Preparing for Your Travels
Below is some advice and things to keep in mind when planning your trip to the U.S. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Refer to your Placement Information sheet to see your scheduled arrival date and location. If you cannot arrive at your scheduled time, contact MAST International BEFORE purchasing your ticket. Do not purchase airline tickets until AFTER you have received your visa back from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Trainees and Interns may enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the DS-2019 start date but are not allowed to begin training before the start date. In addition, trainees and interns are allowed to stay in the U.S. for 30 days after their program end date, but cannot train during that time. You may want to take that into consideration when making your travel plans.
Please provide your flight information to MAST International as soon as you have made your plans. Email a copy of your flight itinerary to email@example.com.
You may be required to get certain vaccinations in order to enter the United States. Make sure all of your vaccinations are current. For more information, go to cdc.gov/travel.
MAST International strongly recommends you obtain your International Driving Permit before traveling to the U.S. It is very helpful to have the International Driving Permit when applying for a U.S. driver’s license.
Make copies of your passport, visa, driver’s license, medical insurance card, etc. Leave a copy with a trusted family member or friend; you may also want to keep an electronic copy online that you can access if you lose your documents.
Remember to put all your original documents in your carry-on bag; you will not have access to your checked luggage during your travels until after you arrive in the U.S.
MAST recommends that you only check 1 larger suitcase when you travel. Most airlines also allow you one carry-on suitcase or duffel, as well as a small personal item (such as a small backpack or purse).
DO NOT bring unprocessed food products (fruits, meats, etc) to the U.S. They are not allowed and will be seized at the port-of-entry and you can be fined $300 or more. Check the Customs and Border Patrol website for any food you plan to bring: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/agricultural-items
Listed on your Placement Information sheet are the fees that you need to pay for the program. At least $600 is due upon arrival. MAST can accept U.S. dollars or credit/debit cards. If you are bringing a credit/debit card, check to see what the daily limit on it is in U.S. dollars.
We also recommend you bring extra money (perhaps $500) to help pay for work clothes, first month’s rent, travel emergencies, etc. It may take several weeks before you receive your first paycheck, so this ensures you will have money until then. If you are participating in the academic program, you will be billed for the study fee while you are at your practical training site. You can find more payment information here.
Medical care in the U.S. can be very expensive, so it’s important that you have your routine doctor and dental appointments before you travel. Pre-existing conditions are not covered by your U.S. health insurance. Here are some recommendations:
- Teeth: have a complete dental check and your teeth cleaned.
- Eyes: have an eye examination. If you wear glasses or contacts, bring two pairs or an extra prescription.
- Vaccinations: make sure your vaccinations are current. For more information, go to: cdc.gov/travel.
- Women: have a gynecological exam.
- Medication: if you are taking medications, plan to bring as much as possible. Be sure the medication is in the original packaging. You may also want to carry a copy of your prescription with you.
The U.S. is a big country with many different climate zones, so you need to be prepared for the region(s) where you will be traveling. You should look at the weather and climate for your training site so that you pack the correct clothing and are prepared. If you are attending orientation in Saint Paul, Minnesota, you should also check the weather there.
In addition to bringing clothes for daily wear at your placement site, you may want to talk with your host trainer to see if they have any special requirements (e.g. steel-toed or rubber boots), which may be easier to purchase once you have arrived in the U.S. Many towns have “second hand” shops where used clothing can be purchased.
Bring pictures of your family, farm, friends, country, etc. along with maps and other materials to share with your host and the community. Cultural exchange is an important part of the MAST International program and we encourage you to visit schools, agricultural organizations, and other groups who would be interested in learning about you and your country.
It is also a nice gesture for you to bring a small gift for your host trainer (for example, something that is unique or representative of your country).