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2 mins Read | 9 Months Ago

USA Newsletter – August-2023

Plan Your Trip

USA (Study Abroad Special Edition)

ICICI Bank introducing VACATIONS – your monthly Travel Newsletter!

Month’s theme Introduction:

Gone are the days when studying abroad was a distant dream for Indian students. Today, education has evolved, breaking boundaries and opening doors to a global platform of possibilities.

As parents, it is crucial to understand and appreciate this paradigm shift. Your children now have the chance to choose from a diverse range of educational avenues available worldwide. This exposure will not only enhance their academic growth but will also prepare them for life beyond the classroom. It will be a strategic decision to enhance children’s lives as they turn into young adults.

By immersing themselves into a new culture, a new lifestyle, your children will develop cross-cultural skills and a global mind set. They will learn to navigate different perspectives, adapt to new environments and embrace diversity. These invaluable experiences will foster independence, resilience and a broader worldview, giving them a competitive edge in today's interconnected world.

As parents, it is natural that some concerns and anxieties about this significant transition might come up. However, it's important to remember that with proper support and guidance, your children can thrive in this world of opportunities. Encourage them to be open-minded, embrace challenges and seek support from the vibrant international student community.

By fostering a positive outlook, you can instil confidence in children, assuring them that they have the capability to make the most of the global opportunities available. Encourage them to engage in extracurricular activities, explore internships and network with professionals in their areas of interest. These experiences will not only enrich their education but also broaden their career prospects.

Let's all be thankful for the opportunities that lie ahead and empower our young ones to make the most of their educational journey in the United States or wherever they have chosen to study.

Soul Trip: Getting comfortable outside the comfort zone

As your children prepare to embark on their educational journey in the United States, it is essential for them to get comfortable outside the cosy cocoon that you have given them so far. Studying abroad means stepping into a new place with unfamiliar surroundings, people, food and new challenges. However, it is precisely in this newness that the potential for growth and self-discovery lies.

Encourage your children to quickly adapt and ease into their new environment. This ability to navigate the unknown will not only enhance their educational experience but also prepare them for life. Stepping outside their comfort zone exposes them to diverse perspectives, cultures and ways of thinking.

They will learn to overcome challenges, communicate across cultural boundaries and build meaningful connections. These skills will prove invaluable in an increasingly interconnected world, opening doors to exciting opportunities and career prospects.

It is natural for children to feel a bit anxious initially. However, encourage them to embrace this transformative phase with an open mind and a positive attitude. Remind them that stepping outside their comfort zone is where real growth will occur. Encourage them to try new experiences, engage with their peers and explore the vibrant community around them.

In this journey of self-discovery your children will gain a deeper understanding of themselves, develop their own unique identity and cultivate a global perspective. They will emerge as well-rounded individuals, equipped with the confidence needed to face life's challenges.

So, let's empower our children to embrace the unknown and discover the extraordinary possibilities that lie beyond their comfort zone. With your support and encouragement, they will thrive in their educational journey in the United States.

Discover Your World

For Parents travelling to USA for their children’s academic journey

Whether it is a final vacation that you take as a family before your child starts his/her academic journey in a US University or it is a holiday that you take alone or with your partner after having settled your child in his/her new academic life, USA offers many interesting places to visit in the months of August and September. Here are our top 12 picks:

 With everything from a variety of outdoor activities to museums, cultural events, festivals and tourist attractions, you and your whole family will surely find the ideal vacation spot. 

1) San Francisco

Location: California
Reason: Mild temperatures, endless restaurant options and beautiful parks

San Francisco should be among the first destinations on your list to travel to this August. It is close to many of California’s national parks (and universities!). The Golden Gate Park, home to sites such as the Conservatory of Flowers, Shakespeare’s Garden and the Academy of Sciences is the perfect spot for those who want to take a stroll and find some hidden gems.

Don’t forget to visit Chinatown, which is the oldest community of Chinese immigrants outside Asia. Here, visit the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory to see where 20,000 fortune cookies are made each day as well as Hunan Home’s Restaurant for some delicious food.

Location: North Carolina 
Reason: Endless summer activities and some of the best East Coast beaches

The Outer Banks is a favourite vacation spot for many each summer and if you haven’t had the chance to visit, now is the perfect time to do so. You can spend your vacation lounging around the beach and catching the waves.

The beach town is also the site of many festivals each August including the Outer Banks Pirate Festival and the OBX Watermelon Festival. If you love history, you can learn more about the history of aviation at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in nearby Kill Devil Hills. For daredevils, now’s the perfect time to get out on the water and go deep-sea fishing, paddle along on kayak tours, or see shipwrecks when you dive.

Location: Colorado
Reason: Cheaper hotels, many hiking opportunities and stunning Rocky Mountains

You’ve probably seen gorgeous pictures of Aspen in winters but did you know that summer is also an amazing time to visit Aspen? Every outdoor adventure lover will find something to do in Aspen in August. You can start by taking a trip to the Maroon Bells, which features hiking trails, lakes, wildflowers and some of the most beautiful views all around.

Other popular summertime hiking trails include the Rio Grande Trail, the Smuggler Trail and the Ditch Trail. Don’t miss the Aspen Farmers market not only for fresh fruits and vegetables but also for live music and artwork. Foodies will find no shortage of delicious restaurants, including Su Casa, Jimmy’s and White House Tavern. 

4) Jekyll Island

Location: Georgia
Reason: Sand dunes, special wildlife viewing opportunities, family activities

Once known as a wintertime retreat for the American elite, Jekyll Island is another charming destination that you should make a point to visit in August. The island has 10 miles of gorgeous beaches that experience two high tides and two low tides every day. Low tide is the best time to splash in the waves because 30 feet of the beach is visible. The island is also known for its sand dunes, which is home to millions of plant and animal species.

You can also check out Summer Waves Water Park for a family outing. History buffs can check out any of the guided tours to learn more about America’s Gilded Age.

Location: New Mexico
Reason: Santa Fe Music Week, other festivals and hiking nearby

Although it is hot in August in Santa Fe, it’s a great time to visit as the city starts its transition to fall. There’s a lot to do here in August, including festivals, hiking and cultural events galore. Learn more about the heritage of New Mexico at the New Mexico History Museum, which features exhibits on the indigenous tribes, colonisation and the Santa Fe Trail.

The Plaza is the hub of Santa Fe where you will find a variety of shops, galleries and eateries as well as Native American arts and crafts. Santa Fe Music Week is a popular event taking place annually in August, featuring local and national artists of all different genres. Other festivals you shouldn’t miss include the Folk Art Market, Zozobra, and Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta. You will also find some incredible day trips out of Santa Fe if you stick around for a while!

6) Fire Island

Location: New York
Reason: Relaxing northeastern beaches, camping opportunities and the Sunken Forest

Located between the Great South Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, Fire Island is the ultimate destination for a weekend getaway in August. The island’s pristine beaches and luscious nature make for the perfect vacation. You’ll find it difficult to believe that it’s near NYC because of how quiet and relaxing the island is. It has some of the best beaches in the North East.

The island features 101 miles of coastline, making it the ideal spot for boating, jet skiing, fishing, swimming and more. You can take a ferry or private boat to swim at one of the public beaches. Those who want to spend even more time on the island can go camping at the campground on Watch Hill. You should also visit the Sunken Forest, which features over 40 acres of wildlife and is the ideal spot for those who want to go hiking or birdwatching.

7) Memphis

Location: Tennessee
Reason: Elvis Week, several parks and many outdoor opportunities for families

The birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll should certainly be a part of your travel itinerary this summer. With a huge variety of festivals, concerts and more fun every summer, you’ll have a lot to do in Memphis.

In August, be sure to check out Elvis Week - a weeklong festival dedicated to the life and career of Elvis Presley. To cool off, grab some shaved ice at Jerrys Snow Cones or seasonal ice pops at Mempops. You can also spend a day at Shelby Park, the largest urban park in the USA, which is popular for ziplining and paddle boarding. Take a kayaking tour or a biking trip to reconnect with some good ol’ America.

8) Cannon Beach

Location: Oregon
Reason: Cooler temperatures, beautiful and wild beaches and fantastic state parks along the coast

Cannon Beach is a lovely vacation spot to visit this August if you want to relax amidst nature. This charming seaside village is home to unforgettable views, stunning rock formations, pristine beaches and luscious state parks.

Visit Haystack Rock along the sandy beaches to see some of Oregon’s most dramatic rock formations. If you want to enjoy a picnic along the beach, check out Arcadia Beach, just two miles south of Cannon Beach. Here, you’ll get to enjoy the tide pools and rock formations. Visitors can also enjoy the Oswald West State Park with hiking trails, ocean viewpoints and picnic areas. Visit the Cannon Beach to enjoy the picturesque walkways, restaurants and art galleries. 

9) Cape Cod

Location: Massachusetts 
Reason: Family-friendly destinations, delicious food and biking trails

Cape Cod remains one of the most loved vacation spots for families throughout the USA. It is a fabulous weekend getaway from Boston. If you enjoy swimming, sinking your toes in the sand and watching gorgeous sunsets, the beaches along Cape Cod National Seashore should be your number one destination.

The water is very cold but many visitors still enjoy laying out in the sand and soaking up the sun. If you enjoy biking, you can go on a bike ride along the Cape Cod Rail Trail, where you can also grab a snack or a drink. When in Cape Cod, don’t forget to try out some of the local clam chowder. Cape Cod is also home to lots of fresh seafood. Some of the best places to try seafood include Lobster Pot, Raw Bar and Brewster Fish House, which are all known for their lip-smacking lobster dishes.

10) Lake Tahoe

Location: California 
Reason: Perfect temperatures with little rain, summer lake activities and hiking in the nearby mountains

Lake Tahoe is considered to be one of the best lake retreats in the country. Although the area is especially known for its skiing slopes in winter, it does not have a lack of visitors in the summer. Be sure to check out the Heavenly Ski Resort when you visit. Even if you visit in August, you can take a gondola ride to see some of the most beautiful views of Lake Tahoe, Carson Valley and Desolation Wilderness. The resort also offers many activities in the summer such as zip-lining and 4 x 4 mountain tours. Another popular activity is the Sierra Cloud Cruise.

You will get to see beautiful views of the mountain peaks and pristine shoreline while on a boat. For those who love water adventures, kayaking and jet skiing are other popular activities on the lake, which features 75 miles of shoreline that you can explore.

Location: Hawaii 
Reason: Some of the best snorkelling in the world, few rainy days and calm waters on much of the island

Maui is gorgeous to visit any time of the year but August is a great time to visit to get the most out of the warm summer weather and multiple events. Of course, when in Maui, it is impossible to not try out snorkelling. Maui is home to some of the best snorkelling spots in the world.

Honolua Bay, Molokini Crater and Kaanapali Beach offer some of the best views and clearest waters for snorkelling whether you’re a beginner or more experienced. Hiking is another popular activity that will let you explore some of the island’s most gorgeous vistas. Recommended trails include Waihee Ridge, Hoapili, and Piilani. For adults, cocktail cruises are another great way to enjoy the sunset and Maui’s stunning natural scenery while sipping a cocktail.

Location: Arkansas 
Reason: Family-friendly with rides, lazy river and more

Arkansas might not be at the top of your travel bucket list this summer but you should definitely make it a point to visit Hot Springs. People from all over the country enjoy visiting Hot Springs to see all the attractions, relax and enjoy their vacation. One of the most popular attractions in Hot Springs is Magic Springs Crystal Falls. Fun for the whole family, you and the kids can enjoy some of the rides, the lazy river, concerts and ice cream.

If you’re looking to truly relax, Hot Springs is home to a multitude of spas with some of the best services around. In addition to that, you could take a bathhouse tour to learn more about the bathhouses that operated in the town a few decades ago. Another fun way to explore the town is to go on a Hot Springs walking food tour, where you can learn more about the town’s history while sampling multiple types of cuisines, cupcakes, wine and margaritas. You can also enjoy the Five-Star Dinner Theatre, the Grand Promenade, the farmers market and haunted tours.

 Travel Smart

Handy tips for new students in USA

The keyword for all new students travelling to USA is preparation. Even before leaving, think of all the possible circumstances and take steps to familiarise yourself with what to do in case of an emergency:

  1. Losing any documents: Make several copies of your Passport and important documents and store them on the cloud as well. In case of loss or damage, it’s smart to have backup copies of all your documents that are easily accessible if needed especially if requested by school and/or immigration officials. (Once you have obtained your visa, visit the country’s customs and border protection website for more information about how you should prepare to enter the country and what to bring). You should have backup copies of the following documents in case of an emergency:

  • Passport (current and old)

  • Flight documents

  • Student visa

  • Form I-20

  • Admissions letter

  • Health insurance

  • Medical records

  • Prescriptions 

  • Academic documents

  • List of emergency contacts 

  • Specified forms/documents required by the country you are traveling to

(2) A SIM card that works locally: These days there are e-sims available so you don’t have to physically buy one only when you land. Take an e-sim or activate international roaming on your India number for the first few months. This is handy in case local Wi-Fi is not available to do Zoom calls etc.

(3) Access to money: Forex Cards are the best alternative to carry ready foreign currency. Load your Forex Card with the destination currency before you leave and you can use this card as your Debit Card for ATM withdrawals, POS purchases and online transactions.

(4) Your initial contacts/clubs/societies: In case of an emergency, you should be able to reach out to somebody close by for help. For this, not only can you keep a handy list of friends and family who live close by but also become members of local Facebook/ WhatsApp groups etc. so that you always have some support at hand.

(5) Make use of Social Media Networks: A lot of information and help is available online – on Search and on Social Media. Make use of the resources online for any specific requirements. You can even ask questions on platforms like Quora and people will provide you with answers.

It is easy to settle in a new country these days – you just need a little preparation and a calm mind.

 Sustainable Travel Tip of the Month

Let’s all be responsible travellers

Appreciating local nuances

A responsible traveller understands that seeking out and embracing local nuances is key to a more authentic and enriching travel experience. By immersing oneself in the local culture, customs and way of life, one gains a deeper understanding of the destination and its people. This approach not only fosters respect but also allows for personal growth and connection.

One way to adjust to local nuances is by adapting to the local cuisine. Instead of sticking to familiar dishes, seek out local delicacies, try street food, visit the local markets and dine in traditional eateries. By doing so, you will not only satisfy your taste buds but also support the local economy and promote culinary diversity.

Another example is embracing local traditions and customs. Whether it is participating in a traditional dance, attending a cultural festival, or dressing in traditional attire, immersing oneself in these local practices demonstrates respect and a willingness to engage with the local community.

Living the way locals do allows travellers to break free from the confines of tourist hotspots and experience the true essence of a place. It opens doors to meaningful connections, fostering genuine interactions with locals who can provide unique insights and recommendations.

Embracing local nuances promotes sustainability and responsible tourism. It encourages travellers to support local businesses, artisans and communities, ensuring that the economic benefits of tourism are distributed more equally. By adjusting to local practices and respecting the environment, responsible travellers leave a positive impact on the places they visit.

‘VACATIONS’ is powered by OneShoe Trust for Responsible & Mindful Travels – a social enterprise that promotes travelling as a means to raise awareness about climate change and environmental issues. Incubated at IIM Bangalore, OneShoe is the source of most authentic travel experiences around the world.

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