• Mr. Jeff Neill

Transition Chat: Transportation

As students make the transition from their familiar environs and homes to other locales around the globe, there are a number of points to consider in regards to how a college student gets around. We discuss the concept of traveling to college and of the initial drop-off at college in another post, so this space is designated just for the logistics of transportation. More generally, the question we hope for seniors and their parents to discuss is as follows:

What are the expectations and parameters around transportation while at university?

Here are several additional questions and points to consider:

  • What are the available means of transportation around your college campus? (Given that this discussion may take place prior to knowing the final destination, be sure to come back to this question later, but explore the following nonetheless.)

  • Alumni Advice: Be sure to talk about your parents’ expectations before you leave. I caused my parents a panic attack when they saw that I had been using Uber to get around on weekends. Where they come from, getting into a car with a stranger is entirely unacceptable while it is pretty common in my host country.

  • What are acceptable methods of transportation, including taxis, Ubers (or the equivalent), trains, subways, busses, etc?

  • Taxis, Ubers, and municipal (city-run) public transportation are usually more expensive in the US than elsewhere, but university-run shuttle/bus services (probably more common or at least more comprehensive at large universities?) are often inexpensive or free (or included already in student fees).

  • Additionally, public transportation can elicit culture shock in some parts of the world, where subways, trains, and busses are less reliable and less clean in comparison to other parts of the world, for example. In the US, in particular, travel by car is far more common.

  • What are your thoughts and expectations about getting into vehicles with other students? Their parents? Relatives? In what circumstances would these be acceptable or not?

  • Does your college provide shuttle services?

  • How do you plan to get to and from the airport?

  • Do you plan to get a driver’s license? Have you explored getting one in your home country or in your destination country? (Keep in mind some places are easier than others, and some countries have reciprocity agreements where foreign licenses are accepted while others do not.)

  • Do you plan to have a vehicle at college? Have you discussed the possibility of using a ZipCar? Are freshmen allowed to have cars? Where would you park your car?

  • Keep in mind that not all countries drive on the right-hand side!

  • Alumni Advice: Don’t ever get into a vehicle with someone who has been drinking alcohol. Ever.

  • What are your guidelines for being a driver? Who will you allow in the car with you? What should you do if you’ve consumed substances and your car is there to drive home?

  • Will you get into a car with someone who has been drinking? What if they only have one drink?

This piece is part of a series on “transitioning to college.” We encourage graduating seniors and their parents or guardians to engage in discussion on a weekly basis about these topics. If you have feedback or additional ideas or perspectives to share, please let us know so we can incorporate your thoughts into revisions of our posts.

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