Living in the US
We hope you will find living in the US an enjoyable experience. Often when you move to a new place, it takes time to meet people and develop new friendships; to learn your way around; and discover a favorite restaurant or market with foods from home. Below you will find some helpful information to help you in your transition.
The US Culture - The United States is a diverse nation. As you have an opportunity to explore the country, you will find that along with the changing landscape and climates, you will encounter different accents, traditions and perspectives. The diversity of the people is one of America's strengths, so we encourage you to meet people within your local community and take time to understand each other's experiences. A great way to learn more about American cultures and customs is to get connected into SNHU and the greater Manchester area; check out our Getting Involved page for some great ideas on how to do this.
National holidays - Americans celebrate a variety of holidays throughout the year. Some of these are observed nationwide while others are celebrated (or not) on a state-by-state basis. As the start of your Check In, Orientation and academic term may fall around a US holiday, it is a good idea to keep in mind the University calendar so you do not arrive at the University on a day the offices are closed. Holidays which SNHU observes are: New Year's Day; Memorial Day; Fourth of July; Labor Day; Columbus Day; Thanksgiving; Day after Thanksgiving; Christmas Eve; Christmas Day; New Year's Eve.
As you are adjusting to life in the US, please remember that SNHU staff are here for you. If you have questions or need further support, please come speak with staff within International Student Services, Academic Advising, and the Wellness Center as we will be happy to help.
Securing a great place to live is important. Read through your available choices to find the right option for you.
As the city of Manchester covers a sizeable area, most students either use buses, their cars or carpool with friends to get to and from the university. As a full time SNHU international student, you can collect a free Manchester bus pass from the Student Center Concierge desk once you receive your Student ID card.
The Manchester Transit Authority provides bus services from the downtown area to SNHU's main campus via Bus Route 5. As this is the only route to campus, many students find it helpful to be in housing which is in walking distance to this route's stops. Please refer to the MTA website for schedule and map details.
Driving in New Hampshire
You may find that having a car during your studies is a practical and convenient option; especially if you have classes in the evenings. Whether you have experience driving in your home country or wish to learn while you are in the US, the following information will help guide you in the process of getting a New Hampshire driver's license.
For students who have a driver's license
- If you have a valid driver's license from your home country and you acquire an international driving permit before you leave home, you can legally drive in New Hampshire for your first sixty days. Before the sixty days is up, you will need to pass a written test, eye exam, and driving test at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in Concord. The New Hampshire State Driver's Manual is available online at the Division of Motor Vehicles.
- If you have a valid driver's license from another US state, you can pay a fee and exchange the license for a New Hampshire driver's license.
For students who do not have a driver's license
- If you do not have a driver's license from home or another US state; you must pass a licensed driver's education course. You will need to pass a written test, eye exam, and driving test at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Concord.The New Hampshire State Driver's Manual is available on the Division of Motor Vehicles website.
Documents needed to apply for a License
- Proof of where you physically live (not a post office box). Please refer to the DMV Residency Requirements. Usually, you will need your lease, a utility bill (not a cell phone bill) or a notarized letter from your landlord (for example, if you live in a Private Room Rental).
- Your I-20 or DS-2019
- Your passport(s) and your I-94
- Your Social Security card or a letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) stating that you have been denied a Social Security Number. The SSA is located at 2 Wall Street, Manchester, NH. Bring with you your passport, I-94, I-20 or DS-2019 to get a SSA denial letter.
- International students, scholars, and their dependents living in New Hampshire may only apply for a driver's license at the DMV Concord office located at 23 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH.
Money Matters in the US
It is a good idea to bring a credit/debit card, or a small amount of money with you when you enter the US as you may need to pay for transportation to and from the airport, food, or temporary housing. It can also take a week or so to set up a bank account, so having immediate access to money is important. You are advised however not to carry large amounts of money on you as you do not want to risk losing it.
Banking in the US
It is highly recommended that you open a bank account in the US. Please review our Banking in the US brochure (link to doc) to learn about the process and documents needed to open an account as well as things to consider when choosing a bank.
As you adjust to US currency, it is a good idea to keep track of all of your expenses. There are many resources online to help you create a budget.
Student Employment during Studies
At SNHU we have a small number of on campus student jobs. Once you are an official SNHU student and receive your log in information for mySNHU - our student portal - you will be able to find out details about jobs currently available. At SNHU our students work in department offices; the library; Dining Center; University Post Room; and Bookstore. For further details about work opportunities during and after your studies see our "Employment for International Students" brochure.
Students applying for admission to SNHU may be eligible for merit-based scholarship awards based on previous academic achievement. In order to be considered, you must complete the scholarship application; this must be received at least 30 days prior to the start of the term of enrollment.