Student Experience Blog

Back on track, back in C-town!

By Dorgham Abusalim

Yes! I’m back despite many who would say it is too early to be back. It is interesting with us international students; many of us have a tendency of returning early, often about a week before the actual move-in day. Some of the reasons include having a good period of time to get over the jetlag and getting all moved in and settled into our housing, which normally takes a day or two. I’ve been crashing at a friend’s couch for the past two nights. I think I have one more night ahead of me.

For many international students the trip to Caldwell is always interesting, even to those of us who have been through it several times already. I think it is safe to say that such experiences occur because Boise’s airport, the state’s capital, is not an international one. So, always before returning to the U.S., be sure that you have your domestic flight to Boise figured out.

It can be an irritating process, so I thought of giving you an insight into my experiences of travelling to C-town. Normally, I would book an international flight, which is pretty straightforward, either to John F. Kennedy international airport (JFK), New York; O’Hare international airport (ORD), Chicago; or another port of entry. My first time coming to the U.S. was through JFK; it was packed with people to the point where I had to wait several hours to reach the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office and get admitted into the U.S., and I missed the domestic flight I had booked to Boise.

If I recall correctly, during my second journey to the U.S. I went through Chicago’s ORD. It was just as packed, but I managed to catch my domestic flight by making sure I had plenty of hours before my connecting flight. Using the same idea I returned to the U.S. for the third time.

My fourth trip back, which was only three nights ago, was the most tiresome one. I came into the U.S. without arranging my domestic flight, and the only ticket I found bound to Boise was hours ahead, 12 and a half hours to be exact. So I spent them at the airport while waiting for my flight. After having flown from the Middle East, waiting for that long got very consuming.

I advise you to make sure that you get your flying hours in proper order including connection times, and the time necessary to go through Customs and Border Protection, especially if you are a first time visitor to the U.S.

You might wonder why this is the case. The understanding I developed is that the U.S. doesn’t have international transits; you actually have to be admitted at your first port of entry, pick up your luggage, and then head to the domestic terminal. That’s where you’ll be leaving to Boise from your port of entry.

As far as the trip to Boise goes, it is much smoother. All sorts of routes are available, some are non-stop, some include 1 stop, and others have 2 stops in the U.S. The location of the stops depends on your port of entry. They normally include Minneapolis, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and/or other cities. I’ve had stops at several regional airports. All of them are enjoyable to go through and have a good meal or a refreshing beverage.After all, now you have made it the U.S., and should celebrate such occasion with some good relaxing time while on domestic transit.

When you get to The College of Idaho, the celebration only gets better.

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