Fall 2013 International Student Orientation Program
University Park, PA
August 18-23, 2013
The International Student Orientation is a program for all newly-admitted international students at Penn State's University Park campus. It is offered by the University Office of Global Programs (UOGP) in cooperation with many other University offices to help new students adjust to academic and social life at Penn State, as well as to learn about the local community and U.S. culture.
This is accomplished through a variety of mandatory and optional educational sessions, a required immigration document check, social activities, tours, and opportunities to interact with returning students, Penn State employees, and community members.
Students will learn about:
- Government regulations as they apply to international students;
- Student health and insurance;
- Student finances and registration;
- The higher education system in the United States;
- Academic resources;
- And much more.
Students will make friends and socialize during activities such as:
- The Welcome Fair & Concert;
- Campus tours and shopping trips;
- Group dinner outings;
- Games like soccer, bowling, laser tag, and a scavenger hunt;
- And a one-day, bus trip to Washington D.C. (Tickets may be purchased during Orientation.)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Am I required to attend?
Yes, attendance at the International Student Orientation is MANDATORY unless extraordinary circumstances prevent a student from attending. Attendance is important in order to comply with government regulations for studying in the U.S. Most students find the experience very valuable because it allows them to make friends and get settled in to their new lives before the academic year begins.
It is not necessary to register to attend the Orientation program--all new incoming international students for the semester will be expected. Students should email email@example.com
for questions regarding attendance.
First-year undergraduates (“freshmen”) are also required to attend the New Student Orientation program with newly-arriving American students. More information about this program can be found at orientation.psu.edu
Graduate students may also be required to attend graduate program-specific orientations. (Students are encouraged to check with their graduate program
to determine if this is the case.)
How can I get to Penn State's University Park campus?
Penn State’s University Park campus is located in the town of State College, PA. State College has a small airport (the University Park Airport) with the code SCE. The airport is located about ten minutes away from campus. Students are encouraged to book a flight to this airport if possible.
Students who are unable to book a connecting flight to the University Park Airport will need to find their own bus or automobile transportation to State College, PA. (Penn State employees will not be able to pick up students from airports in other cities.) Below are the distances (by car) from major nearby cities to State College, PA. Note that a bus ride may take longer due to stops along the way.
Cities and their approximate traveling time
(by car) to State College, PA.
|Harrisburg, PA||About 1 hour and 45 minutes away|
|Philadelphia, PA||About 3 hours away|
|Pittsburgh, PA||About 3 hours away|
|Baltimore, MD||About 3 hours away|
|Washington D.C.||About 4 hours away|
|New York City, NY||About 4 hours and 45 minutes away|
To learn more about how to get to State College from an airport in another city, read the Orientation Blog.
How can I arrange my housing accommodations before arrival in the U.S.?
First-year undergraduate students are required to live on campus during their first academic year. Non-first-year undergraduates and graduate students who are interested in on-campus housing should contact the Assignment Office to check on availability.
- Learn more on the Housing website: www.housing.psu.edu.
- To view your on-campus room assignment, click on “My Room” at: www.eLiving.psu.edu.
- The residence halls are closed during the three official University closedown periods: fall break, the break between fall and spring semesters, and spring break. Students are expected to vacate the residence halls during those times. For students who must remain on campus during closedown periods, a Break Access Housing Contract is available for an additional fee. Contact the Assignment Office to learn how to request Break Housing.
- The Assignment Office can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 814-865-7501.
Non-first-year undergraduates and graduate students may live off campus. Some useful resources for finding off-campus housing are:
The search for off-campus housing is very competitive so students are encouraged to look for housing well before their arrival in order to secure a suitable place to live.
What if I'm enrolled at a different Penn State campus?
Students enrolled at a different campus should not attend the International Student Orientation program at University Park. Contact the international student representative
at your Penn State campus to learn what programs and services are available for newly-arriving international students.
What should I do before I arrive?
Scan Your Immigration Documents
Return to the online system (iStart) that you used to request your I-20/DS-2019 and please answer some questions and upload scanned copies of your immigration documents. The U.S. government requires that you do this so that you remain in legal status to study in the United States. Follow these steps:
- Log on to iStart
- Go to the Pre-Arrival Checklist and click on the option “Complete DISSA Online Document Check-In.”
- Complete the questions and upload scanned copies of the requested documents. (Remember to sign your I-20/DS-2019 before scanning it.
- Review the instructions in the Pre-Arrival Checklist if you get confused.
- Questions may be sent to: DocumentCheckIn@ip.psu.edu.
Prepare for New Student Orientation (“Freshmen” Only)
First-year undergraduates should complete the Educational Planning Survey and Placement Tests online. This will prepare you for the New Student Orientation and your first-semester classes. For more information, visit orientation.psu.edu
Is pick-up service available from the local airport or bus stations?
Between 9:00 am on August 17 and the last flight on August 21, a free pick-up service will be available from the University Park Airport or the local bus stations in State College to the Penn State University Park campus. This service will be available 24 hours a day by calling 814-777-7597 upon arrival.
Students moving directly into an off-campus apartment should take one of the taxi cabs waiting at the airport or call a local taxi company
Where can I live before the residence halls open or before my apartment lease begins?
Temporary housing will be available in the East Halls residence area from the night of August 1 until 5:00 pm on Monday, August 19 for international students and their spouses and/or children. At 5:00 pm on August 19, undergraduates may move into their permanent on-campus housing assignment. Please note:
- Students arriving on August 16 or earlier should fill out this online form to request early arrival housing. Student arriving on August 17 or later do not need to make a housing reservation since their arrival for International Student Orientation will be expected.
- Students must pay a $20 fee for each night that they live in on-campus facilities before their housing contract officially begins.
- The only accepted forms of payment are cash, American dollars, traveler’s checks, personal checks from a U.S. bank account, or credit card (Mastercard or Visa).
- International students will be matched with a randomly assigned roommate of their gender during their stay in the temporary housing.
- The room contains two beds (but no bedding materials such as pillow, sheets, and blanket), two desks, a mini refrigerator and a microwave. It will look like this.
- Parents of students, siblings, friends, etc. will need to make other housing arrangements during Orientation. (The Atherton Hotel, the Nittany Lion Inn, the Days Inn, and the Imperial Motor Inn are all within walking distance of campus.)
When will I move into permanent housing?
Housing in on-campus residence halls for students with pre-arranged contracts will begin at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, August 19. All new international students must move out of the temporary housing on this date so the rooms can be cleaned for other incoming students. Please note:
- Transportation will be provided to on-campus residences (including the graduate student White Course Apartments) on the evening of August 19 beginning at 5:00 pm.
- Students moving to off-campus apartments should call a local taxi company for pick up.
- The $20 per night early arrival fee will continue to be charged to students in the residence halls for the nights of August 19-22. On campus housing contracts officially begin on Friday, August 23.
- Students who do not have a permanent place to live after move-out from Orientation housing should e-mail email@example.com to learn about additional temporary housing options.
Will meals be provided during Orientation?
As the start of the semester approaches, students living on campus will gain the use of their Campus Meal Plan
to purchase meals on campus. The Campus Meal Plan is accessible through the Penn State id+ card
What should I do upon arrival?
Students should find time during Orientation to accomplish the following:
- Check into the temporary Orientation housing in East Halls (if needed)
- Stop by the Orientation Headquarters in the HUB-Robeson Center, which will be open from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm on August 17-23. Meet with an Orientation Leader to receive an Orientation Handbook & Schedule and ask questions.
- Attend all of the mandatory Orientation sessions listed in the Orientation Handbook & Schedule. Voluntary sessions and social activities are also useful and fun!
- Get a Penn State id+ card in 103 HUB-Robeson Center. Students will use this card for meals, as a library card, for entrance into the residence halls, and much more.
- Activate an Access Account, which allows students to use the full range of Internet services on campus, such as WebMail, eLION, ANGEL, access to the computer labs, access to Penn State Wireless, and more.
- Take care of the mandatory health insurance requirement and report immunizations.
- Open up a local bank account (if necessary)
Want to contact the international student group for your nationality?
Have an emergency after you arrive?
Penn State University Police
20 Eisenhower Parking Deck
University Park, PA 16802
814-863-1111 (available 24 hours a day)
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