Adapting to a new country and a new culture may be difficult, especially if this is your first time abroad or in the US. This page is meant to help you orient yourself and learn some not so obvious everyday things.
You are always welcome to reach out to email@example.com for clarifications and more information. Remember, you are welcome here!
The first place to go when sick for any Temple student is the Student Health Services.
All international students are required to have medical insurance. You can access your account and view a list of available providers (doctors, general practitioners) and make an appointment. However, under many health plans even a casual visit will not be fully covered by your insurance. Student Health Services are covered by your university fees and can provide most care free of charge when you visit.
If you are in need of immediate help and pain relief, you should use any Urgent Care Clinic near you. They are searchable on typical maps apps and search engines like Google.
If you are in a critical condition, call 911. Depending on your insurance, ambulance may come with a large fee, but remember to think of your health first and fees second.
It is common for international students to experience stress or feel lost in a new country. While ISA prepares programs and events to help you learn more about the US and make friends, sometimes you might need more help.
For that, Temple has several resources available. The Wellness Resource Center hosts counseling groups and workshops that teach you to effectively cope with stress, talk about the difficulties you are having, and practice mindfulness. It is a good resource both for those who feel lost and confused, and for those feeling down.
If you feel that these tools are not enough, you can also receive professional help from Tuttleman Counseling Services. In the US, visiting a psychotherapist is more accepted and encouraged than in some other parts of the world. Your visits are confidential, free, and you should never be judged for any problems you are having.
You can find out more at the Support and Resources page.
Early on, before the semester begins, you can contact Bursar's Office to inquire about a payment plan.
If you are in a difficult financial situation and don't know what to do, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with an explanation of your situation (as much as you are comfortable to disclose).
You can find out more at the Support and Resources page.
University websites may be difficult to understand at first. If you are not sure where a particular page is, try searching for it on Google. For example, you can always search for "temple game room" to find the location of the Game Room at the Student Center.
To know more about events, activities, and student achievements among Temple's international owls:
- Sign up for the International Student Listserv.
- Check out the Nutshell newsletter.
- Read news and stories at Owltopia.
If you have a story you want to share with other international Temple students, email email@example.com and the team will work with you to get your story featured on Owltopia!
Academic Success and Career
In the US, speaking up in class is usually encouraged and helps you learn more effectively. If you see your classmates raising their hands often to suggest a response, it is a good sign that you are expected to be active in that class. Don't be afraid to say something wrong and remember that there are no silly questions. If you have a question, it is very likely your classmates have it too but are afraid to ask.
In your previous experience, you might not have seen or used office hours. It is a time slot dedicated by your professor or instructor every week specifically for your class to discuss any questions with students one on one. Office hours information is always listed in the syllabus. You are encouraged to use this time to talk about an assignment you don't understand, discuss how you could make up for a missed class, or ask follow-up questions about a topic that interests you.
If your question is really short, you can always send your professor or instructor an email, but do not be afraid to use office hours if you would like to discuss something more lengthy. They are there specifically for you.
Email is often the main channel of communication between you and the university. Make sure to check your email regularly for messages from your program/department, your professors, and offices like ours. ISA sends out a regular newsletter GLOBAL HOOT where we announce events and programs.
Because email is such an important way of communication in academia, you should always follow email etiquette when addressing administration and professors. Use this short guide from Purdue University to compose a formal email.
Before you start your search, make sure to read the information ISSS has prepared about F1 work authorization, OPT and STEM OPT.
Be sure to also check Handshake and the tabs on TUportal for career resources. ISA and other departments sometimes include job opportunities in their newsletters.
Near campus, you can find Fresh Grocer next to Cecil B. Moore and Aldi down at the Fairmount station.
Other popular grocery stores you can find in Philadelphia are Trader Joe's, Target, Whole Foods, Acme, Walmart, ShopRite, Giant.
Household items can be found at Target, Walmart, Home Depot, IKEA, TJ Maxx, Ross Dress for Less, Burlington. CVS and Rite Aid are pharmacies but they also carry a lot of household goods like food containers, hygiene items, stationary.
The stores listed above are known brands, but they are not the only place to shop in Philadelphia. There are many smaller local grocery stores and markets that can offer different items and may be better priced.
You may also be interested in visiting the Reading Terminal Market, known for its food. It is both a good place to shop for groceries and a popular tourist place.
While there are many ways to message other people and many of your friends will be ready to find the best option for both of you, it is good to know the apps regularly used by locals.
The most popular messengers are WhatsApp and Instagram's direct messages. However, a lot of people simply use the messages app preinstalled on their phone to exchange texts/SMS. This comes from most US phone plans coming with unlimited free SMS.
Some Temple University programs or initiatives may ask you to use GroupMe to keep in touch with other students or a student leader.
We cannot recommend a particular plan to get, but here are some points to consider when choosing one:
Your budget. Unlimited data is convenient and recommended for students with the budget for it, but mobile internet is expensive in the US. If you can rely on Wi-Fi most of the time, you might want to consider a plan that has just as much data as you need while getting around campus or going out. Temple University fully provides students with access to Wi-Fi on campus and in Temple housing, but off-campus your options might be limited.
Carrier reviews and quality. Affordable and cheap plans from smaller carriers often have slower connection. If you rely on mobile internet to watch videos or as your main internet connection, a cheap plan might not be for you. Make sure to check the reviews.
Coverage. If you plan to travel across the US and visit particular places, you can always check if a phone plan provider has good coverage in that area before you sign up for it. Most providers will have good coverage in Philadelphia, but suburban areas connectivity varies.
Many Temple departments and student organizations also have Instagram profiles or other social media where you can track their updates and events.
For more general Philadelphia news you can explore these news outlets: The Philadelphia Inquirer, NBC News, CBS News, ABC News.
PNC Bank has a branch located on campus and is always ready to provide Temple international students with its services.
Additionally, you can use Temple University's own Diamond Dollars system to make purchases on campus only. Read more about Diamond Dollars.
PNC offers students an account with up to 6 years of no monthly fees while you remain enrolled at Temple.
To open a checking account with PNC, students will need to bring their passport and student visa related documents as well as U.S address and U.S. phone number information. SSN is not required to open an account with PNC. For more information, visit PNC's page for international students or PNC's page for Temple.