Orientation FAQs

After reviewing the information below, please contact ISSA with any additional questions. 

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 early the day of check in. Check in for orientation begins the afternoon of Tuesday, August 14; please be sure to arrive in South Bend before 5pm, so you can check in.  

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 the shuttle bus with Coach USA, which will drop you off by the Eck Visitor Center on 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 Coach USA Notre Dame Bus Stop, you will be on campus and right next to the visitor center.  

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

Each year, many international student spouses 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. Unfortunately, children cannot participate in Orientation; other arrangements should be made.

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 Online Student Health. We also recommend you submit the Medical History and Physical Report to University Health Services before you leave your home country.  

Where can I get food during orientation? 

On Wednesday, August 15, ISSA will provide breakfast and lunch for students and their families. Food will be available for a variety of diets. 

Breakfast. We will organize groups to meet in specific quads to go to breakfast together on Thursday and Friday morning; each student will be responsible to pay for their own meals. 

Lunch. Students will be responsible to organize their own lunches on Tuesday and Thursday. Several campus restaurants and dining halls will also be open during this time.

Dinner. We will organize groups to go to local restaurants for dinner on Tuesday and Wednesday evening; each student will be responsible to pay for their own meals. There are limited seats for the Campus Ministry sponsored meal on Thursday evening; tickets will be distributed with name tags at Orientation check in. 

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 issa@nd.edu 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 recommend that you contact the student club representing your home country or region – 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 Cultural Clubs, visit SAO.nd.edu

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

Multiple cell phone countries will be available at the ISO Resource Fair, and most students eventually purchase a cell phone and contract with a national company such as Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, 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 is ND Roll Call? What will happen if I have a hold on my account and do not complete ND Roll Call? 

ND Roll Call is a required process which confirms to the University that a student is attending a particular semester. This is different from class registration, which is when a student adds courses to his or her schedule, and immigration registration, after which ISSA reports your arrival to the U.S. government. Students will have 10 days to complete the ND Roll Call process through insideND each semester, which allows ISSA to continue to register your program participation with the U.S. government.  

Is Orientation really mandatory? Why?

Yes, Orientation is mandatory! 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 help them make the most out of their time at the University and maintain their status. It also provides an opportunity to meet other international students. 

Can I ship packages to campus? If so, where can I ship them? 

Yes, undergraduates may ship packages to their residence halls, but they cannot arrive before Welcome Weekend. 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.

The ISSA staff would like to remind you to plan carefully if you are shipping packages or luggage to campus. We understand the challenges of transporting all of your belongings to campus and encourage you to plan carefully. We recommend that students do bring a set of 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.

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 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.

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 may 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. 

Can my parents stay in my room with me? 

Your parents may NOT stay in the residence hall with you during Orientation or Welcome Weekend. They must make their own housing arrangements. Options can be found on find.nd.edu

I don’t have the right linens/sheets to fit a Notre Dame bed. Where can I buy them?

Bed, Bath and Beyond will have a table at Orientation Check-in, and they will have the necessary linens. Beds in Notre Dame’s residence hall rooms are extra-long twin beds (80”), and 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.