Graduate International Student Orientation

Master’s and doctoral students within the Graduate School: 

International Student Orientation is embedded within Graduate Student Orientation. Graduate Student Orientation is scheduled for August 3 and 4; more information can be found here.

Professional students in Mendoza College of Business, the Law School, and the ESTEEM program:

International student orientation will be embedded in your program orientation.

Important considerations for return travel to the U.S.

Housing

Graduate students or students living off campus, should contact their landlord to arrange a move in time prior to the start of Graduate Student Orientation. We generally advise students to arrive Monday to Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm, so as to collect keys. Generally apartment complexes are only open at those times.

It is important to understand the obligations of any lease, particularly if signing before you have the visa. If you are unable to arrive in the U.S., even if through no fault of your own, in most cases, you will still be held liable for the lease. Students unable to arrive in the U.S. may also attempt to sublease their rental on the offcampus.nd.edu website, subject to the terms of their lease agreement.

Students who need temporary housing prior to moving into their permanent residence, may stay at Sacred Heart Parish Center for a fee by contacting Christina Maciejczyk or calling +1 574-631-9436.

For more information about temporary housing or hotels, please visit find.nd.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is Orientation really mandatory? Why?

Yes, Orientation is mandatory for F-1 and J-1 visa holders. The primary goals of the program are to help new international students comply with their U.S. visa-related obligations, inform 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 maintain their visa status and help them make the most out of their time at the University. It also provides an opportunity to meet other international students.

Is there a fee to attend orientation?

No, Notre Dame does not charge a fee to attend International Student Orientation.

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 you arrive no later than the day prior to your scheduled orientation session. Plan to arrive in South Bend, Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm so you can access your apartment keys.

Flights from my country do not go to South Bend. What airport should I fly in to?

Though the closest airport to Notre Dame is the South Bend International Airport, most students fly into Chicago-O’Hare Airport (ORD) or Chicago Midway (MDW) and take an UBER or Megabus to campus.

We highly recommend flying into Chicago if you cannot get a flight to South Bend, as there is no convenient public transportation from Indianapolis, IN, or Detroit, MI, to South Bend.

I will be coming to Notre Dame 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 Megabus Notre Dame Bus Stop, you will be on campus and right next to the visitor center.

What is the difference between visa registration, class registration, and ND Roll Call? What will happen if I have a hold on my account and do not complete ND Roll Call?

Students with an F-1 or J-1 visa have multiple registration obligations while at Notre Dame. It is important to manage each registration, as they are required to maintain your F-1 or J-1 status.

Class registration: students must be enrolled full time each semester. Class registration is when you add courses to your schedule.

ND Roll Call: a required process for all Notre Dame students each semester which confirms to the University that you are attending that particular semester. ISSA uses ND Roll Call to register you with the U.S. government, so it is imperative you complete this each semester through insideND. If you have a hold on your account and do not complete ND Roll Call, then you will not be registered with the U.S. government.

F-1 and J-1 Registration: ISSA reports to the U.S. government that you have arrived on campus to begin your program.

I need a phone to call home. Where and when can I get one, and what kind should I get?

Most students eventually purchase a cell phone and contract with a national company, such as Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or Cricket. 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. 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. Please refer to University Health Services for questions regarding health insurance.

What are some expenses I should be prepared for right away?

We recommend having access to at least USD$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 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 in an apartment, 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.

When will I receive information about international student orientation?

International Student Orientation for graduate students is part of Graduate Student Orientation, so look for the Maintaining Status sessions on the GSO schedule. We'll send out additional information about what to bring to that session later this summer.

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 the Maintaining Status session. If you have a conflict with your department’s orientation schedule, please email issa@nd.edu as well as your department contact. We’ll find a way to make it work for you.

My spouse will be joining me in the U.S. What should they do while I am at orientation?

Your spouse is welcome to join you. Each year, many international student spouses attend the Maintaining Status session; we believe it is key for spouses to get involved on campus right from the start. Unfortunately, children cannot attend; other arrangements should be made.

When should I sign a lease for my apartment?

We recommend students wait until they have the F-1 or J-1 visa before signing a lease, or be sure that you can cancel the lease if you are not able to arrive on campus. As a lease contract is between the student and the landlord, the University cannot assist with problems related to canceling a lease.