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What NOT to Do When Studying Abroad in the US

What NOT to Do When Studying Abroad in the US main image

Preparing to study in the US? Before you depart, ready our list of the seven things to avoid if you want to survive your first year at most US universities. Whatever you do, DO NOT:

1. Crack open the beer.

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The minimum drinking age in the US is 21, as you probably know – and this applies to you even if, say, you’ve already been drinking in your home country for a couple of years... Don’t expect to consume a single drop of legal alcohol until your 21st birthday.

2. Spend months without speaking to your family because you’ve never figured out the time difference.

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Do yourself a favor and figure this one out ASAP to avoid a horrendous bout of home-sickness come November… Agree with your friends and family on ideal times during the day to set up a call.

3. Spend Thanksgiving alone.

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Don’t spend Thanksgiving alone with junk food and Netflix. You’re better than this. Tag along on a friend’s Thanksgiving weekend and experience for yourself what figures in at least one extended episode per American sitcom (Seinfeld, Friends, New Girl etc.). On the one hand you’ll get to discover your host country and culture, and on the other, you won’t feel completely alone when looking at endless posts of salivating meals on social media.

4. Fail to figure out currency conversions.

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Check out currency conversions online before you buy anything in the US to avoid ending up in your overdraft! Managing a strict student budget in a foreign currency can be tricky in the first few weeks, but you’ll soon get the hang of it…

5. Carry your passport on your person at all times (especially in your back pocket)…

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Avoid this classic rookie mistake by keeping your passport safely in your accommodation. Replacing it could prove difficult, expensive and even prevent you from travelling home to visit family.

6. Switch to American food-portion sizes.

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American portion sizes in restaurants are notoriously large – and this, according to a 2002 study, has partly led to the rise of obesity in the US. Don’t change your eating habits just because you can… (That is unless you actually want to look like Jigglypuff and contract heart disease before you reach the age of 25.)

7. Feel bad when you fail to pick up most pop culture references.

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…Who even is Macaulay Culkin? Don’t worry about it. Share your own culture, enjoy learning about your new one, and accept that some things are simply destined to remain a mystery.

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Samuel K, Huzefa S & 59 others saved this
Written by Mathilde Frot
I'm originally French but I grew up in Casablanca, Kuala Lumpur and Geneva. When I'm not writing for QS, you'll usually find me sipping espresso(s) with a good paperback.

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2 Comments

I really wish I could witness all of these if ever I would have the chance to study in the US. :D

interesting points!!