So you got accepted and you confirmed your enrollment at the U. You have already told all your friends and family that you are going to the University of Minnesota, and now that your college search is over, you feel like there is nothing else left to do. Naturally, you start worrying about other things: document checking, housing during August, making friends etc. Since I was in your shoes last year too, I decided to write the guide to help your transition to college.
1) Document check upon arrival on an US airport
After an exhausting 10+ hour flight (for most of us at least), you will land on US land at one of the major international airports: Minneapolis, Chicago, New York, Atlanta etc. depending on where your connecting flight is. Upon arrival, you will have to have your visa checked. You will be asked to show your passport and your I-20 (this is the most important document for a student, it is basically your residence permit) and then you will be ten-printed. Since you are a student, your document check will not take long, but keep in mind that the entire process may take up to 1 hour, so make sure you have at least a 1 hour 30 min layover.
2) From the airport to the campus
There are many ways to get from the airport to campus: taxi, bus, light rail etc.,but since most probably you are not familiar with campus, the University has provided a FREE service to pick you up and take you to campus, the Gopher Chauffer. The Gopher Chauffer van will pick up students every hour at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. You can book your spot and read more about the service here.
(In the picture above: The Gopher Chauffer van)
3) On campus
By the end of July you will be notified of your room assignments and your new roommates, but you will also be told that your move-in date to your permament rooms for the year is somewhere between the 24-27th of August. But FEAR NOT! We also have a solution for that: the International Reception Center. This is a temporary housing arrangement for all the new international students arriving on campus. Basically, you will be living in a dorm on campus, like Centennial Hall, until your move-in date comes.The cost of staying at the IRC is $23 per night per person. But the best thing about being in the IRC is that you will meet a lot of other international students, who like you also want to make friends and have a good time. Here is where I met two of my friends who now are also International Student Ambassadors like me, Leo and Kazi. You can book your room and read more about the IRC here.
As an international student, it is natural to feel nervous about all of this. You are travelling to a new country, in a new environment, and with new people. It is all very stressful and happenning too fast, but you are going to do just fine. I know I did. :)
Until next time!