Orientation FAQs

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

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 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 the following:

Undergraduate students: arrive so you can be on campus early the day of check in and no later than 5pm, so you can check in. Move in on Wednesday, August 19 begins at approximately 10am; check in for orientation begins at 9:00am on Wednesday, August 19, as well.

Graduate students: 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 housing 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 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. 

Where can I get food during orientation? 

Breakfast will be provided at all orientation sessions.

At the undergraduate orientation on Thursday, August 22, ISSA will also provide lunch for students and their families. Food will be available for a variety of diets. Other meals for undergraduates include:

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

Lunch. Students will be responsible to organize their own lunches on Wednesday. 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 Wednesday evening; each student will be responsible to pay for their own meal.

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 at the beginning of your program, and that you are attending each semester after. 

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. Undergraduate Students: multiple cell phone companies will be available at the ISO Resource Fair, and most

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.

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 & Beyond offers an online pre-order service for new students. You may purchase items for your residence hall in advance, and they will be ready for pick up on Wednesday, August 19 at Stepan Center. Bed Bath & Beyond will be at the ND Fall Mall with various hours for you to pick out linens and/or pick up orders. Download the flyer for more information

The beds in Notre Dame’s residence hall rooms are extra-long twin beds (80”). Linens in this size are available in most large U.S. stores such as Bed Bath & 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.  

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. We also recommend you reach out to the Notre Dame Club in your home country.

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.

FAQs for Graduate Students

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.

My spouse will be joining me in the U.S. 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.