Pre-Arrival

Register for Atithya 2017

We urge all the students to fill the temporary housing form (Online registration closed now. Contact Ajith Nair–achuthah@mail.uc.edu–for further details), available on the website to allow ample time for the ISA to make suitable arrangements. Temporary housing will be available to new students for a maximum duration of ONE week. Please do understand that we need to accommodate as many students as possible and thus, we urge you to be proactive and start looking for permanent housing from you home country.

Please refrain from making last minute requests or changes. It should be understood that it is a voluntary service provided by members of ISA and the Indian community. Last minute requests may not be necessarily entertained, though we will do our best to best to accommodate all who seek temporary accommodation.

Paperwork

Make at least 4 photocopies of the required documents and place one copy in each suitcase. In addition, it is advisable to scan all the documents and store the soft copies in a cloud (such as Dropbox or Google Drive) shared with your parents/guardians. Always have your passport and your I-20 in your laptop bag/hand baggage. In addition, if possible, please tag along the other documents in your hand baggage as well. Some of the necessary documents include:

  1. Passport & VISA
  2. Indian Driving License/International Driving Permit (if you have one)
  3. Your signed I-20
  4. Air Ticket
  5. Original mark sheets and Degree Certificate*
  6. Attested mark sheets and Degree Certificate*
  7. Original transcripts
  8. Immunization form
  9. University specific letters like admit, aid, forms.
  10. SEVIS fee receipt
  11. GRE Original + Photocopies
  12. TOEFL Original + Photocopies

*If you do not have your mark sheets, make sure you at least have the Provisional degree (with an attested photocopy).

Things to do

Vaccination and Health

The ISSO Arrival package talks about mandatory medical procedures. It is of utmost importance for you to go through the same.  Please have your health forms sent with admit letter/ I-20 filled out. If you have not sent them, you can always produce them when you go for your medical tests at UC.

If you have any previous health issues – get blood, urine test reports, Tuberculin Test report, a dental checkup and a Chest X-ray unless you feel comfortable about paying through your teeth for getting one done here. You  are  also  advised  to  get  a  first  aid  kit  along. Remember to get any prescription medicines that you take regularly. Also  if  you  use  spectacles, get at least  two spare  sets as they are really  expensive  out here (around $150 – $200).

Pre-arrival check list

The University requires you to finish the pre-arrival check list as much as possible, prior to leaving for US. Please do so, since it is an important step and it should not be taken lightly. However, there are certain sections in the list that can only be filled when you reach Cincinnati.

Book a check-in date

You will be asked to book a check-in date by the University. This is an orientation by the International Students Services Organization (ISSO) to verify all your documents and confirm your authenticity before enrolling your records into the University database. Once you book your date, you will be given a schedule with a time slot. PLEASE take two print outs of the same and bring it to the check-in. You will be given a lot of options for check-in dates. It does not matter how early or late your check-in date is, but make sure you attend it. In addition to the check-in by the ISSO, there will be orientation sessions conducted by your specific college, department, etc. The ISA will also organize a orientation for all the new students. Try to attend all of these orientation sessions.

Paisa..Dabbu..Kaasu..Money!!!

How do I carry?

For payment of fees: Fees (tuition, health insurance and other campus fees) has to be paid semester-wise (a single check/DD, if choosing option 1). The two most advised modes of payments are as follows:

  1. Demand Draft/Dollar Draft/Check: All the terms convey the same meaning in the US. Check is the most preferred name. In India, Demand draft or dollar draft is used (However, the demand draft you usually are issued for any Indian transaction is completely different to the ones the Indian banks issue for international transactions). The demand draft, Indian banks (Foreign Exchange branch of that bank) issue will looks like a standard check (signed usually by two branch managers) with a dollar amount stated. This check will be affiliated to any bank’s branch based in the United States. For additional information, please refer to:

   https://www.uc.edu/bursar/paying_your_bill.html

 Tip: It is exactly the one of the kind you were issued by your bank to pay the $100  deposit. Please DO NOT reduce $100 from the fees you are paying. It is better to pay  the exact fees (the insurance/any other fee may increase by $20-$50 sometimes and  you may not be notified of the increase till the last minute). The $100 you have paid  will be refunded to you later.

  1. Peer Transfer: Info regarding this mode of payment is available here:

   https://www.uc.edu/bursar/paying_your_bill/intl_wires.html

   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6XWkAFhMlA

The first mode of payment is most preferred if you have taken a bank loan as you don’t want to be the guinea pig, especially if the bank guys are trying it for the first time.

For your living expenses: There are three modes of carrying money for your travel and to support yourself at Cincinnati. It is safe and preferred to carry money in all the three modes (sheer safety redundancy!).

  1. Cash: It is advisable NOT to carry more than $500 in cash (please carry at least $200 in cash) during your travel. Have various denominations, $1, $5 and $10 bills for sure (for example: 3x$100, 2x$50, 2x$20, 4x$10, 1x$5, 12x$1, 12x$0.25). You need cash to spend at the airports (if need be), to rent baggage trolleys (Yes, the airport trolleys are not free unlike India in most of the airports. It usually costs $3 – $5. You may not need them in Cincinnati airport as the check-in bags arrive at the far most exit after the security check of your bags are completed and you board your airport-pick up from there) and to tip ($3 at least) the airport pick-up/taxi driver that drops you off at your temporary or permanent housing location. 
  1. Traveler’s Check (TC): They are printed, fixed amount checks of certain denominations (usually $100 and $500). The foreign exchange branches issue these too. Every check has a unique number printed on it (store the numbers somewhere). The advantage of TC is that if you lose them, you call the issuing bank and report it. They will immediately cancel it and issue new ones to you. What if someone else presents my lost check to a bank?? Don’t worry! You will sign once in front of the issuing authority and sign at a second spot (do not sign them before) when you deposit these in your US bank account (in front of the teller). 
  1. FOREX Card: It is a widely accepted International card (the money is deposited in dollars). Ensure that you have your card activated and have the emergency contact number (of the bank) before you leave India. The only problem with this card is that you can use it only abroad and hence cannot test if the card works or is actually activated in India. Another drawback of these cards is that they have a daily limit on the withdrawal amount (about $ 400) and a charge of $2 – $4 may be levied on every transaction.

How much do I carry?

Managing your finances is an interesting part of one’s life away from home. Please remember that your initial expenses will be higher here than the expenses you may incur later on. Even if you are on an assistantship (or you find a part-time job immediately), it might take you some time before you receive your pay checks. For your living expenses, carry enough (at least $3000) to support yourself for at least 5-6 months. This amount will help you pay for your initial expenses like initial deposit while renting an apartment, first month’s rent, setting up your apartment, buying a phone connection, purchasing a laptop in case you choose to buy one here, winter clothing etc. If you are on a bank loan, carry you first semester fees by DD/check and for living, ask them to disburse money in all the three forms as mentioned above (carry about $500 in cash, $1000 in TC and $1500 in FOREX card).

After coming here, you can deposit your money in a suitable bank. For more information on banking, please refer to Opening a bank account.

What to leave back home

There are certain things that you need to keep safely at home along with your parents/guardians. These are:

  1. Details of your temporary housing, the host’s details. Feel free to provide the details about the executive members of the ISA if they have to contact them in case of any emergency.
  2. A copy of important documents (passport, I-20, transcripts, admission letter) and the shared Cloud folder containing the scanned copies of the same.
  3. The numbers of your traveler’s checks and demand draft.
  4. A few blank signed papers in case your parents/guardians need them.

Things to carry from India

Please see the section Check List  to see a suggested list of basic things you should bring from India. The list is only for a basic idea and neither exhaustive nor comprehensive.  There is an Indian grocery store very close to the campus. Please do not load your suitcases with spices and basic food items, since they are readily available here.

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