7.3.3 Taking Care of Miscellaneous Items
As you can imagine, there will be a multitude of items that you need to tend to as you settle in. We will deal with only a handful of important items here. As you live longer in the new country, you will establish many good resources for information.
One of the first items is a bank account. Many colleges have on-campus banks or at least teller machines to make withdrawals and deposits electronically. Banks abound near college campus. All banks are pretty much the same. Credit unions in America, analogous to banks, are somewhat cheaper for maintaining an account. Choose the bank that is convenient. You should carry your passport to open a bank account. Opening a bank account is very easy.
As you open a back account, the bank will typically offer you a debit card. It is like a credit card, except that the money is not given to you on credit but it is debited directly from your bank account. You can use the debit card in lieu of cash at various establishments. Applying for credit cards is fairly straightforward as well, but you should wait for a while - until you have learned more about the new way of life - before applying for one.
Before you can accept any income from research or teaching assistantship, or through ad hoc employment, you are required to get a Social Security Number (SSN) in America or a Social Insurance Number (SIN) in Canada. Ask for advice from your international student advisor or your department on how to apply. You should apply for the SSN in America as soon as possible. You should apply for the SIN in Canada when you have an offer for some form of financial assistantship.
Visit a grocery store to buy the necessities of life. Basically, grab a cart, walk down the aisles of the store, pick up the things you want, and pay at the end at the check out counter.