Student Life in the USA: Housing, Dining, and Campus Activities
Many of us have been captivated by American college dramas and the idea of being part of a fraternity, living in dorm rooms, and all the wild activities that come with it. Being in the USA can be just as surreal as what we see in the movies. However, it also presents its own set of challenges, such as culture shock. Even though we are more familiar with Western culture now than ever, it can still be a jarring experience. This blog post will explore the diverse student life experience for Indian students studying in the USA. We will cover housing options, dining choices, and exciting campus activities.
When planning to study in the USA, it’s essential to consider your accommodation in the USA. You have two main options for housing: on-campus or off-campus.
This type of housing involves residing in dormitories or residence halls owned and managed by the university. They are similar to hostels found in Indian universities. Typically located within or near the campus, they offer convenient access to classes, libraries, cafeterias, and other facilities. Living on-campus can also help you to make new friends and participate in various events and activities offered by the university. However, on-campus housing has a few drawbacks, such as sharing a room with one or two other students, which can affect your privacy and personal space. Additionally, you will have to follow specific guidelines and restrictions. Depending on the location and quality of accommodation, on-campus housing can also be more expensive than off-campus houses.
Living off-campus means residing in an apartment or house, not on the university grounds. This option provides greater freedom and flexibility to choose your living space, roommate, and location. You can also save money by renting a less expensive or shared apartment. However, some drawbacks exist, such as dealing with landlords, leases, utilities, maintenance, and security issues. Commuting to the university can also become costly. Additionally, you may have less interaction and immersion in the new culture, which could cause you to miss out on enjoyable experiences.
Before choosing the best option for yourself, you must consider your budget, preferences, personality and goals.
Another critical aspect of students, like in the USA, is dining. As an Indian, you are used to eating certain types of food that are not readily available or affordable in the US. You may also have some restrictions like vegetarianism, no beef meat or halal meats that will further limit your food choices.
Fortunately for you, many options for dining in the USA can suit your needs and tastes. Here are a few of them:
- Campus Dining
Many universities provide numerous campus dining options, including cafeterias, food courts, snack bars, vending machines, and convenience stores. These options offer a variety of foods to accommodate different diets, budgets, and cuisines. Additionally, students can purchase a meal plan that provides discounted rates for a set number of meals per week or semester.
- Off-campus dining
Suppose you’re interested in trying out different food options beyond campus. In that case, you’ll find many restaurants, cafes, delis, bakeries, and fast-food chains that offer various cuisines, from American favourites such as burgers and pizzas to ethnic dishes like Chinese, Indian, or Mexican. You can also consider using food delivery services such as Ubereats and Menulog.
- Home Cooking
This is one of the most cost-effective methods. Most supermarkets offer an Indian section where you can purchase all the necessary ingredients. By preparing meals in your own kitchen, you can save money and have greater control over the quality of the food you consume.
Pro Tip: In the USA, leaving a tip for your server is customary, typically equal to at least 15-20% of your total bill. While it is not explicitly stated, customers are generally expected to abide by this practice.
The third aspect of student life in the USA is campus activities. As an Indian student, you may find many opportunities to get involved in various clubs, organisations, events, and programs that can enrich your academic and social experience. Here are some of them:
- Academic clubs and organisations
Joining a club that aligns with your interests or major can be a great way to get involved on campus and explore your career options. Whether it’s the maths club, biology club, or business club, there are plenty of opportunities to participate in workshops, competitions, and guest lectures. These activities can help you develop your skills and provide a chance to network with other students and professionals.
- Cultural clubs and organisations
Joining a cultural student group allows you to celebrate and represent your heritage, ethnicity, or nationality. These groups organise various activities such as festivals, performances, and cultural shows. Some examples are the Indian Student Association, the Chinese Student Association, and the Hispanic Student Association. Through these clubs, you can connect with other students who share your interests or background, learn about different cultures, and showcase your talents.
- Sports clubs and organisations
Student groups gather to play and engage in physical activities centred around a particular sport. You can join a soccer, basketball, or yoga club and participate in games, tournaments, or classes. These clubs can be a great way to stay fit, have fun, and socialise with like-minded individuals.
- Service clubs and organisations
There are student groups that aim to do good for the community or society through volunteering or work. They organise activities for specific causes that can benefit the community or society. Examples of these groups include the Red Cross club, Habitat for Humanity club, and Amnesty International club. By joining these clubs, you can participate in fundraisers, campaigns, or projects that can help you develop your leadership skills, build your resume, and positively impact the world.
To learn more about campus activities at your university, you can visit its website, check its bulletin boards or attend its orientation or fair.
Embarking on a journey to study in the United States can be thrilling and fulfilling, but it can also present its fair share of challenges and stressors. To navigate this experience successfully, it is crucial to be prepared and flexible enough to manage any obstacles that may arise. Here are some helpful tips for studying in the US:
- Be prepared for a culture shock. The US is a diverse country with a variety of cultures. Be ready to learn about and adapt to American culture.
- Be prepared for a different educational system. The US educational system is different from many other countries. Be designed for different teaching methods, grading systems, and expectations.
- Be prepared to work hard. Studying in the US is demanding. Be ready to put in the time and effort to succeed.
- Be prepared to manage your time wisely. There will be a lot of demands on your time, from classes to extracurricular activities to social life. Be ready to manage your time wisely to succeed in all areas.
- Be prepared to ask for help when you need it. There are many resources available to help you succeed in the US. Feel free to ask for help when you need it.
- Be prepared to have fun! Studying in the US can be a lot of fun. Be sure to take advantage of all the opportunities available to you.
By following these tips, you can have a successful and memorable experience studying in the US.
We understand that studying abroad can be a stressful and chaotic experience. Our team of experts is here to help you make your American Dream a reality and alleviate some of that stress. Please click here to schedule a 1-1 counselling session with our experts and discuss all your pressing queries on studying in the US.