Things International Students Bring To a New Country

By Leila Ataeva; Skokie, Illinois
Moving to a new country is never a easy task Moving is not an easy process, especially when it comes to moving to a new country. When people move to a new country, they often feel like they want to take their whole house, all of their family, friends, and pets along with them. That certainly would be nice, but let’s take a look at what is actually possible. The amount of things you are allowed to take with you is limited by your airline (I’m kidding, but it’s still true).

I’ve spoken to many students at my school and made a list of all the interesting things they brought when they became international students in a new country.

Let me share my experience with you first. One year ago I became a CSI student. It was a winter. I brought with me shoes – I brought low-heeled shoes for spring and even sandals for summer. I planned for the summer season for 6 months before it came! My friends told me I was crazy, I could find shoes in America, but with my small feet (size 5.5, sometimes even 5) it’s a big problem. Even in Moscow it was tough to find something for me. To be precise, I brought 2 pairs of winter boots, 2 pairs low-heeled shoes for spring and 3 pairs sandals for summer.

Mohammad Osama Mohammad Al Soub, SMP: “When I moved to America it was summer, so I took only summer clothes in hopes that I could buy other stuff here. I was right.”

Supriya Pandurang Naik, SBA: “My most prized possession, as I would like to call it, is my extensive collection of stationery and arts and crafts materials. I have always been a craft nerd and working with my hands to create things gives me immense satisfaction. From my very faint recollection, I believe I have materials as old as me (or maybe even older, because they were my Grandmother’s), that I have collected and stored over the years and there was no way I was parting with any of it. So I packed up large brown boxes with everything and sealed it shut (I was worried my older sister would steal them so I had to tape the boxes shut) before flying out of India. And then my genius mind (as I like to think of it) came up with the brilliant idea of packing everything that I possibly owned in postal boxes that my lovely family could mail me once I was ‘partly’ (one can never completely settle here, at least not in your head) settled here, in the US.”

Ahmet Tachmuradov, BCP: “I used to travel before I moved to America. Everytime I went somewhere I bought magnets as a memory from the places I had visited. I decided to bring them with me to remind myself of how many interesting trips I’ve taken in the past and how many are waiting for me in the future. I also brought my books. Favorite ones. I knew I could find them here, but I decided my favorite authors with my favorite heroes should travel with me.”

Shakhnoza Raimjonova, BCP: “I decided to bring here our national flag because it reminds me of our motherland, my childhood, family and my history. Besides that, my husband asked me to bring national sweets and bread. Many Uzbek students or people miss the traditional food we’ve been accustomed to. Aside from the national and traditional things, you can find just about everything pretty easily here.”

This is not even the full list of things students usually take with them when they move. I’m sure you all have little treasures you always take with you. Please do not hesitate to share with us. Let’s see maybe you can find someone who has exactly the same things but from different countries.

Read More

How to Find Your Home in a Different Country?
What Does It Mean To Be An International Student?
Chasing the American Dream

Do Not Let Anyone Steal Your Holidays

By Leila Ataeva; Skokie, Illinois
Enjoy your holidays in US International students, are you excited about the upcoming holidays? We certainly hope so! The semester is coming to a close with all your final exams and projects coming to an end. With the Winter Break starting, you will now have some extra time to do something that you normally did not have the time to do. Of course, you’d rather be listening to the song “Driving Home For Christmas” while going to celebrate with your family, instead of staying in the US during the holidays and feeling homesick. You have to admit that time and money are often limited. As an international student, I can understand being far away from family and close friends can be difficult especially at this time of the year. Nevertheless, it may be a perfect opportunity for you to have a new experience, find new friends, and create new memories related to the winter holidays.

For those of you who have decided to stay in the United States, I put together some ideas on how you can feel the excitement of this holiday season.

#1 Get Together With Other Students

There are always students who can’t go home like you, so use this opportunity to make new friends. A good idea is to plan a Holiday potluck. Do you remember the International Food Festival last month at CSI? You’ll be surrounded by other international students like you, everyone brings their favorite dish from home, shares their culture as well as stories about being an international student. You can try a variety of foods and be inspired or even inspire someone new. Let’s get together and have fun!

#2 Take a Holiday Trip

I am pretty sure you have lots of places you dreamed about on your “must visit” list. This upcoming break is the perfect time for you to do that. Lots of cities in the US are ready for Christmas and the New Year’s Eve events. You will find special events, Christmas trains, and magical Christmas markets almost everywhere you go. I guarantee it will be impossible not to feel the excitement of the holiday season.

Here are some suggestions for you to consider (if you have your own list, I will be glad to look at and share with other students):

– New York City, NY. Take your ice skates and camera. There is a gigantic Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and of course, ice skating in Central Park.

– Santa Claus, IN. Each year this tiny town receives thousands of letters written to Santa. A group of local elves ensure each kid gets a reply (I’m kidding). But if you want to feel the old-time Christmas spirit, you have to visit the Santa Claus Museum and Village, get lost reading letters to Santa from the 1930s. You can sit at antique school desks, write a letter to Santa, and make a run through the gift shops on your way back.

– San Francisco, CA. It will be a lot of fun to participate in The Great Dickens Fair and the Victorian Holiday Party. You will travel back to the 1800s with “an elaborate party with hundreds of costumed players performing and interacting with patrons in over 120,000 square feet of theatrically-lit music halls, pubs, dance floors, and Christmas shops”.

– Chicago, IL. Chicago is a magical place to spend your holidays. Here you can find Christkindlmarket, ZooLights, see The Nutcracker, listen to Caroling at Cloud Gate and just enjoy the Skyline near the beach (while the weather is not so cold).

– Las Vegas, NV. Vegas has the most dynamic and vibrant places anyone can ever imagine visiting, and moreover the shows go on all year long. New Year’s Eve celebrations are absolutely magical in Las Vegas – the City of Lights!

Important notification: If you would like to travel outside of the US, do not forget to meet you Student Affairs Adviser.

#3 Learn a new kind of sport

When winter comes to the city there are lots of sports to enjoy, especially in the snow. With fun activities like skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating and snow tubing, you will absolutely have a fun time while exercising. And by the way, nobody prohibits snowball fights! Take your friends and start a playful snowball “fight”. Afterwards, warm up with a nice cup of hot chocolate and cookies to end your day right.

#4 Books Vs. Movies

Either option is great. Reading books is always a great idea. Open your list of books you’ve been planning to read and start your journey. For those who prefer watching movies – there are many new movies out in theaters. Grab some popcorn and candy and get started watching your favorite movies. Invite your friends, make a movie night at home with popcorn, pizza, and soda. Have fun!

#5 Stay Positive!

Even if your family and close friends are far away, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the holiday season. Write down your New Year resolutions, write letters, spend time volunteering, take photographs and create an album to share online, there are many ways to stay positive and enjoy the holiday season.

To be honest, I still don’t have any plans for this holiday. This is my first time celebrating Christmas and New Year away from my family. But thanks to CSI I found a lot of new friends. I will definitely plan to host a Christmas family-style dinner with my new Family!

Happy Holidays!

How to Find Your Home in a Different Country?

By Leila Ataeva; Skokie, Illinois

Find your home in different country

For most people, in particular international students, being away from home can be very painful and emotional.

You start missing just about everything: your friends, your room, and the food, especially the food! Even though America and other countries have different places to remind you of your culture and your home country, it’s still not enough to fully satisfy someone who is homesick. At CSI, we have a lot of students who come to study from far away. I spoke with one of our students from Nigeria and got some interesting facts about how he is adapting to the new culture, language, and food.

Leila: Do you like the weather here? I bet it’s cold for you because you came from a really warm country. How do you “fight” with the cold weather here?

Sean: Yeah, I would have to say, it’s cold for me, but I used to live in a colder region before. That was Ukraine. I stayed in Ukraine for about 5 years. Transitioning here wasn’t as difficult as my counterparts from tropical regions. My slogan is “If winter is coming – be prepared”.

Leila: Did you like studying in the Ukraine? Since it was your first experience being an international student, what was your impression?

Sean: Hmm, it was difficult adapting at first, but I joined local communities that I could relate with various African groups so it got easier with time. The weird thing about it was trying the local foods that I wasn’t used to.

Leila: How did you get used to Ukrainian food?

Sean: Yeah, I gradually got used to Ukrainian food, but I was saved by meeting my wife, who eventually cooked for me and she showed me how to order the African food I was craving. It was fun because I totally lost any hope of making a decent African meal until I met her. We cooked together.

Leila: After graduation, why did you come to America?

Sean: I came to the United States because of a lot of factors. Firstly, my parents and other siblings reside here. Secondly, my wife and I are doctors and we want to practice in the United States. That’s why I chose Customer Service Specialist program, in which I’m able to learn more about providing good customer service in the classroom as well as an externship.

A plate of amala served with ewedu,gbegiri, titus fish and pieces of beef
A plate of amala served with ewedu,gbegiri, titus fish and pieces of beef
Leila: Even in the US, you live far from your family. What about the food? Did you find food or restaurants where you like to go around here?

Sean: Oh yeah, I live far from my family, but Chicago has a lot of African restaurants. I am also very lucky, my sister lives nearby, so I have access to my favorite meals anytime.

Leila: What products from home do you miss the most?

Sean: Isapa. It’s a vegetable from my city, but even the African shops do not have it here. I miss it.

Leila: What suggestions do you have for international students who are far from home?

Sean: I suggest they make inquiries and join international student groups. They could learn a lot from them. Also, search online for useful hacks to “survive” in the country. (laughing)

Being an international student in the United States myself, I know how difficult it is to “adapt” to the local culture. BUT, as my friend Sean said: “…there are a lot of communities”. You can find your community here, meet your countrymen, share your experience and be “at home” in a different country. I do agree with him, but I think as long as you became an international student, you have a great opportunity to try different things you haven’t done before: learn a new language, meet new people and of course, try new types of cuisine.

Food is essential to life, therefore, make it good!

Related Readings

What Does It Mean To Be An International Student?
International Students Celebrate Thanksgiving

Helping Uzbek Students Success in Chicago

By Shakhnoza Raimjonova; Skokie, Illinois

Universities and colleges in Chicago welcome international students for attainment and pursuing the education of their dream. The international student community provides them with the supporting systems and give new students a lift to start their new life. Our hectic and developing life continues to present them with more than they expect. Now, successful international community centers are developing new programs to help new visitors from their countries. These programs provide international students with the opportunity of exchanging ideas, as well as sharing experiences. Uzbek students utilize these resources to support their compatriots with more information about education opportunities in Chicago.

Recently I sat down with Eldor Ashurov, member of the Uzbek American Association of Chicago, and Shakhnoza Djurakulova, guest speaker of the association and Project Manager of Discover Financial Service, to learn their success stories and their ideas of helping Uzbek students in Chicago to success.

Shakhnoza: How does the Association contribute to the improvement of students’ life and education process?

Uzbek Americna Association of Chicago
Uzbek American Association of Chicago
Eldor Ashurov: Our Uzbek American Association in Chicago is open for everybody at the present time. We usually organize projects for everyone, but you know, there are many students who come recently and have many questions on how to adapt for American life, how to take part in some educational projects or alter their study in our projects. We present them such an opportunity that they are able to connect others have enough experience and achievements in this society. Naturally, in this circumstance, they can obtain necessary information from not only experienced Uzbeks, but people who are from Central Asia. Because members of other nations are interested in participation in our events, too. I can say without any doubt, this serves to provide new students with beneficial information. Today, we are carrying out our first special project for students and it is named “Student Success Workshop”.

Shakhnoza Djurakulova, is one of the successful Uzbek students who have completed her master degree here. She is able to work in US because of the high quality education she received here and she considers herself as the one of the happiest and luckiest Uzbek who has achieved her American dreams. “Student Success Workshop” is the chance for her to share her knowledge and exchange ideas with others.

Shakhnoza: Based on your experience, what challenges and possibilities Uzbek students have in Chicago? How are they able to overcome challenges, to utilize their possibilities during their education here?

Shakhnoza Djurakulova at Student Success Workshop
Shakhnoza Djurakulova at Student Success Workshop hosted by the Uzbek American Association of Chicago
Shakhnoza Djurakulova: I came here in 2008 to pursue my Master’s degree in Financial Economics at Illinois State University with my husband and there were not many Uzbeks who know the education system of this country. Fortunately, nowadays, the number of active students and experienced Uzbek professionals is increasing year by year. To my perspective, it is so important to share our experience with new students, because if you pay attention to other developed communities and their fellows, students are giving lift to each other. For instance, if somebody find appropriate job for their career, education, they must not stop at this point, they should share this process how they achieve in their life with others. Usually, when some Uzbek students write to me on LinkedIn I try to answers for their questions, give advises to them with pleasure. Because somebody may get success in his or her career because of your support. Today, I made a presentation about how to get a job in the financial services industry. I strongly believe that, this Workshop will be helpful to new Uzbek students to have good career.

The United States has become one of the largest destination for international students from Central Asia; Uzbek student population is among the top of them. Because they know what benefits, possibilities will have in their future career after graduation. At the present time, the number of international students is increasing year by year and it shows that about 30 percent of overall growth of foreign students from our region.

Related Readings

Kyrgyz Community in Chicago
What Does It Mean To Be An International Student?
Chasing the American Dream

International Students Celebrate Thanksgiving

By Leila Ataeva; Skokie, Illinois

CSI Student Abdul Shaik
CSI Student Abdul Shaik at International Education Week 2017
Since you became an international student you might have a lot of questions, and one of them might be about Thanksgiving Day. Of course, you are very thankful for having a long weekend from school, university, or college, but at the same time you wonder why people celebrate such a holiday in the United States. Let me help with that.

In 1861, Abraham Lincoln approved an official Thanksgiving Day in late November. But in 1930, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to move the holiday a few days earlier. After a national discontent, the decision to celebrate holiday was made, and since then Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday of November.

But you might think “I’m not American, I’m an international student in the United States, what should I do”? One of our students asked himself that very question when he just started studying abroad.

Abdul Shaik is from India. He studied in China and now lives in the United States. Do you think he has a unique take on Thanksgiving? I do.

Dear friends, please welcome Abdul Shaik (applause). I got a chance to talk to him and asked him to share with me his “Thanksgiving experience”. Look what I got.

“Hi, friends. My name is Abdul Shaik. I’m a 28 years old guy from India. I have been an international student since 2007. I got my Bachelors in Medicine from China and Masters from the United States. Now I’m taking Administrative Assistant Professional Program at CSI. Living and studying in such different countries like India, China, and the United States, I noticed that people are always thankful for something, but they do it in different ways”.

“When I first went to China straight after high school in India, I didn’t know anything about Chinese languages or about the culture.”

Leila: I bet it was difficult for him to used to that.

“While I was studying in medical school there, I got the chance to learn language and culture, which was totally different from India. I enjoyed my life there and learned to be more kind and helpful in the society. I have celebrated many festivals there, but I liked “Moon Cake” festival the most”.

Chinese Moon Cake
Chinese Moon Cake
Leila: I was interested in that festival, and this is what I found out about it: “…it is the second most important festival in China after the Chinese New Year. To the Chinese, the festival means family reunion and peace, what is similar to Thanksgiving Day in America. The “Mid-Autumn” festival (It’s a second name of “Moon cake” festival) has history of over 3,000 years. It was originated from the custom of worshiping the moon during the Shang Dynasty (c.1600–1046 BC). Mid-Autumn was first celebrated as a festival during the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127). Like the emperors, ancient people believed worshipping the moon and eating together round a table would bring them good luck and happiness. Nowadays, moon cakes are the must-eat Mid-Autumn food in China. They are a kind of traditional Chinese pastry. Chinese people see in the roundness of moon cakes a symbol of reunion and happiness”.

“I came to America in the year of 2013 around Thanksgiving festival time and got a chance to celebrate Thanksgiving with my American relatives here. They explained me about this festival while they were hosting a family dinner. That year I tried turkey for the first time and I liked it. I also realized, this holiday gives us a chance for family and friends to get together and share happiness and joy. I love being in America because I got an opportunity to make friends from many different countries, learn about new culture, and also learn how to cook turkey (laughing)”.

Thanksgiving Turkey
Thanksgiving! One of my favorite holiday in USA
“My plan for this upcoming Thanksgiving is to have a gathering at my place in Chicago and cook turkey with Indian spices and do a potluck dinner with close friends. I have lived abroad more than 10 years and tried different cuisines, but I still love our Indian food and miss it so much, that’s why each dish – American turkey or Chinese rice – I add Indian spices”.

“I also suggest for myself and my friends for this Thanksgiving to be thankful for everything around you and wish your friends, colleagues, and even a stranger when you grab a coffee, a Happy Thanksgiving Day!

If you are far from your home and can’t celebrate Thanksgiving Day with your family, don’t worry. Follow Abdul’s plan: meet your friends, cook some food (it even could be a turkey. Who knows, maybe you’re hiding your cooking talent?), go to see Thanksgiving parade, be thankful and have fun.

Related Readings

What Does It Mean To Be An International Student?
The America that International Students Can’t Learn from Movies

What Does It Mean To Be An International Student?

By Leila Ataeva; Skokie, Illinois

International Students If you get a chance to study abroad, what will you do? Most perspective students will reply: “I can’t believe it, I could be an international student in a country I only dreamed about. Let’s do it!”

Abroad education is always attractive to students. There are new people, a new culture, new foods, and a new life as well. But at the same time there are new challenges for students to face in a new country. That’s why it’s very important for schools to support international students and make them feel more comfortable as they adapt to their new life in the United States. Computer Systems Institute always create some activities for them. The most recent event was on Halloween. We had a promotion where the main idea was taking a picture with any pumpkin, posting to any social media with #HALLOWEENCSI and getting a treat at school. During the International Education Week (November 13-17, 2017) we are going to have some events which help students have fun by sharing traditional foods, stories and the proud heritage of their home country. Below you can find a schedule for each event we are having next week. Don’t hesitate to join us!

Show Your Country Pride!
November 13, 14, and 19
Show your country pride by dressing in traditional clothes from your country, your country’s sports team or country flag.

Share Your Culture through Food
November 15, 16, and 18
Student Potluck – Bring and share traditional foods from your country to share with your classmates.

Where Are You From?
November 13 – 19
Stop at the Front Desk or Student Affairs to get a sticker to mark your home country on our campus world map.

While we are preparing for events, I got a chance to catch some students and ask them one question: “As an international student what are you most thankful about international education?” These are their words:

“Being a student overseas, or international education in general, opens so many doors and grants us so many opportunities (such as learning a new language, etc.), that perhaps everyone should explore study abroad programs and maybe even get enrolled into one. In a nutshell, I’m thankful for the many opportunities that international education provides us with”. – Diana Shayakhmetova, Kazakhstan

“I’m thankful for exposure and various opportunities”. – Cornelius Oluwaseun, Amondi, Nigeria

“As an international student, I really appreciate the level and quality of the education I receive. The diverse classrooms gives an opportunity to interact and learn different culture. International students gets an equal opportunity to attain American level of education, regardless of their country of origin. American education is widely accepted in most of the countries. As an international student, I also get a chance to work in the field of study and to apply the class room education and build a career.
Adding an international level of experience to my resume will also help me when I go back to my home country. Applying the business concept that I learn practically and the classroom education will escalate my career. It also helps to build an international network, for future endeavor/business”.
– Jaymin Patel, India

“Studying in the United States has been an extraordinary opportunity to improve my English and to learn more about the world and find a different points of view”. – Guilherme Andrade Lage, Brazil.

“I’m most thankful as a CSI International students for the opportunity to live and continue studying abroad. It has given me privilege of broadening my horizons and continue to explore life in another continent”. – Osatohanmwen Evbu Atohengbe, Nigeria.

Doing something you’ve never done before is always difficult. But when you have friends (new international friends) new things are going to be more fun and interesting. Keep learning and doing what you like to do and soon you’ll succeed. Happy International Education Week!

Related Readings

International Students Celebrate Thanksgiving
The Value of Diversity at International Schools
Why the Midwest Is a Great Place for International Students
The America that International Students Can’t Learn from Movies

Chasing the American Dream

By Leila Ataeva; Skokie, Illinois
Chasing the American Dream

Every person who comes to America is obsessed with a dream, the American Dream. International students are not exceptions.

The expression “American Dream” was created by James Truslow Adams (1878-1949), a U.S. writer and popular historian. In his book The Epic of America, he explained the American Dream as “that dream of land which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement”. In other words, you have the freedom to pursue success in a way meaningful to you.

Every day I see a lot of international students, but few days ago one in particular caught my attention. I stopped and ask him one question: “Hi! How are you doing today?” I was shocked with his answer which inspired me to write this blog. His name is Dharmik, and here’s what happened next.

Leila: Hi, Dharmik! How are you doing today?

Dharmik: I’m doing great. Thank you. How about you?

Leila: I’m pretty well. Working on my next blog. By the way, maybe you can tell me about 5 things you do every day.

Dharmik: Eat, sleep, work on projects, learn something new, and practice for marathons.

Leila: Stop, you said marathons? What kind of marathon?

Dharmik: Yes. I’m a professional marathoner. I have completed more than 15 in 2 years, and also I’m planning to finish Ironman next year.

Leila: I’m impressed about your physical training. Look at these muscles (I actually touched his muscles and we started laughing). Ok, back to reality. How did you come to Computer Systems Institute?

Dharmik: I heard from one of my friends who’s studying at the CSI’s downtown campus.

Leila: Great, we are happy to see students who joined us through recommendations. Which program do you take, and do you think program you take at CSI will help you in your future?

Dharmik: I have heard that CSI offers business programs for international students. I was studying at Roosevelt University but due to the bad financial condition, I had to transfer to CSI because it’s affordable. I have chosen Small Business Administrator because I’m also thinking about creating my own company which will provide services for websites and applications development. So this course will help me out to grow my company and in the better way.

Leila: Then you chose the right way and school for that. I’ve heard a story that one of our students met Mark Zuckerberg. I bet it was you.

Dharmik: Actually, meeting Mark was my dream. It happened in April, 2016, when I was in India, and I was studying Computer Engineering, I got an opportunity to become a Head of an international technical festival known as PROJECTIONS. Along with being a computer engineering student, organizers gave me responsibility to develop an application for that festival. I did a little bit of research and learned a new coding language known as PHONEGAP. After that, I uploaded my application on Play Store. On that basis I applied for their annual event known as FACEBOOK DEVELOPER’S CONFERENCE – F8, and I got selected for that and also interacted with Mark as well.

Leila: That is really a cool experience for international student who grew up in India and came to America to realize his dream. I’m taking off my hat. What are your plans?

Dharmik: I really want to complete my graduation here in America and want to get a job in Google. This is my biggest dream.

Leila: Well, you are already here. Your first step has done. Keep doing that. Hope, you’ll get useful knowledge from school. One last question: If you got a chance to speak with all international students in America, what advice would you give them?

Dharmik: Being an international student here, I know it is hard, but all I want to suggest you is stay focused on your dreams. Never get down on yourself, no matter what happens.

In the end, I would like to share with you the main idea I had after my conversation with Dharmik. It really doesn’t matter where you’re from, who your parents are, or how much money you have. What matters is that you have a dream and what you do to make it real. Hopefully, this article will inspire most of you and, who knows, maybe your American Dream is about to come true.

Don’t stop until you are proud!

Bank, Time, Fun, What’s in Common?

By Leila Ataeva; Skokie, Illinois
Blue Sand Hourglass

When it comes to time, we never have enough.

What if I could show you a way that helps you to solve at least one of your problems in 30 minutes and get more time to have fun? Try to answer the question: What people can do in 30 minutes?

• Drive from Skokie to downtown Chicago without traffic
• Prepare a breakfast
• Go across the bridge at Niagara Falls from American side to Canadian twice!!!
• Give “likes” on Instagram to 200 people (I didn’t check, but possibly)
• Open a bank account for international students.

Let’s stop on the last one. Each student who comes to a new country faces problems when opening a bank account. In this topic I will tell you how to open a bank account in 30 minutes. Are you ready?

1. If it’s your first time you have to be sure you have a valid ID. It could be your passport or driver’s license.

2. You have to provide proof of your address. If you just moved do not worry, you can make a request at your school for a letter to open your bank account. This letter shows you are a current student, the program you’re taking and enrollment dates, and the foreign and current address which you provided to the school.

3. You have to provide information about your income. Proof of income is important when you open a credit card, in particularly, as an international student.

4. Living in America, you will need credit history to get an apartment or buy something expensive, like a car or computer. Getting a credit card will help you build credit history. If you want to get a credit card, you have to have your Social Security Number (SSN). When you apply for credit card you will be asked about your income (The greater your income, the better chances of getting a high credit limit). Remember, when purchasing something on your credit card, you must be able to cover this payment later. Keeping your credit history in good status is very necessary if you have plans to stay in America.

Once you have all these documents with you, do not hesitate to ask bank staff about benefits for international students. Some banks have a special option for students. I’m talking about opening student account, which means you won’t be charged fees based on the balance of your account.

Now, when you know what to do if you are an international student and you want to open a bank account, you’ll save time to have fun in America!

Related Readings

International Student? All You Need to Know about Credit Card
School Social is Fun, Isn’t it?

Writing an Eye Catchy Cover Letter

By Snezana Stojilkovic; Chicago, Illinois
Eye Catching Cover Letter
Writing a good cover letter might be a scare thought for the majority of you. You have so many unanswered questions: How long it should be, what information should be included, do you have to repeat the contact information (since you already have it on your resume), who you are supposed to address in it, how deep personally you need to go, and so on. Although there is no magic formula, and you can get creative, there are some things that you should keep in your mind when deciding how to approach this task. It can be enjoyable!

Each cover letter is unique

That’s why you should stick with the golden rule: Don’t send the same letter to different locations, those experienced eyes would notice that you were flirting with other companies, and your letter might end up in a trash bin.

Do your homework, when you see a job opening, the first thing you need to do is to Google it. Find out as much as possible. How big is the company (size matters), who is responsible for hiring (again, in small companies it’s more likely that the owner will get to read your letter, in bigger there is a professional help from HR – human resource – Department), how much they pay for different positions comparing with other companies from the same industry, any benefits that go with the job, any problems that employees have, what is overall company’s culture; anything can help!

When I said that size matters I meant that with bigger companies it’s likely that you might have to go through a phone call screening process, and if you do a good job you can actually have a real interview. And, probably, that will be just the first round. So, you should know that before you sit in front of your computer.

I mentioned in one of the previous articles that a good start point can be the website, where you can find valuable information, not only for the job and company, but also for interviews, and what you can expect from one if you ever get there.

Red flag, sometimes employees are “forced” to write positive comments, so be aware

Look for another source if everything seems so perfect! I found numerous of places that advertised high weekly income, up to $1500, and it turned out that these are door-to-door jobs, where you knock on thousands of doors to try to sell some product, and it is usually commission only, which means that you are paid based on your performance. If you don’t sell anything that day, after 10 hours of knocking and talking and walking you go home with exactly $0.

Another place where you can search is LinkedIn, and although I am not the biggest fan of it – Yelp. Sometimes, reading reviews from customers/clients you get a pretty good idea how someone runs the business. You can easily decide if you want to be a part of it, or not.

For example, you want to work as a nail technician. But the reviews you found online about that saloon’s practice is disturbing, they don’t respect schedule because they accept walk-ins, and that creates chaos, it is not clean enough, the selection of nail polish colors is limited, the material they use is cheap and not of good quality. Would you spend any time writing an amazing cover letter for that kind of place?

Your cover letter shouldn’t be more than one page long. And that’s my dear with all your information (first and last name, address, email and phone number), date and information about the company you are applying for, and closing paragraph. I suggest that you leave the number from your address, both building and apartment for security purpose. 

I understand that many of you really like to write and you have so much to tell, (just like me, and I hope you are still reading) but hey, think about timing, people are busy.

They don’t want to read a book. It’s a Twitter era

The first paragraph is pretty standard: You will have to introduce yourself, explain what position you are applying for, how you heard for it, and how your qualification applies for the job. That’s catchy part. If it’s well written, the person who reads it will read it all.

The second and third paragraph is the place to brag about your experience and achievements. I already wrote about this, tell your story! Don’t use clichéd sentences, rather explain what exactly you know to do in details. 

The language is very important here. I don’t like rigid language, but it is necessary to use it when applying for the position like administration, banks, and schools. But I do believe that you can be creative if that is essential for a job. Think of designers, marketing positions, fashion, etc. 

In the closing paragraph, you should thank the person that you are addressing for the time and consideration of you as a candidate. Invite him/her to contact you to set up an interview. This is a very short paragraph. The last part is your signature.   

So, let’s sum up:

Don’t write too much: be concise!
Be detailed when asking a question: What are you good at?
Don’t mention salary, unless asked for salary requirements or salary history
Proofread your letter. Twice. Some people are extremely sensitive when it comes to the grammar.

At the very end, there is one more option available for you to explore. If you are really terrified of doing everything I wrote about, you can pay for professional help and hire someone who will do that for you. The person who is responsible for writing your resume and cover letter would call you, and try to find as much as possible about your background, your employment history, education, references, past projects you have done, etc. The more you tell – the better outcome will be!

I don’t really support this kind of writing since I believe that anyone is capable of writing a decent resume and cover letter. You know yourself best, that’s your advantage. Use it.

The last piece of advice is: If you ever decide to use “free cover letter making” there is a chance that after you are done with writing you will have to pay a small price for it if you want to save it. Once you do it, be aware that if you don’t cancel, the company will keep charging you a monthly fee, which is usually around $15! Be aware.

And good luck with job hunting!

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Do The Research If You Care About Your Career
Why is the Cover Letter So Important?

Do The Research If You Care About Your Career

By Snezana Stojilkovic; Chicago, Illinois
Career Research
A couple of years ago, I was looking for a job in Marketing, and I found one promising. It was a billboard company, looking for someone who will be a go-getter, creative, but also responsible for running the errands. The owner seemed little angry in his ad, complaining how he received 3000 resumes and letters and they were all the same. Then he made a list of what one should do if wanted an interview. Basically, asking to be different, original. Honestly, at first I was shocked by the angry tone of the ad, but on the other hand, I was kind of challenged. In my mind it was like, hm, this is very interesting. Let me see if I can do what he wants.

I Googled it. Their website wasn’t really helpful, the information they provided were insufficient. I found the history of that firm, location, and the next day I called and introduced myself as a potential client just to get more information about what they were doing, more importantly how they were doing and the current prices. I checked the Facebook page, but since I found out who the owner was, I checked his personal page too and learned that he had a dog that is often in the office.

Then, I made a picture of a billboard with my picture on it, with a beautiful landscape behind me with big letters: Congratulations, you found the perfect candidate! And I sent it. No resume, no letter. Someone would say it was a stupid move, but I would say it was a bold move.  In that case that was my cover letter.
I got the email the next day. He was interested in setting a meeting in his office. Lovely. I wrote an actual letter, just in case. When I got there I saw his big dog. I called him by his name and played with him for a while, and I could tell you that the owner was surprised. He looked at me and said: “I see that you did your homework.” I smiled. “I am a journalist. I do my homework.”

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Snezana Stojilkovic: From New Immigrant to First Job: Resume is Your Story, Learn How to Tell It