- Plan on carrying U.S. currency in traveler’s checks and/or cash.
- The amount of $400 should be enough to cover early miscellaneous expenses, and another $400-$500 for text books and school supplies.
- Try not to carry large amounts of cash since it may be a few days before you can open a bank account.
- Traveler’s checks are easily cashed; ATM cards can be used, although there may be substantial fees associated with using them for withdrawals.
- Bank checks drawn in American dollars from your home country may take several weeks to clear; bank checks drawn in a foreign currency are not recommended.
- Visa, MasterCard and American Express from your home country can be used in the community.
- You will probably want to open a bank account as soon as you arrive, as it is not advisable to carry large amounts of cash.
- Not knowing basic banking terminology can cost you a lot of money. Familiarize yourself with these basic financial terms.
Local Banking Options
- Citizens Bank – 20 Highland Street, Plymouth (603) 536-6900
- Community Guaranty Savings Bank – 28 South Main, Plymouth (603) 536-0001
- Meredith Village Savings Bank – 131 Main Street, Plymouth (603) 536-8228
- Northway Bank – 1 Highland Street, Plymouth (603) 536-2733
Paying Plymouth State University Bills
Upon admittance to PSU, you will have promptly remitted a deposit of $290. Undergraduate tuition, fees, room and board fees should also be paid before arrival. PSU is now partnered with peerTransfer, a global payment resource, to simplify the payment process and save you money on wire transfers and banking fees. Please review all billing information at the Student Account Services. The office can also be reached by calling (603) 535- 2215; or toll free (in the U.S.) 1-877-846-5755.
Miscellaneous Money Matters
This small fee is a means of showing gratitude and usually ranges from 10% to 20% of the bill. People you tip in the U.S. include: waiters/waitresses, taxi drivers, porters, hairdressers and barbers, and parking lot attendants. People you do NOT tip include: customs officials or other government employees such as policemen, firemen, mailmen, airline personnel, hotel desk clerks, bus drivers, store clerks, theater ushers and receptionists.
- New Student Orientation
- On-Campus Housing
- On-Campus Dining
- Non-Academic/Recreational Activities
- Off-Campus Housing
If you need additional assistance, contact the International Student Services offices.
Social Security numbers are granted when a person becomes employed in the U.S. To apply for a number you will need to complete an Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5). Take the completed application to the local Social Security office in Concord, NH along with original documents to include: I-20, I- 94, passport, work eligibility, and a letter from the DSO. *Work eligibility means evidence of employment such as letter from employer which describes your job, your start date, number of hours working, supervisor’s name and phone.*
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) Employment
CPT and OPT gives F-1 students the opportunity to gain paid practical experience in their field of study. CPT is employment through an internship or practicum that is part of a student’s degree program. It must be connected to a credit-bearing course, and must be approved by the academic department and international student advisor. OPT is available to students for up to 12 months after each educational level (i.e. undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate). OPT is usually done after completion of a degree program. See the CPT and OPT webpage for more information.
If you are allowed to work in the U.S. and get paid for your services, you are required to pay taxes in the U.S. regardless of the type of visa that you have. Taxes are withheld regularly from each paycheck. Visit the International Taxpayer section at the United State Department of Treasury Internal Revenue Service site to find out the required information on filing taxes.
- 1 inch = 2.5 centimeters
- 12 inches = 1 foot
- 1 foot = 30 centimeters
- 3 feet = 1 yard
- 1 yard = 0.9 meters
- 1 mile = 1.6 kilometers
- 1 ounce (oz) = 28 grams
- 16 ounces = 1 pound
- 1 pound = 0.45 kilograms
- 1 pint = 0.47 liters
- 2 pints = 1 quart
- 4 quarts = 1 gallon (3.8 liters)
- Gasoline is sold in gallons.
- Most beverages are sold in 12 oz, 16 oz, ½ gallons, and 1 gallon increments.
- Coins are in increments of 1 cent (penny), 5 cents (nickel), 10 cents (dime), 25 cents (quarter), and 50 cents (fifty-cent piece).
PSU has a Campus Mail Service, located in the HUB. You will be assigned a mail box (“HUB suite”) and this is where you will receive your mail. There is also a U.S. Post Office on Main Street in Plymouth. They provide only mail-related services, no banking or telephone. U.S. Post Office terms include “express” mail, “priority” mail, “certified or registered” mail, and “insured” mail. The post office staff can answer any questions you have about how best to mail a package or letter.
The U.S. does not have a national telephone company. There are many telephone companies that provide services in the Plymouth area, and the level of cell phone service or coverage changes frequently. Therefore, please talk with your roommates, friends, and PSU staff about what service is currently providing the best coverage! International phone cards can be purchased at most local stores and gas stations. U.S. telephone numbers are ten digits long (area code, then the number). To call internationally, dial 011-country code-telephone number. Dialing 911 is for emergencies and can be dialed from anywhere in the U.S. Only dial “911” in the event of a true emergency.
The American Version of English
Just like any language, American English is full of its own slang, idioms, and phrases. A simple search on the internet can provide you with tips on English conversation, grammar, TOEFL vocabulary, slang, and more.
Commonly used college/university terms include:
- MAJOR: primary field of study
- MINOR: secondary field of study
- BA: Bachelor of Arts degree
- BS: Bachelor of Science degree
- MS: Masters of Science degree (higher degree level than bachelor)
- MBA: Masters of Business Administration
- CAGS: Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study
- DORM: on-campus residence hall
- RD: Residence Hall Director
- CA: Community Advisor
- ADD/DROP: to add or withdraw from a c lass
- CUT/SKIP: to be absent from class purposely
- MID-TERM: exam in the middle of the semester/term
- FINAL: last exam of semester/term
- Academic Advisor: a faculty member assigned to each student to help and assist in forming the student’s academic plans.
Directions to NH Division of Motor Vehicles in Concord
- – I-93 South to Exit 15E (I-393)
- – I-393 to Exit 2 (East Side Drive)
- – Turn left at the end of the ramp
- – Then onto the 1st right to Hazen Drive
- – Follow the sign to Plate/License Office
- – Go to Non-Citizens Desk
- Bill Driscoll Associates (603) 536-3690
- Ayer Insurance (603) 536-2440
- Main Insurance Agency (603) 536-2100
- Noyes Insurance (603) 536-1735
Be sure to read all documentation and limitations to ensure that you will have adequate coverage while in New Hampshire. Well-known companies include:
- Maintain your perspective. You are not alone. PSU professors, staff members, and students can help you ‘network’.
- Evaluate your expectations. Your reactions to the U.S. and to PSU are products of the way things are here and your own expectations. Some expectations may be based on impressions from American films, or information that is outdated or unreliable in other ways.
- Keep an open mind. People here might do or say things that people at home would not do or say. They are acting according to their own set of values, based on a different culture different. Take advantage of opportunities to discuss, both with Americans and other int’l students, to help you learn more about U.S. communication styles.
- Americans are eager to help people, and want to provide assistance in an equal and fair manner. When a group of people is waiting, they expect to be helped on a first-come, first-served basis, in the order they arrived. To ensure a chance to speak with a PSU faculty/staff, email or telephone to see if an appointment is required.
- Learn from experience. Don’t be afraid to try new things.
- Participate in and attend PSU activities. Get out there and meet people!
- Allow time for rest and relaxation. Being in a new place is tiring, so relax!
It takes time for friendships to develop. You will get to know students, faculty and staff who will share their own experiences with you. We hope that you will leave PSU with many, many lifelong friends.
PSU embraces tolerance, individualism and responsibility for self. It is your duty and privilege to choose your own courses, field of interest, to respect and abide by PSU’s policies and expectations. Though personal preferences are never questioned, we are always willing to give advice, to help or to support your ideas. Faculty and staff are appointed and trained to give you the information you need and to help you make a reasonable choice.
American Customs and Values
An important aspect to understand about Americans. Many have been trained since an early age to view themselves as separate human beings who have their own opinions. They do not necessarily view themselves as members of a close-knit, tightly interdependent family, or religious group. The free, self-reliant individual is viewed as the ideal. Privacy: Closely associated with individualism. Americans give the impression that they are ‘open’, yet in American minds, there are certain boundaries people aren’t supposed to cross. It is difficult to determine which boundaries exist and their parameters, but will be quite obvious if you have crossed them.
The ideal is that “all men are created equal.” [The term “men” should not be taken literally.] International students tend to be used to more obvious displays of respect (bowing, averting eyes, using honorific titles). Americans are aware of status differences, and simply display this in a different manner. An underlying assumption to this ideal is that no matter what a person’s status is in life, anyone has the potential to achieve great success. Everyone deserves respectful treatment.
Notions of equality lead Americans to be informal in their general behavior and their relationships with other people. For example, introductions may be made using first names in a casual, friendly manner. A typical greeting such as “Hi, how are you doing?” does not necessarily mean that a person wants to initiate a conversation.
- Goodness of Humanity
Americans generally feel that people are inherently good and can always better themselves.
Time is seen as a “resource”, like water or coal that can be used poorly or wisely. Americans admire a well-organized person. The ideal person is punctual and considerate of other people’s time.
- U.S. laws concerning the sale and consumption of alcohol may seem very liberal or very constraining to you. In the U.S., it is illegal to purchase, consume, carry or otherwise transport alcoholic drinks, until you are 21 years of age. PSU has policies that restrict the consumption of alcoholic beverages on campus.
- The sale, distribution, use or possession of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, LSD, ecstasy or any other drugs violates federal, state, local and university laws.
- PSU has restricted use of tobacco products on campus.
If you violate the rules of Plymouth State University and are disciplined by suspension or dismissal from the university, you will not have maintained legal status under the immigration laws, and you can be required to leave for that reason. Finally, a student should consider the attitude of his/her home government towards actions here, for your home government is able to withdraw or cancel one’s passport.
We expect each student to fully acknowledge and understand the policies and rules of the University. Information regarding policies regarding alcohol and substance use is found in the PSU Student Handbook.