“Your talent is a seed; cultivate it, and in no time, you will harvest successMatshona Dhliwayo, Zimbabwean philosopher

What I Know Now That I Wish I knew Before  

Studying abroad is a dream for many African and other international students. You want to study in the best universities in the world to prepare yourself for the employment world.

Getting a job is not a walk in the park. That’s why you may want to get yourself a diploma or a degree from a US institution, as they are most sought after by many employers.

Here are a few things to know before taking off to study abroad in the USA – from my own experience in Texas.

Have your passport and visa ready and up-to-date

I know it’s a must requirement to have a passport and visa ready and up-to-date if you want to travel abroad.

Therefore, once you get the news that there is a possibility of studying abroad, I would recommend you try to get the papers ready as soon as possible to avoid the last-minute rush.

Be ready to feel lonely or homesick; it all passes with time.

I was very eager to get out of my home country and board a plane – the first time. But what I didn’t know is that the very first weeks would make me feel all alone, and I felt homesick. My friends and family members were not here with me anymore.

I was able to fight loneliness by keeping myself busy or distracted all the time. I did this by meeting and engaging with new people, attending tours, and shopping sprees once in a while.

You will have to buy some essentials, and it can be quite expensive

There is no way you can pack everything and carry it with you when moving abroad. Luckily for me, I had close relatives who helped me get some essentials like beddings (pillows and bedsheets), towels, and some heavy clothing – it was cold the first few months. 

Are you planning to move abroad and study there? Then, start by budgeting for your accommodation and living expenses.

Culture shock is a real thing – you have to deal with it

Once you board that plane, be ready for a new and different culture altogether. It’s real, and you need to be patient to adapt to it.

First, I felt like the odd one in a country where I couldn’t understand their English accent, and they also didn’t hear most of my words when talking.

Secondly, you can’t survive in the US without a car. The first few months, I had to use my new-made friends with cars to maneuver about, like when going to the store or outings. Later on, I got myself a car through my relative’s help.

You can work part-time as you study

Living abroad is quite expensive, especially when you’re starting. So, if you get a chance to work while studying, take it to meet some expenses like WIFI installation, and more.

Students are allowed to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week. If you went to the state with a student visa, you would only be allowed to work on campus.


Overall, my study and living abroad was a fantastic experience. I wish I had known some of the above things, but I still survived. I hope this article will prepare you for a new environment for those planning to study abroad. I would urge you to be original, and everything will be okay with time.

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