It is known that you can find a lot of things from South Asian countries that you can also buy in the US. But, there are some things which are readily available in South Asian countries that aren’t as commonly available (or present at all) in the US. Also, sadly, there is a limit to what we can bring to the US since we are only permitted to bring two carry on bags (usually a back pack and small trolley) and two checked suitcases while flying. Well, no need to worry. Keep reading for 9 helpful tips that one should definitely know if they are from South Asia and are planning on studying abroad in America!
1. Bring some of your festive and traditional clothing.
Apart from carrying your regular, daily clothing of your choice and personal style, bring a few traditional outfits and your festive attire along with you (and maybe some accessories too)! You will find when studying abroad that almost all universities have South Asian Associations where there are events and celebrations that are held! So, if you are feeling like you’re missing out on your favorite celebration in your country, most likely there’s going to be an event held by the association. Go ahead and get decked up!
2. Pack your favorite comfort snacks and munchies.
One word that everyone loves; MAGGI. Definitely bring some packets of Maggi noodles with you when studying abroad! Also, Lays Magic Masala or some Chai packets. Apart from that, bring whatever homemade and traditional snacks you enjoy which are only available in South Asia. However, keep in mind not to carry too many snacks, due to luggage limitations. There are special courier services like Garuda, where families can send food items if you want them to.
3. Travel with your favorite room décor items.
I highly recommend buying comforters, pillows, bed sheets, pillow covers, and those sorts of things when studying abroad in the US because there are awesome student deals in many stores over the course of summer break, before universities open. Or, you could check out this site for discounted student prices and not have to leave your computer! Still, you could get a couple of cute Bollywood pop art throw pillows or posters or some cultural, small décor items to help you feel at home. Whatever small knick knacks that make you feel warm and comforted!
4. Bring some of your spices if you wish!
Now a days you can purchase a lot of spices at regular super markets in the US and there are also Desi stores, but those stores may not be in your locality and also the prices are usually pretty high. It wouldn’t hurt to buy a few spices here and there if you are into cooking, but you don’t need to take up much suitcase room traveling with them.
5. Don’t forget about your Desi songs and movies.
I know these are types of media and probably not something you carry physically. Still, don’t forget your entertainment and groovy Desi beats; they are prized possessions! There are always external hard drives to load those babies in whenever you need a taste of home.
6. Make sure you get your vaccinations before traveling!
I know all universities will mention and recommend getting vaccinations, mainly for Meningitis, so why not have a reminder here too? GET THOSE INJECTIONS!
7. Obtain and organize all your medical documents before you arrive in America.
I have a major dental issue; I had started my treatment in India a couple of years prior to university. Oh my, did it do me good by carrying every single medical document and record with me to university. I got to continue my dental treatments at Temple School of Dentistry. So, if you have any conditions that still need to be treated or need to continue a medication, make sure you carry all the records because more likely than not your university will need them. Most universities also have a medical school to cure and solve any ailments. If not, there are always clinics around. Get your health insurance as well, and bring those documents, too!
8. Gather up the contact information for any friends or relatives you have in the US.
If you have any relatives or family friends in the States, keep their numbers and addresses in case of emergencies or if you happen to need a place to stay during university breaks.
9. Always remember where you came from, and always be yourself.
This is very important to remember, at least according to me. You don’t need to hide where you come from, be proud! No need to hesitate to correct other students if your name is pronounced incorrectly (unless you’re cool with having a nickname) people do love to try the right pronunciation if given the chance! Share stories and information about your country, the culture, languages, news and try to break stereotypes! Students are curious and interested to know what happens all over the world. It’s up to you how much you want to participate in university. Whether or not you want to join a Desi dance, singing club, particular association, or even Greek life, it is all up to you. Your comfort, your life.
I understand that there’s going to be a period of being homesick; it’s natural, being thousands of miles away from home. Seriously-don’t worry, there are many others like you who are coming from South Asia and many other countries! In time, you will be happy and comfortable, enjoying student life at university! Good luck!