Undergraduate International Student Orientation

More information about Fall 2020 International Student Orientation will be made available soon, but as the most recent message from Student Affairs indicated, we expect incoming international students to arrive on campus on August 1 and attend orientation on August 2.

We understand your arrival may be impacted by global travel restrictions and the suspension of visa processing; we continue to monitor the situation and will provide additional information regarding accommodations for late arrivals very soon.

We know it is important to have timely information for making travel plans, and we appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we navigate an evolving and complicated landscape.

Important considerations for return travel to the U.S.

Move In

Undergraduate students who attend International Student Orientation will receive move-in information from Residential Life. Due to current health and safety measures, move-in times will be assigned. See Student Affairs June message for more information. Parents and family members are not permitted to stay in residence hall rooms. If your family joins you for orientation, they will need to make their own housing arrangements.

If your flight is delayed and you miss your assigned move-in time, please contact your Rector to make arrangements. You can find your Rector’s information within your housing email or you can look them up here.

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.

What is the difference between International Student Orientation and Welcome Week?

International Student Orientation (ISO) is different than Welcome Week, and it’s important to understand that both are required for incoming undergraduates. While ISSA organizes International Student Orientation, Student Affairs organizes Welcome Week; you will receive information from both divisions regarding your participation.  

International Student Orientation provides international students with invaluable information and resources to maintain their visa status, engage the international community at the university, and navigate the adjustment to U.S. and Notre Dame culture. 

For Fall 2020, international students will move in at their assigned time on Saturday, August 1, as well as complete orientation check-in and visa registration. Official International Student Orientation programming will be on Sunday, August 2.

Welcome Week is designed to help all new students make connections, learn about campus resources, and form community. This year, Welcome Week is scheduled to take place in two identical sessions: 

  • Monday, August 2 to Tuesday, August 4, and 
  • Wednesday, August 5 to Thursday, August 6 

Following the conclusion of each Welcome program on Tuesday, Aug. 4 or Thursday. Aug. 6, student-only programming will continue through the start of classes. Each student is able to bring up to two family members or guests. New students living on campus will attend a program based on their assigned move in date. 

First year assignments are currently planned for release on Friday, July 10. New undergraduate students and their parents can expect further details about Welcome Week in early July. More information can be found here. To supplement Welcome Week, we are excited to create new virtual welcome content that will be released on this site

Is there a fee to attend international student 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 arriving the day before your assigned move-in time. You will be responsible for any housing and travel accommodations, but students have consistently said they appreciated the extra night of rest before moving in. This also ensures that flight delays do not impact your move in time.

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 once I’m in South Bend. 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 Eck 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. 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.

My parents will be coming to Notre Dame with me. Do I need to stay on campus during International Student Orientation?

While you must move in at your assigned time, 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 Week. They must make their own housing arrangements. Options can be found on find.nd.edu.

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 your assigned move in time. 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. More recommendations will be provided in July via webinar and IA chats.