Frequently Asked Questions
"What should I bring? Where will I stay? When should I arrive?"
Frequently asked questions from International Students:
- When should I arrive? Please make your travel arrangements as soon as you can. You should plan to arrive at the Eastern Iowa Airport (CID) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Thursday, August 25 or Friday, August 26.
- Who will pick me up and where will I stay? There may be an opportunity for you to partake in our Homestay Program upon your arrival. You may be greeted by our Intercultural Life Office staff or by a community member who will serve as your host family. However, please note that a host family is not guaranteed in each circumstance. If this is the case, be assured that you will still receive the services offered by our Homestay Program. You will learn more about our Homestay Program in a later message.
- Who is my roommate? As soon as roommate selection is complete and you have made your deposit to the college, we will contact you with his/her name and e-mail address. For more information about roommates click here.
- What should I bring with me? Most international students are limited as to what they can bring to college. A shopping list is provided for you with suggestions about the items you’ll need for your room and for classes. We encourage you to do most of your shopping AFTER you arrive. Your host family or ICL staff will be glad to help you . American students tend to bring lots of electronic equipment to college (TV, DVD player, CD player, computer, etc.) so you don’t have to worry about making expensive purchases.
- Am I required to purchase health insurance? This information will also be sent to you over the summer via e-mail. You are required to purchase the college’s health insurance.
- Will I need to have a medical exam after I arrive? No, but you WILL be required to take a tuberculosis (TB) test even if you have done so in your own country. We will help you make an appointment at the Health Center for this simple procedure. Please remember to send your health forms to the college with your other admission materials before you arrive.
- Do I need to open a bank account? Many students are comfortable with using a credit and/or debit card to make purchases or pay fees. There are three banks in Mt. Vernon if you prefer to open an account locally. In addition, there is an ATM machine in the Thomas Commons building on campus. It is not a good idea to carry large amounts of cash or keep cash in your room, so we recommend opening an account.
- Am I allowed to work while in the U.S.? Some international students are allowed to work while studying in the U.S. Questions about your financial aid and eligibility may be directed to Pam Perry at email@example.com
- What documents should I keep with me when I travel? There are several important documents to keep with you at all times. The most vital are your passport, I-20 and I-94.
- Is the dining hall open during breaks? Dining halls are open during block breaks but during times when the campus is closed (i.e. Winter and Summer break) the dining halls will be closed. You will have access to kitchens in your residence hall and there is a local grocery store where students can pick up groceries.
- Can I arrive to campus before ISO starts? Will the college provide me accommodation then? You need to arrive on campus on the day specified by the Office of Intercultural Life. Due to minimal staffing, the college cannot house you prior to the date specified for you to arrive.
- What happens to my belongings over break? During Spring and Winter Break your belongings stay in your room and you do not need to move them out, however, during the long Summer break, you need to move completely out of your room. Storage is available in town. Check out the nearby storage facilities.
- On campus employment: how does it work? If you have been given a work study as part of your financial aid package you are guaranteed campus employment and will be placed in a position when you arrive. This position will depend upon the experience and preferences that you submit to Financial Aid Services. If work-study is not part of your financial aid then you are free to look for a job ON CAMPUS once you arrive.
- How do I make long-distance phone calls? The college does not offer long-distance phone service; you should plan to bring or buy an international calling card or cell phone. You will have a college e-mail address so you can communicate with your family and friends at home. If you do not own a computer, you may use one of the many computers on campus.
- Who will help me register with SEVIS and issue my I-20? Any questions regarding documentation should be addressed to Ken Morris, Director of Intercultural Life (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Heather Roberts, Assistant Director of Intercultural Life (email@example.com).
- If English is not my first language, will I have to take special classes? Any student whose first language is not English will be required to take the English Placement Test. For those who may need some assistance in reading, writing or listening comprehension, English as a Second Language (ESL) will be offered during Term One. Students enrolled in ESL receive full course credit.