Practical Tips

Preparing to move to another country for study can be exciting and a bit overwhelming, but we're here to help. Below, find our tips for a smooth transition into the U.S., including information about health insurance, immunizations, banking, cell phones, and filing taxes.

Health Insurance

Federal and state law require international students to obtain health insurance issued by a U.S. insurance provider. There are several ways you can purchase the required insurance:

  1. From Lesley's insurance carrier 
  2. From a plan listed on the Massachusetts Health Connector
  3. From a provider specializing in coverage for international students, including:

Watch this helpful video to learn more about the U.S. healthcare and health insurance systems.

Immunizations

Massachusetts requires all university students to have certain immunizations. Get immunization information and the forms you need to provide proof of immunization.

Bank Accounts

It's important to file "travel reports" with your bank and credit card companies at home to let them know that you will use these accounts to make purchases in the U.S.

If you choose to open a local bank account, these resources may help you make a wise decision:

Cell Phones

If you feel you need a cellphone during your time abroad, consider a pay-per-minute phone, or a provider that offers short-term plans.

Check out these resources below to consider what phone choices are right for your time abroad. And remember there’s always Skype!

Filing Taxes

All F-1 students must file tax returns for each year in the United States. You’ll need to file a tax form for yourself and your dependents even if you did not earn any income during the tax year. Because U.S. tax law is complex, we strongly recommend that you consult with a professional tax specialist.

Here are a few recommendations:

Sprintax is an online tax preparation service exclusively for non-resident international students and scholars. It offers Lesley students a $5 discount.

The Volunteer Income Tax Association (VITA) offers free tax help to people who earn $58,000 or less per year. The following VITA center has confirmed that they are able to assist F-1 non-resident students with their taxes:

VITA at Bunker Hill Community College
Visit at 250 New Rutherford Avenue, Room D-206, Boston, MA 02129

Before visiting a VITA center other than the one listed above, check to see if they can help F-1 non-residents. Bring these tax documents to your appointment: Form W-2, Form 1095-A, your social security card, passport, and I-20.

Contact International Student Services