I still remember my first airport pick up experience as international student, it was crazy…I was very happy that I scheduled an airport pickup with International students office and Indian Students association… I would have been totally lost without it…Let me share the importance of arranging for an airport pickup and how to get that done from school or current students.
5 Reasons why you should arrange for Airport Pickup as International Student :
Unless you are received by your siblings or relatives at airport, it is critical for any international student entering US on F1 visa to arrange for airport pickup, here are few reasons.
- You are in a totally new country, it is important to have someone who understands the system to help you out.
- Not all schools have direct transportation from airport. You may have to take another train/ bus…it could be confusing and you could get lost
- You are carrying a lot of luggage, moving around with that kind of luggage to bus/ train from airport can be crazy…
- If you take cab, unless needed, you may end up paying a lot of money to cab…
- You will miss the opportunity to connect with few current students / university folks to help you out with initial procedures and guide you around…
How to arrange for transportation as International Students on F1 Visa ?
Every school works in a different way. There are few options as listed below. You may have to try out and figure out the best one that matches your school.
- International students office
- Student Organizations
- Current students at University
International Students Office :
In general, all schools that accept international students have an office for international students, which is run by the University to help international students. It may be called with variety of names like “International students office, Center for International students, International and Intercultural students office, etc..”. You can either search on the University website for that office information or ask your International Student Adviser/ DSO, who sends you the I20 to direct you to them. You can ask the International students office for courtesy pick-up from airport as you are new. Good number of the schools offer this airport pickup, but some may not. If they do not offer you a ride, they will at least help you with the best way to reach University and give you all directions. They can also connect you with other international student organizations.
Student Organizations :
Depending on the school and international students strength, there may be many student organizations like International Students association, Indian Students association, Chinese students association, Asian Students association, etc. A good number of these associations/ organizations offer courtesy airport pickup, if the school does not offer any airport pickup. You can either search for these organizations on the school website or just ask the International students office to help you connect with them. Once you connect with someone from any of these student organizations, you will work with them for airport pickup. You can email the student organization’s board members or even call them and ask them for options. They will help you out.
Current Students at University :
Most of the times, above two options should work out. But, if you are going to a school in small town with less international students presence, you may have to pursue this option. You can search for current students at University on the school website, ideally you can look up such information on the department pages. Also, you can ask your Academic advisor to help you out to network with few current students. You can also ask the DSO or Admissions counsellor to help you connect with current students. You can directly contact them seeking help for airport pickup. Most of the current students understand your situation and will offer to help you.
Read this article How to contact Current International students for help
Always be courteous when you interact with any of the students / university administration. Typically, airport pickup is not mandatory by program, it is a courtesy service done to help international students.
How was your Airport pickup and Transportation arranged ?
Any experiences to share ?