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Packing for NYC
What to Pack in Your Carry-On
Have these accessible at the port of entry.
U.S. Currency and credit card from home (if necessary).
With home-country driver's license.
Or contact lenses (if necessary).
In case of unexpected delays (Optional)
New York City Weather
What to Expect in NYC
The subway system is extensive and avoids street traffic. It’s open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day! With a total of 656 miles of passenger tracks, it serves 4 of the 5 boroughs of NYC; Staten Island has its own rail service.
Buses are a great way to get around if you’re not in a hurry. It’s interesting to look out the window and observe the changing neighborhoods. The buses that run closest to Columbia Morningside campus are the M104, M4, M60, and the M5. Each borough has its own bus routes, map and schedule.
Columbia’s Zagster bike share program means all students and staff can access a bicycle 24/7. Citi Bike is the nation's largest bike share program, with stations across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Jersey City. Designed for quick trips with convenience in mind, it’s a fun and affordable way to get around town.
They are yellow or green with a medallion number on top of the roof. If it is lit up and says on-duty it is available to wave down. There is a metered fare that you may pay with credit card or cash. It is customary to tip 10-20%.
MetroCards are electronic fare cards for use on subways and buses in the five boroughs. Choose between refillable "debit" cards or unlimited weekly and monthly cards. MetroCards are available for purchase in all subway stops.
I want to
Don't wait until the end of your term to begin studying!
You can be expelled if you violate Columbia’s academic integrity standards.
When you arrange your course schedule, consult not only your academic adviser but also experienced students. Don't forget to have a full-time course load!
Professors expect students to ask questions in or immediately after class, or during office hours. Know your professor's expectations. Each professor may have different expectations and requirements.
Columbia has one of the largest university collections in the United States (over 21 libraries with almost 12 million volumes). It is a fantastic resource for anyone studying, conducting research, or teaching at Columbia. Become familiar with all its services and research support.
Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT)'s technology services provides Columbia with central computing and communications including: telephones, email, web publishing, computer labs / electronic classrooms, course management and student information applications, office and administrative applications, high-speed campus Ethernet and wireless networks.
OTHER ACADEMIC TIPS
- Having someone else do your work
- Talking during examinations, especially in another language. Asking to borrow a pencil or using another person’s calculator during an exam could even be construed as cheating
- Collaborating on homework assignments. Be sure you ask the teaching assistant or the professor whether you can work with fellow students on an assignment
Physical and Mental Health
OTHER HEALTH AND SAFETY RESOURCES
1. View these Youtube Videos (created by Dan Fishel, a former international student at the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University).
- Part 1: Culture Shock Phases 1, 2
- Part 2: Culture Shock Phase 3
- Part 3: Social Adjustment
- Part 4: American Handshakes
- Part 5: Academic Adjustment
2. See Edupass's guide about US social customs and cultural differences.
3. Contact Columbia’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS).
CPS is a great resource to students and runs several workshops specific to international students’ academic and social adjustment soon after the start of each term. Many of the counselors have an international background and are sensitive to issues of acculturation.
- At night, take the well-lit and well-traveled paths. Avoid shortcuts through dark or isolated areas.
- Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to call for an escort—your safety, well-being, and peace of mind are at stake.
- Be prepared and ready with your keys before you approach your residence hall, apartment, home, or automobile.
- If you think someone is following you, don’t lead him or her to your destination—instead, abruptly change directions and go into a store or restaurant that is open.
- Be aware of your valuables and belongings, such as your backpack, handbag, or wallet. Even if you’re in a “safe” place for a short time, take them with you rather than leave them behind.
- When taking the bus or subway, use well-lit, and preferably well-peopled, stations
- Protect your privacy online and be aware of scams on the phone, street and online. Be alert to phishing.