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How I came to decision of doing masters in the United States ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

Going to the United States for a Master’s Degree Link to heading

  1. A valid Passport. Depending on where you are, getting a passport might take some time, so it’s better to start the process as soon as possible.
  2. Decide which session you want to start your Master’s degree course. Most universities accept students during either Spring (January) or Fall(August) sessions. Based on when you are planning to start your Master’s session, you need to give your final GRE attempt at least six months before.
  3. Prepare for examinations
    1. GRE: The Graduate Record Examination or GRE is a requirement for most colleges in the United States. This examination tests language and Mathematical Aptitude. Registration for this examination can be done online.
    2. TOEFL/IELTS: TOEFL and IELTS examinations tests for basic proficiency in English. Most United States Universities also require these tests to ensure the students understand all the lectures and materials in the Master’s courses.
  4. Start taking GRE practice tests regularly.
  5. Based on the scores of practice tests, start shortlisting possible universities.
  6. Give your GRE.
  7. Give your TOEFL exam.
  8. Prepare all your financial documents to show financial eligibility.
  9. Apply to universities.
  10. Once you receive an admission letter with the I-20 document, apply for your US visa by filling out an I-20 form.
  11. Go to the United States for your Master’s degree

Challenges faced by an Indian Student pursuing a Master’s Degree in the United States Link to heading

Difference in Education systems Link to heading

  • It can take time to get accustomed to the US education system if you are from a country like India.
  • Rules regarding plagiarism are stringent.
  • The coursework is very rigorous and involves a lot of practical application, which can suddenly feel daunting.
  • You must maintain a certain GPA (>3.0) to main your F-1 student visa status. Therefore, it’s not enough to get a passing grade; instead, you must get a B or above in all your courses.
  • A same course can have entirely different coursework based on who is teaching it.

Cultural differences Link to heading

  • Cultural shock is one of the biggest hurdles when moving to the United States.
  • People from all around the world suddenly surround you.
  • Festivals are suddenly smaller and different.
  • Coming from a country like India, you get used to being around the family if worse comes to worst. You might not have that anymore in a foreign country.

Personal Finances Link to heading

  • You suddenly become responsible for your home finances, education fees, etc., which can be a big step.
  • Once anyone goes to the United States, you realize everything is expensive. You are spending dollars on everything and converting it back to your home currency. It takes a while to stop doing this.

Sudden increase in paperwork Link to heading

  • You might realize that now you are filing and maintaining a ton of documents (I-20s, I-94s, I-797As, I-140, etc.).
  • You are now responsible for your taxes.

Medical Assistance Link to heading

  • In countries like the United States, where medical assistance and medicine are expensive, it is crucial to have some health insurance.
  • Your school or employer can provide health insurance, or you can enroll yourself in a health insurance policy.
  • Medicines and checkups can be expensive. Getting off-the-shelf medicines from your home country is always advisable.
  • Not all medicines are available freely. A Doctor’s prescription is required for a lot of medications.

Returning home whenever you want is not possible anymore Link to heading

  • Since you are literally on the other side of the world, it’s not possible to rush back home, even in the case of emergencies.
  • Sometimes, visa restrictions can become a problem for returning home even when you can afford the ticket.
  • You suddenly realize that you are missing significant events like weddings since most people only go home once a year.

What does this all mean? Link to heading

Pursuing your Master’s degree in the United States can be very rewarding, but it comes with challenges. Before making this decision think hard about following down this path.
Also, it is often said that people do not return to their homeland once they leave for a foreign country for education which is not exactly right. People go to countries like the United States to pursue a better life which is completely subjective. Many people feel they have a better life back in their home country, which is why they go back to their home countries while others don’t.
Consider all of this before pursuing a Master’s in a foreign country.