FAQ about coming to USA

How far is San Jose from San Francisco?

  San Jose if about 45 minutes drive from the San Francisco Airport (SFO)
2. Will airport pick-ups and temporary accomadation be arranged?
  Every year, the members of ISO-SJSU make a list of students coming to SJSU and arrange for airport pick-up and temporary accomadation. They are very good at it and have been doing it for a while. You need to write to the moderators and ask them about the arrangement. If I'm not wrong the list is made about a month before everyone starts coming in for Fall (sometime around July first week...late December for Spring semester)
3. What paperwork is necessary when I come there?

Get all the documents that you carried to the Visa Consulate. These are all I-20's, College Reports, Degree Certificate, Bank statements, GRE/TOEFL scores, any other important documents.

4. How is the immigration procedure?

When you pass through immigration you hand over your passport, I-20 and I-94(you fill this out on the plane) to the officer. He/she makes the necessary entries and might converse/ask questions generally. Remember that he/she still has the authority to deny you entry to the U.S so try and be polite and speak confidently. Fingerprinting is a new system that has been implemented. So don't be scared!

Once the papers are returned to you make sure you put them away securely. Do not loose the I-94 card (if not already stapled to your passport). Without this card, there is no proof that you are in the U.S. Everytime you leave the country you turn-in the I-94 and get a new one when you come back in.

5. How is the weather in San Jose?

Fall - Pleasant with high around 70F and low of about 50F.You might need a light jacket during the evenings.

Winter - Gets quite cold...around 40F and windy so make sure you are carrying a tick jacket/sweater to keep yourself warm. Some people may feel the need for woolen cap/gloves.

Spring - Pleasant again with occasional rains and sometimes sunny.

Summer - High around 95F and low 60F. Shorts, T-shirt and sun glasses recommended.

6. Can I stay vegetarian in this country?

100% possible though I don't recommend....haha. There are lot of Indian stores here where you can get almost anything you get in India. Likewise, Indian restaurants are also in abundance. Other cuisines would be Mexican, Thai, Itilian, Japanese, Chinese, whatever you ask. A decent meal will cost you around $5 in most places.

7. $5 for a meal...isn't that expensive?

Try not to convert it as Rs.250. Think of the conversion as 1:10 rather than 1:50. You'll be much better off this way. Sooner or later you will realize!.....been there....dont that!

8. So do I need to carry utensils?

Though completely optional, many people do get it when they come from India. If you feel the need then carry enough for 1 person. Everyone else would have done the same. You might want to bring some ready to eat stuff for the first couple of days so that you get used to things here.

9. What about accomadation?

If you live around the campus as most full-time students without relatives do, then most apartments will be walking distance or maybe biking distance. Rent ranges from $200 per head to $500 per head based on a 4 or more sharing basis. Depends on what kind of money you are willing to spend. Most apartments that students dwell are 2 bedroom with 1 or 2 bath....about 800-1000 sq.feet. Quite confortable I should say.


Okay I've landed and settled in.....what next?


Once you've settled, the first thing you should do is report to the International Programs and Services aka IPS. They will make a photocopy of all your documents and sign you up for the orientation. Missing the orientation is NOT recommended. You will learn important rules about the school and the country and in-spite of being boring, I strongly urge that you not miss it. From here on you'll be mostly on your own.

Next step is to get student health insuarance if you don't already have one. Get the SJSU ID done from the Student Services building. Next get a library card.

You now start looking for on-campus jobs. I would suggest that you get here about 3 weeks before school starts. This way you will have ample time to settle in and get used to the place. Also gives you and edge for hunting jobs. Since you have more time before school starts, you can also find like-minded roommates and get your own apartment.

11. Course Registration

Also courses can be registered through http://my.sjsu.edu using your SJSU ID and password. You should be open for enrollment and make sure you may the fees on time otherwise all courses are dropped without warning.

12. What is the best way to carry money?

The best way to get money is in the form of Demand Draft on your name. Get about $5000+other expenses. About $7000 should be a good amount. Also get about $300 in cash in small denominations.

First thing you do is open a bank account and deposit the amount. Remember that the full amount will be available to you only after 2 weeks. Before this period your account is not fully active and the entire amount will not be at your disposal.

13. Social Security Number

.These 9 digits are your life in USA. Almost everything you do needs these numbers. You cannot get a Social Security Number (SSN) until you have a job offer....because in order to get paid you need one. So when you find a job, the IPS will give you a letter for the SS office. You need to take this letter to the SS office and after about 10 working days, you will be have your SSN.

Make sure you memorize it and keep this number private and dont carry your SSN (card) in your wallet. You will soon realize the importance of the SSN.

14. Credit Rating

I've not seen any FAQ deal with this topic. I don't promise to do a good job but here is what it means in a nut-shell.

Your credit rating/score is an important factor in deciding whether a creditor should offer their services to you. These include credit cards, loans, getting a cell phone, other services. The score is indicative of how good you are at paying back the money you owe to others. The higher the score, the better. Ofcourse when you are new here then you don't have much to begin with but small mistakes can put you in big trouble.

After about 3 months of being here and getting a few paychecks from your workplace, apply for a credit card. American Express Blue for Students is a preferred choice for most. You can also apply for a student credit card from the Bank you have an account in. Start spending as much as possible on the card (I don't mean you over-do it...make sure you know how much you can afford) and pay the bills in full every month and if you cant then pay the minimum balance before the deadline. This is one sure way of building credit. Missed/late payments can result in poor credit rating.
One more way is to get as much utilities in your name as possible...such as electricity, cable tv/internet, water and sewage, etc and pay bills on time.

The bottomline is PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME and in full if possible.

15. Before you can ask me anymore questions....
  Make sure you read everything in listed in the F.A.Qs. Then do an extensive search on the SJSU webite. If you still can't find it then ask me. If I feel that your questions are answered on the other pages, then I will not respond to your email. Make sure you introduce yourself. Please DO NOT ask me about other universities or to read your SOP.
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  Last updated: 17 Dec, 2006