintaining a pleasant attitude and a good relationship will not take too much of your time and effort but the people you connect with will not only help you feel comfortable and welcomed in a foreign land but may also prove to be helpful in your growth, both academically and professionally.

Money and Time Value

As it is known, spending time and money while studying abroad is inevitable, but it is important to learn how to spend your time and money cleverly and judiciously, in a manner that not only benefits you but does not cost you immensely. Having a social life while studying abroad is crucial, especially for networking, however, it is your duty to create boundaries and limits to how much money and time you can spend while studying abroad is also important.

In such a situation, it becomes very important for a student to get into the habit of spending wisely and creating good spending habits such as tracking their money. Plus, a lot of clubs and organizations are usually active in the universities in the USA and it can get easy to lose track of time if you take too much on your plate. Balance your studies and your hobbies and leave some time for rest and relaxation as well.

College v/sUniversity

While we often blur the lines between the definitions for colleges and universities, in the US, we will see a stark difference between the two. While some four-year postsecondary US institutions could be called a "college" or a"university", both often grant Bachelor's degrees to aspiring students. However, a "US college" is often a smaller higher education institution with authorisation to offer only undergraduate degrees compared to a "university" with rights to offer both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

On the other hand, all higher education institutions in the USA with a "university" in their name might not be big institutions that recruit several thousand students. Some are relatively smaller, for instance, Marymount California University, which enrols around a thousand students during the fall intake in the US, as per U.S. News and World Report data.

Decision-Making Flexibility

A unique feature of pursuing higher studies in the USA is the flexibility in choosing your major and minor courses. The US' flexible college system allows students to choose around five subjects every semester and then declare a major, which will be the main course they will graduate in. This provides students with the ability to choose a major in a course and take a minor in another course, for instance, a major in robotics and a minor in literature.

Learning Lifestyle Skills

Cooking is one skill that you must definitely start working on before leaving for the USA. Eating out can not only be unhealthy but also expensive. Learning how to cook will allow you to create your own meals as per your requirements and it will help you eat much healthier and much better food for the same amount of money or even less. Not to mention that you will be able to impress your friends with some delicious homemade Indian recipes that they will not find anywhere else.

Along with cooking, maintaining your room, such as cleaning and replacing the necessary equipment, as well as, maintaining a habit and routine of paying off your electricity, water and phone bills on time as well as rent, if you are living outside campus grounds, is important as well.

Practice Caution

While the US is one of the safer places to study and live in, it is inevitable to face negative elements and unsavoury situations. As a foreigner, your knowledge of the country, state, city or town you are living in will be extremely limited. Therefore, before making any decision, even if it is a minor decision it is better to be cautious than apologetic. Therefore, consult the international student office at your respective university, or a teacher/professor you are comfortable with, regarding any doubts or concerns you may have living and studying in the US. Better yet, connecting with your parents or guardians may also be beneficial.

Safety of Personal Information

For any individual motivated for mischief, it is easy to misuse private information such as your bank account number, credit card number, etc. You must keep this information safe and ensure that it does not fall into the wrong hands. Not only bank-related information but even giving out your full name and address in public could lead to unsavoury situations.

Getting Familiar With the Environment

Acclimatisation is an important process involved in travelling to new places and areas. Moving to the US is a big shift for international students and there will be a lot of new things to see and take in apart from the university and your studies. One of the best ways to acclimatise to a new environment and location is by travelling in and around the city you live in, talking to the local people and vendors, absorbing the lifestyle and culture and learning whatever you can about the city and town you live in. As a foreigner, there is There will be no harm in asking a lot of questions to find out information about the city you are in. However, exercise caution and safety before completely indulging yourself in exploring the city.

Respect of Privacy

As Indians, we are used to personal questions about friends and family and sometimes even from strangers. However, things are somewhat different in the USA. Americans are more private individuals and it is best to steer away from any questions about personal matters when talking to strangers. At the same time, it is better not to share your personal information as well.

While it is good to build relationships with friends, practice respecting others' private lives. Additionally, it is always better to seek consent first, when speaking to or when taking up someone's time for your personal or professional needs.

Respect for Local Culture

The local culture and demographic would certainly not be the same as what you are used to at home. You will find that society in the US is more diverse and generally more open-minded in many matters, which might take time to get used to. Plus, you may also find that there are a lot of local customs and traditions cherished by people not only in your university but also in your city. It is very important to give respect to these customs and beliefs, and you will get respect in return.


No matter how excited you might be about living in a foreign country, homesickness is bound to kick in sooner or later. Hence, it is important to stay in touch with your family and friends back home as well. It will give you a sense of familiarity and take the edge off the culture shock of moving to another country with a completely different social fabric.

With some common sense and a positive attitude, you can expect to bound to have a great experience while studying in the US. You will make a lot of friends and find people who are willing to help you succeed and share their knowledge and experience with you. However, as is the case with moving to any new place, it is best to proceed with caution in any new situation and do not hesitate to say no to situations you are being coerced into unless your course curriculum requires you to.


American food is noted for its variety and heartiness, with several regional delicacies to sample. However, the eating alternatives on campus may take some getting accustomed to for international students. Many institutions provide meal plans that include dining hall meals and/or dining dollars that may be spent at on-campus eateries or cafés.

Dining halls are a convenient choice, but the cuisine may not be to everyone's liking. It may be a good idea for international students to look into off-campus food options as well. Many university towns feature a wide range of budget restaurants, cafés and food trucks that serve anything from fast food to gourmet dining.

Not only that, international students working part-time while studying in the US also get free meals on many occasions on campus or off campus. 

Culture Shock

Culture shock is something that international students may or are bound to encounter when studying in an alienated land. Culture shock is a state of bewilderment and discomfort that occurs when a person gets immersed in a culture that is not their own. The USA is a varied country with many various cultural norms and practices depending on the area, therefore students should be aware of this and open to learning about different cultures.

Participating in cultural exchange programmes or student groups is one approach to combat culture shock. These may be an excellent opportunity to learn about various cultures and meet new people. It's also critical to look after your mental health and seek help if you are feeling overwhelmed or homesick.

Work and Internship Opportunities in USA

Among many things, nobody tells international students about the plethora of part-time work and internship opportunities available while studying in the USA. Many international students opt to work or intern while studying in the USA to get relevant job experience and complement their finances and living expenses. However, there are rigorous laws about working as an international student, which you should be aware of before you begin job seeking.

International students are usually permitted to work on campus for up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during breaks. Off-campus employment is also available but requires specific permission. Many colleges include career centres where students may obtain internships and part-time jobs, both on and off campus.

The US universities are equally welcoming of Indian students. Top US universities have a dedicated office for international students to ensure that international students are comfortable and find it easy to adjust to their new surroundings. These offices are often also kept in charge of arranging events to attract Indian students.

Write to us at for further doubts about studying in the US. Or, register and connect with highly experienced study abroad experts who can help you learn everything you need to know about studying in the US.

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What should I know about the US before studying in the US?

There are several aspects to studying in the US, however, the first steps should include researching the possible financial aid and scholarship opportunities available, the accommodation options available for Indian students, and other essentials. However, it is also necessary to familiarise yourself with the culture and traditions of the place where you will be spending the next 4-5 years of your life.

How can I make my study experience in US better?

Studying abroad brings about a plethora of opportunities and adventures that you can take up alone or with friends and family. However, one of the ways you can make your study experience in US better is by practising caution. It is necessary to venture out and learn more about the country you have travelled to for higher studies but not at the cost of your health and safety.

Is it necessary to create a network while studying in US?

Yes, one of the important aspects of studying in the USA is creating a useful and impactful network involving friends, alumni and professors who can help you achieve success academically and professionally. Moreover, as a foreigner, it is more than likely to not have a relative closeby to help you in your time of need. Therefore, creating a network while studying in the USA will only prove to be beneficial.

How can an international student survive in the USA?

As an international student, there are several steps you can take to ensure you are able to live and survive in the US. A basic rule of thumb when living in the US is to have a backup plan for when things go wrong. For instance, get a good health insurance plan, set up a bank account, get a local number set as soon as possible among other things.

Is it safe for Indian students to study in USA?

Among the top countries in the world, the US is one of the safer countries offering impeccable academic and professional opportunities. Moreover, with excellent international student support services, Indian students can also rely on the university and other student support measures to ensure they feel comfortable and safe while studying in a foreign land.

What do I do if I feel homesick while studying in USA?

It is inevitable to feel homesick while studying in USA, away from friends and family you grew up with. However, there are several different ways you can adopt to overcome homesickness to a large extent. As mentioned earlier, it is crucial for students to be connected with friends and family at home as well as at their university. We recommend not spending your time alone during such phases.

Will I need to learn new skills while studying in USA?

Apart from the academic skill requirements, international students must try and build a variety of lifestyle skills such as cooking, cleaning and maintaining yourself and your place of stay while studying in the US. While it is common to see people eat outside, and call professionals to deal with minute everyday challenges, your ability to tackle challenges on your own will be beneficial to you, professionally and personally.

Will I get time for social life while studying in USA?

One of the benefits of studying in the USA is that university students can choose to have a healthy balance between their acadeimc and social life. However, when you choose to study in the USA, it is important to learn how to balance out your academic and social life, without compromising on your future prospects.

Why study in the USA?

Excluding being the top study abroad destination in the world for several years consecutively, the US is home to several thousands of universities and colleges, all offering high-quality education, renowned the world over. This standard of education has led millions of people to find successful and lucrative career paths that have helped them double their return on investment.

How can I explore the US while completing my higher studies?

An amazing perk of studying abroad, especially if you are a traveller at heart, is the ability to explore a completely new land, country, culture, tradition and food. One of the ways that you can explore the US while completing your higher studies is by travelling during the holidays and study breaks and taking up part-time jobs while studying in the US to cover the costs of travelling and accommodation.

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