Living in the United States
Make the most of every day in the United States
The opportunities for cultural exchange are endless, and the more you get involved outside of the workplace, the richer your reward. There is always something new to do; all it takes is a little time and effort.
It needn’t be complicated – simple, spontaneous pleasures such as walking and exploring, making new friends and sharing good times, or building English skills by talking to people you meet outside of work can make your time in America both more meaningful and more memorable. You’ll also find plenty of opportunities for making new personal and professional contacts, such as networking events, volunteer activities in the community, sports, and participating in industry associations – so expect to have a very full agenda!
Adjusting to a new culture
The United States is culturally diverse. No matter where you choose to go in America, it’s likely it will be different from your home country, and it might take some time to get used to. Many exchange visitors experience a range of emotions at first, from excitement to frustration, before adjusting to the new culture. Learn more on the Culture and Travel page.
Remember that the CIEE team is always happy to help make the cultural adjustment easier.
Call us anytime at 1-888-268-6245.
In case of emergency
In case of a life-threatening event, call 911 first, right away. Be ready to answer questions clearly and carefully. Police and medical or fire crews will come quickly to your location.
CIEE is also available 24 hours a day for emergency situations. Call us at 1-888-268-6245 if any of the following things happen:
- You face a serious or life-threatening emergency
- You’re the victim of a crime
- You’re arrested
- You’re involved in a car accident
- You’re in a situation that involves police, immigration authorities, or media coverage
- You’ve been evicted from housing
- You’re experiencing emotional distress or need urgent counseling for any reason
- You’re dealing with a natural disaster (storms, floods, earthquakes, etc.)
Need help with a nonemergency issue? Don’t hesitate to call CIEE during office hours at 1-888-268-6245, or send us an email. We can assist with:
- Loss of your DS-2019
- Loss of your passport (also contact your home country’s consulate)
- Housing concerns
- Basic legal information
- Experiencing a theft or nonviolent crime
- Host organization concerns
- Social Security or tax problems
- SEVIS registration
- General information
The United States is generally a safe country. But, like everywhere in the world, crime does exist. As it does everywhere, a little caution will go a long way in staying out of trouble:
- Your host organization and colleagues can advise you on places and situations to avoid
- Avoid empty streets, subway stops, and bus stops. Try to travel where other people are close by, and make sure you know where you’re going or have directions. Be extra careful when traveling alone at night
- Walk in a confident and purposeful manner
- Do not display large amounts of money in public, and keep your possessions in a firm grasp
- Be especially careful in railway and bus stations. These often are crowded and attract pickpockets
- Do not leave valuables unattended
- Pay attention to your surroundings. A person who bumps into you might be trying to distract you while stealing your wallet
- Trust your instincts. Always err on the side of caution
To learn more about how to be safe in the United States, check out the National Crime Prevention Council website.