Moving to the U.S. to study English is exciting, but it can also be a little scary! Follow these suggestions for the 5 things you should do in your first week as an international student at CISL San Diego or San Francisco and you will feel adjusted and comfortable in your new home in less than a week.
5 Things You Should Do in Your First Week as an International Student
#1: Learn the transportation system
Make it easy to see your new city! Learn your transportation options immediately. Here are some suggestions:
- Get your transportation passes. Check out our Guide to Transportation for San Francisco and San Diego Students for information on city buses, the metro, and trains.
- Buy a bicycle (if you want to own a bike). Check out Craigslist to buy a used bicycle for a good price. (As always with Craigslist, be sure to meet the person in a public location, like a coffee shop, to make your purchase.)
- Download apps for the ride-share services in your area (like the apps Uber and Lyft) so that you can get a ride for a good price.
- If you’re in SD, download FRED (The Free Ride). You can get a free ride to anywhere Downtown!
- If you are interested in getting your driver’s license, visit the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for information on how to take the test: the process is quite simple in California, but you will need to show proof of address (like an electricity bill). This may take some time for you to set up.
#2: Get your phone card
Get connected to family and friends back home! Pre-paid SIM cards can be purchased from many locations and are very affordable. They can be purchased from a local convenient store (such as 7-11) or at a mobile phone carrier such as T-Mobile or AT&T.
#3: Find your grocery shopping locations
Where will you do all of your shopping? When you are exploring your new neighborhood, try to locate all of the area’s grocery stores. Usually you will be close to a large grocery store (such as Von’s, Ralph’s or Safeway), but there will probably also be small stores close to you that have many of the items you need. In addition, see if your neighborhood has a farmer’s market: usually these are once per week on a scheduled day.
- Read our Guide to Grocery Shopping for tips on how to buy groceries in the U.S.
- Use our San Francisco Farmer’s Market article to locate a farmer’s market in your area
#4: Find out where you will exercise
The quickest way to feel like you are at home is to have a routine: make sure your routine includes staying healthy! Find a gym, yoga studio, or other exercise studio in your area and join it so that you can make friends and stay healthy. Check out our International Student Guide to Exercising in the U.S. for some tips and information on U.S. gyms.
#5: Enjoy some of the local restaurants
The best part about living in a new country is of course the food! Explore your neighborhood and try a few restaurants and cafes that are close to you. See which ones are open late (in case you get a late-night craving for something delicious). Don’t be afraid to talk to the employees: people are very friendly in the U.S.! Chances are, the employees will love to give you some tips for things to do and see in your new neighborhood.
- Our Coffee Shops in San Francisco and Coffee Shops in Little Italy, San Diego guides are a great start to finding the best cafes in SD and SF.
- Make sure your first weekend in the U.S. includes an American tradition: brunch! Learn all about brunch with our article, International Student Experience: American Brunch.