International Education Program at College of San Mateo - Getting Ready to Leave Your Country
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International Education Program
Getting Ready to Leave Your Country

Leaving home to start your education in the United States is a major life change. The more you prepare for leaving, the easier your adjustment will be. However, CSM will provide you with any assistance you may need once you arrive.

When you first arrive in the U.S., you will need to have some essential items for your first few weeks. Here is what we suggest you bring:
  • A small amount of cash in U.S. dollars to purchase items such as snacks, drinks, and transportation fare. When you arrive, we will give you information on how to open a bank account using cash, money orders, or travelers checks.
  • A variety of clothing that will be comfortable during the day when it may be hot but also warm clothing for cold nights. San Mateo has an average high temperature of 77° Fahrenheit/25° Celsius from April—September, and 63°Fahrenheit/17° Celsius from October—March with over 160 sunny days.
  • A few toiletries and personal hygiene items such as soap, contact lens solution, and deodorant for your first few days. Once you find out where you can purchase these items, you can buy more.
  • A few items from home that will make you feel good when you are homesick. Some students bring photos, cultural items, and music or DVDs.
Culture Shock
When moving to any new area you can expect a time of adjustment. Culture shock is defined as the personal disorientation a person may feel when experiencing an unfamiliar way of life due to immigration. There tend to be four phases to culture shock. It is important to remember that even when you might be feeling lonely or frustrated that this will pass into another phase of your experience!
  • Honeymoon: You’re very excited about your new experience.
  • Culture shock: You start to miss home and question why things are not like they are back home.
  • Adjustment: You begin to feel better and start appreciating your new environment.
  • Mastery: You appreciate your new home and may also excel in personal achievements.