If Hollywood films have shaped your idea of the United States, wipe out all that and get ready to face a culture shock and differences in academic and social environment there.
This was the message by American officials to a group of students headed to the US for higher studies at a seminar organised by United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF).
Addressing the seminar, David Mees, Cultural Attache of the US Embassy in New Delhi, asked them to wipe off any misconception about the country which they might have developed through Hollywood films.
"Sometimes people are afraid because of what they have seen in Hollywood films. Just remember that that is not the reality. The reality in America will largely be what you make of it: keep an open mind, see the best in people and show the best in yourself," he said.
Talking about culture shock, he said one might face culture shock there like some Americans believe Indians travel on elephants and they would laugh when you say you will do "the needful" or you mention your "aunty" -- as they just don't use these words.
"The important thing is to recognise it: Oh yes, it is just culture shock... This too will pass," he said.
Indian students currently enrolled in US Universities and passouts also shared their experiences on such aspects with students travelling to the US for higher education.
Sameer Pathak, who holds a Master's Degree in E-business and an MBA from the University of Wyoming, strongly advised students not to sign any housing contract and stuff their luggage before leaving as shopping is cheap there.
Asked about the socio-cultural environment, which is looked at as fast-forward with little or no restrictions, he said, "It's different, but it's not wrong and you get adjusted with it."
The seminar provided an opportunity to students to get their queries solved ranging from what to pack, taking foreign currency to the US, which airline to fly, how to apply for an education loan, medicines and visa-related issues.
Gaurav Ganguly, who is currently pursuing his bachelors with double major in economics and theatre from Franklin and Marshal University, advised the students to keep 3-4 sets of documents with them. "Don't get upset with security checks there," he said.
Renuka Raja Rao, Country Coordinator of USIEF, said at present more than one lakh students are pursuing their higher studies in the US as the country provides the most sophisticated programmes.
USIEF is a bi-national organisation set up by the US and India in 1950, and promote the exchange of students and scholars between the two countries.