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Is it easy for international students to live in the United States?

I have a cousin coming in from India to study in the United States. She is joining university but has already embarked on her research. She wants to know what life is like in the USA for international students, and I can advise her on the matter. Is there any suitable arrangement for students joining universities in USA from other countries? What does it involve to host an exchange student, since that is what I am bound to do anyway? Are there any laws governing issues like that?

Timothy Norman

in Study Abroad

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Tara Andrews on April 4, 2018

An international student coming to the USA has as much going for her as she has going against her. Here are some of the positives.

  • She is very likely to find that the university she enrolls in has much better facilities and learning resources than she has in India. The USA does invest a lot in education which will work to the advantage of your cousin. To this end, there are a lot of places in which she can stay, including hostels and boarding houses that will be full of students just like her.
  • Joining a university in the USA is also a pretty straightforward process. So long as she has the requisite qualifications, the fee or sponsorship, and the visa, the rest will not be complicated. There are all sorts of people employed just to make sure she fits in comfortably. So there are no problems there at all.
  • You don’t have to worry about any laws governing hosting an exchange student. Most of the rules will be your own, so long as your cousin has her bed, meals and sufficient time to study. Even if she opts to be hosted by someone else, she will benefit in the same way. In that case, she will probably be charged some boarding fee. This is a capitalist country, so if she feels she is being exploited, she can opt to move somewhere else. As I said earlier, many people at her university will guide her on where to live and the costs.

Here are the negatives.

  • Life in the USA is much more expensive than she is used to. She will soon realize that the cost of things in India is lower.
  • There is culture shock that awaits her. Much as you may not realize it, people in the USA express themselves much more freely than those in India. She will also get a different dress code and party culture. Since you can advise her, tell her about all these.
  • There are so many distractions that may derail her studies. She may want to live the American dream thus holding many jobs at the same time. This may work against her studies. So many students end up dropping out because of this. It is education that is bringing her to the US in the first place, so education she should get.

Emily Alexandera year ago

Your cousin is so lucky to have you hosting her when she comes. That will lessen the impact of culture shock on her. You will definitely be guiding her through what life is like in the USA. So she will handle it better. She will still have to pay you if you are hosting her because she would pay someone anyway. The only difference is that she will get the love and support from you that she cannot get from anyone else. The negative effect of this kind of camaraderie with an international student is that she might start feeling good and forget the studies that brought her here. That would be a serious mistake and then you would have to help her. So you will have to be tough. Either she studies, or she stays with another host, you must remind her that she is in America.


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