Finally, after half a year of preparations, I’ve arrived in San Francisco to start my studies at Hult International Business School. This is what I’ve been up to; setting up a bank account, signing the lease, move-in, and much more.
The past week has truly been an exciting start to my life as an international student in the United States. There’s a lot to think of and remember to do when arriving. For the first six days I lived in a hotel so that I had time enough to get the most urgent matters out of the way before moving into an apartment and starting my studies. Four or five days is really the minimum of what you need to have time enough to set up bank accounts, view your apartment, sign the lease, set up your cell-subscription, buying furniture, and moving in.
On my first day in the US, after arriving and checking into a hotel the night before, I made it a priority to visit the apartment building I’ve reserved an apartment in. If you haven’t gone on a tour of your building before you arrive for your studies, you should also make this a priority, so that you can check out the commute and get to know if you’re comfortable with the area and your surroundings. I chose to reserve an apartment quite far away from the city to save on rent, but the BART-train station is only literally two minutes away, which makes my commute simple and easy. Remember to ask about how to pay (usually by personal or cashiers check), and about what you need with regards to renters insurance.
Find a bank that suits you and set up a bank account. I chose Chase as my bank, mainly because they gave a really good first impression with their fancy spaceship-like bank building on Union Square and excellent service. I made an appointment with the bank before hand, but some banks will accept walk-ins. Remember to bring your passport and I-20. They might ask you for your visa. What they really mean is the I-20, so don’t be fooled.
Buying furniture is also important. I went to Ikea to buy all of my furniture, and I ordered home delivery for the day I moved in. Note that you cannot have anything other than furniture delivered to your home. That means they wont deliver things like glasses, lamps, decorations, paintings, photos or kitchen-accessories. Home delivery at IKEA is only $59.
Day 4, 5 and 6 – Getting to know the city
San Francisco is a really walkable city, in great difference to many other big cities in the US. I would recommend walking along the Embarcadero, which is the promenade walk between the Financial District (it goes further south too, but the Ferry Building will be a natural starting point) and Fisherman’s Wharf. Be sure to visit Pier 39 with it’s famous Sea Lions. You could also walk the whole way to the Golden Gate Bridge from the Embarcadero. In that case, you should prepare to spend several hours walking. If you do, you shouldn’t miss the Palace of Fine Arts.
Setting up your phone-subscription should be a priority. I had been checking out several carriers over the past few days, including Sprint and Verizon, but none of their networks worked with my iPhone 6, probably because they’re not on the GSM network. I went for the T-Mobile prepaid plan of $50/month, which is quite expensive for only 2Gb of data, but it also included unlimited international texting which suits me well. If you need a new phone and want a regular plan (not a prepaid), expect to pay a high deposit of several hundred dollars.
As you can understand, the first days are stressful and exciting, but it’s also great to get to know how things work over here. Everything from going to the grocery store for the first time to actually passing by the campus on Sansome Street has been a positive and giving experience. Now I can’t wait to arriving on campus tomorrow and officially start my Hult-journey.