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Make Every Day Count

A big part of the CIEE Work & Travel USA experience is living independently. For many of you, this will be an adventure – moving into your first apartment, having roommates, meeting new people, finding your way around town and becoming part of the community.

The United States is very large and offers many kinds of living experiences. And when you get to know people, you will find that American culture is very diverse. One thing is certain: no matter where you go, it will be different from your home country. It might take some time to get used to. Everyone goes through this. Here is some helpful information about housing, transportation, healthcare and much more to make the transition smoother.

Adjusting to a New Culture

Everyone is different, but getting used to your new surroundings tends to happen in a predictable way. Here’s what you can expect:

  • At first, you will probably be excited and happy. You will feel positive about the culture and be fascinated by it.
  • As you begin to adjust, the sense of adventure wears off. Things might seem strange, and even frustrating. You might feel anxious or want to be alone. This doesn't last long for most people.
  • Soon you will have a routine and feel more confident. You begin to get more familiar and comfortable with Americans, and daily life gets easier. This is a sign of adjustment to American life.
  • Finally you will feel at home. You might be surprised by your enthusiasm and realize that you prefer certain American cultural traits, and adopt them for yourself. This is what cultural exchange is all about!

No matter how you are feeling, remember you are never alone and we encourage you to contact us if you need to. Call CIEE at 1-888-268-6245 any time to talk. Our team is always happy to help you.

Emergencies

CIEE has a 24-hour emergency support line. Call us at 1-888-268-6245 if any of the following things happen:

  • Serious or life-threatening emergencies
  • You are the victim of a crime
  • You are arrested
  • You are involved in a car accident
  • You are in a situation that involves police, immigration authorities, or media coverage
  • You’ve been evicted from housing
  • You are experiencing emotional distress or need urgent counseling for any reason
  • You are dealing with a natural disaster (storm, flood, earthquake, etc.)

Call 911 for Police or Other Emergency Services

Be ready to answer questions clearly and carefully. Police and medical or fire crews will be sent to your location.

Non-emergency Issues

For other concerns, call CIEE during office hours at 1-888-268-6245 or send us an email.

CIEE can also help with the following non-emergency issues:

  • Loss of DS-2019
  • Loss of passport (also contact your home country’s consulate)
  • Housing concerns
  • Basic legal information
  • Victim of theft or a non-violent crime
  • Employee/employer concerns
  • Social Security and tax problems
  • Forwarding your social security card
  • SEVIS registration
  • General information about jobs and housing

Personal Safety

The United States is a safe country, but crime does exist, like everywhere in the world. A little caution and common sense go a long way in keeping you safe. Here are some things you can do:

  • Avoid empty streets, subway stops, and bus stops. Try to travel where other people are close by and make sure you know where you are going or have directions. Do not travel alone at night.
  • Walk in a confident and purposeful manner.
  • Do not expose large amounts of cash in public, and keep your possessions in a firm grasp.
  • Be especially careful in railway and bus stations. These are often crowded and attract pickpockets.
  • Do not leave valuables unattended.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings. A person who bumps into you on the street might be trying to distract you while your wallet is stolen.
  • Trust your instincts. Always be cautious.

To learn more about how to be safe while in the United States, check out the National Crime Prevention Council website.

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