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FAQs for All International Students
I am getting ready to buy my plane ticket to Notre Dame. What day should I fly in?
If your travel plans allow for it, we recommend arriving the day before Orientation. You will then be able to get a good night’s sleep before Orientation. The closest airport to Notre Dame is the South Bend Regional Airport (SBN).
Flights from my country do not go to South Bend. What airport should I fly in to?
The closest international airport is Chicago-O’Hare Airport (ORD). A private company called Coach Bus Lines operates a bus service from Chicago O'Hare (ORD) or Midway (MDW) airports to the University of Notre Dame. You may find the bus schedule and purchase your ticket in advance at http://www.coachusa.com. If you would prefer not to purchase your ticket in advance, you may also buy it on the bus. The trip takes about 3 hours and you will be dropped off at the Hammes Bookstore on Notre Dame’s campus. Additionally, the Royal Excusion Express Line provides bus service from Midway (MDW) airport to Notre Dame. You are encouraged to make a reservation 24 hours in advance at www.goreel.com. We highly recommend flying into Chicago if you cannot get a flight to South Bend. There is no convenient public transportation from Indianapolis, IN, or Detroit, MI, to South Bend.
I will be coming to ND by myself and I am not sure where to go. How do I get to campus?
If you arrive at the South Bend Airport, there will be a variety of taxis waiting at the airport that can drive you to campus for a fee of about $20-$30. If you arrive at the Coach Bus Lines Notre Dame Bus Stop, you will be on campus and right next to the visitor center. For instructions for arriving at the Notre Dame Bus Stop, click here.
My spouse will be joining me in the US. What should they do while I am at Orientation?
Each year, many international student spouses and families attend Orientation; we believe it is key for spouses to get involved on campus right from the start. Your spouse is welcome to join you at Orientation workshops and meals. We will be offering several workshops specifically for spouses, including an information session about the English as a Second Language (ESL) for Spouses classes, an immigration question-and-answer session, and a meet-and-greet with spouses currently on campus. You and your spouse can let us know which events he/she plans to attend by completing the International Student Orientation Registration Form by July 1.
I’ll be on campus for a few days before Orientation. What should I do?
There are several errands you can take care of before Orientation. First, visit International Student and Scholar Affairs (ISSA) in 105 Main Building and register with us; you may also register during International Student Orientation. You may visit your college or department and meet your advisor, get your Notre Dame ID, set up a bank account, and purchase a cell phone, if you choose. There will be banks and phone companies at orientation, too.
Why do I need to complete all the medical forms?
The State of Indiana requires that all college students in the state, including U.S. citizens, submit proof of certain immunizations in order to enable the University to provide a safe and healthy environment. You may find the list of required immunizations at University Health Services. In addition to providing proof of immunizations, Indiana State law also requires all international students be screened for tuberculosis (TB) by a medical professional in the United States.
We encourage you to enter your vaccinations online at http://onlinestudenthealth.nd.edu and complete the Medical History and Physical Report and return it to University Health Services before you leave your home country. This will enable our nursing staff to determine whether you meet all requirements in advance, resulting in a shorter wait time for you at Orientation registration.
Where can I get food during Orientation?
For Fall orientation, ISSA will provide breakfast and lunch for students and their families on Day One, and breakfast on Day Two. The week before Welcome Weekend (August 18-20) North Dining Hall is open ONLY to those who have made special arrangements with the Campus Card Office. Several campus eateries will also be open during this time in case you would like to grab extra snacks. For more information, on special hours of operation, visit the Notre Dame Food Services website. Fall meal plans begin at 4:30pm, Sunday, August 20.
According to my department, I have a class/orientation/workshop during International Student Orientation! What should I do?
A few University departments have orientations that overlap with International Student Orientation. If you have a conflict with your department’s orientation schedule, please email email@example.com as well as your department contact. We’ll find a way to make it work for you.
Can I talk to a Notre Dame student from my country?
We will do our best to connect you with a current Notre Dame student from your home country. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will facilitate this connection. You may also contact the student club representing your home country – many clubs maintain active websites and even provide tips for adjustment to the U.S. in your native language. For a complete list of Notre Dame clubs, visit http://sao.nd.edu/groups/alphabetical.html.
I need a phone to call home. Where and when can I get one, and what kind should I get?
There are many options for making international calls from campus. You can find detailed information on long-distance and cell phone options in our 2016-17 International Student Handbook. Most students eventually purchase a cell phone and contract with a national company such as Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint. Please note: Many phone companies require you to have a Social Security number (SSN) or a U.S. credit history in order to register for their services. Since many international students do not have a SSN or U.S. credit history, companies may charge you a substantial deposit or higher rates. Be sure to ask about this as you compare your options.
How do I arrange health insurance? How do I pay for it?
All international students are automatically enrolled in the Notre Dame health insurance plan, Aetna Student Health, unless they present proof of comparable coverage to Aetna and are permitted to waive out of the ND plan. Please refer to http://uhs.nd.edu/insurance-billing/ for details regarding the 2016-2017 plan. Health insurance charges will be billed directly to your student account. One of the mandatory sessions during Orientation will review the details of your insurance policy and how to use University Health Services.
What is ND Roll Call? What will happen if I have a hold on my account and do not complete ND Roll Call?
If you do not register with ISSA and attend the mandatory immigration workshop at Orientation, a hold will be placed on your account and you will be unable to complete ND Roll Call. ND Roll Call is a required process which informs the University that a student is attending a particular semester. This is different from registration, which is when a student adds courses to his or her schedule. Students will have roughly two weeks to complete the ND Roll Call process through insideND each semester.
Is Orientation really mandatory? Why?
Yes, Orientation is really mandatory! The primary goals of the program are to help new international students comply with their U.S. visa-related obligations, apprise them of Notre Dame’s support services, and introduce them to Notre Dame’s vibrant campus culture. International Student Orientation provides international students with invaluable information and resources to help them make the most out of their time at the University and maintain their status.
Can I ship packages to campus? If so, where can I ship them?
The ISSA staff would like to remind you to plan carefully if you are shipping packages or luggage to campus.
- Packages shipped to your undergraduate residence hall address may not be delivered until August 18. If a package arrives any earlier, it will likely be returned to sender.
- ISSA CANNOT accept packages or shipments for students since we do not have secure storage space. If you ship a personal package to our office, your package will be returned to sender.
We understand the challenges of transporting all of your belongings to campus and encourage you to plan carefully. We recommend that students do bring bed sheets for their first few nights in the residence hall.
Is there a fee to attend Orientation?
No, Notre Dame does not charge a fee to attend International Student Orientation.
Where can I purchase a bicycle?
Many Notre Dame students purchase new or used bicycles to get around campus. Specialty bike stores in South Bend typically sell more expensive models, including elaborate 12-speed and 18-speed racing models or rugged all-terrain bicycles. If you are looking for a simpler option, you can find inexpensive new bicycles at large stores such as Wal-Mart or Meijer. These stores do not deliver or hold your purchase, so make sure you have a way to transport your bike home (we do not recommend trying to ride home that first time!). Used bikes can be found at:
ND Surplus Store – The university sells items it no longer needs at the Surplus Store, occasionally including bicycles. Check the website for availability: surplus.nd.edu.
- ND Classifieds – Log in to inside.nd.edu and click on the Student Life tab. The classifieds box will be on the right. Students advertise cars, bicycles, refrigerators, apartments, and more.
- Advertisements in The Observer and the South Bend Tribune.
Don’t forget to buy a bicycle helmet and review traffic regulations before you get on the road.
Where can I purchase furniture for my unfurnished apartment?
For information about buying or renting furniture and household goods, visit the Clothing and Household Items page.
If you live in University Village or Cripe Street Apartments, please contact the Village Office 574.631.9145 for more information about the Village Barter Board, Exchange, and the Furniture Rental Program.
What are some expenses I should be prepared for right away?
- We recommend having access to at least $500 in funds when you arrive. This should cover your initial expenses such as extra food and snacks, the purchase of essential items for your dorm room/apartment such as sheets and towels, and taxi cabs if necessary. Large airports have money exchanges, and Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) for use with debit cards, are widely available in the United States.
- You can expect to spend between $350 and $500 on textbooks for your classes each semester. You will want to purchase the textbooks as soon as you confirm your class schedule.
- If you are living off campus, you will also want to make sure that you have enough funds to cover a number of immediate expenses: security deposit for your apartment (often equivalent to one month’s rent), security deposits for setting up utilities such as electricity, gas, phone, internet, etc., furniture, and the purchase of basic household goods such as linens and kitchen supplies.
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FAQs for Undergraduate Students
My parents will be coming to Notre Dame with me. Do I need to stay on campus during International Student Orientation?
You are free to stay with your parents off-campus if you prefer. If you plan to stay with your parents during Orientation, we recommend that you tell your Rector your plans when you move items into your residence hall.
And… Can my parents stay in my room with me?
Your parents may not stay in the residence hall with you during Orientation or Freshman Orientation. If your parents are joining you in South Bend, please review the lodging options found at the Temporary Housing and Hotels page.
I don’t have the right linens/sheets to fit a Notre Dame bed. Where can I buy them?
Beds in Notre Dame’s residence hall rooms are extra-long twin beds (80”). These linens are available in most large U.S. stores such as Bed, Bath and Beyond, Target, Walmart, etc or online.
I took a leave of absence from Notre Dame, so I already went through Orientation. Do I really need to come again?
Yes, you are required to attend Orientation again. Immigration regulations change quickly and it is our responsibility to ensure that you receive the most updated information. Notre Dame policies and practices also change over time, and it is critical for you to know about these changes so that your return to ND will go smoothly. If you do not register and attend the mandatory immigration workshop at Orientation, a hold will be placed on your account and you will be unable to complete ND Roll Call (formerly known as Web Enrollment).
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