You've received your student visa! So, what's next? Naturally, you will have lots of questions about the nearest airport, what to bring with you, where to buy supplies and how to transition to life here in Lafayette. Keep these considerations in mind as you plan your move and make sure to review our Next Steps Checklist for specific information.
First, secure on or off-campus housing. It is important to have a place to stay prior to your arrival. While on campus housing is not required for international students, it does come with a meal plan and allows students to be able to walk to classes. Campus parking spaces are also available for those students who choose to live on campus. Some students, especially those with dietary restrictions or those who prefer to have a full kitchen, may opt to live off-campus. There are several apartments within walking distance from campus and some that even provide shuttle service to campus. Both on and off campus apartments typically provide a service that will match you with a roommate with similar interests.
Make sure to exchange your money for U.S. dollars prior to leaving for U.S. You will need approximately $20,000 to pay for tuition, housing, health insurance, books and expenses for the semester. It is best to use traveler’s checks or credit cards. Carrying large amounts of cash money is not recommended. For information on how to pay tuition, please visit the Student Cashier Center's website. Once you arrive, it is recommended that you open a checking account as soon as possible. There are several banks in Lafayette that allow international students to open accounts without Social Security Numbers. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do I bring with me?
While packing for a long-term stay in the U.S. can be overwhelming, it's important to remember to bring the necessities and non-prohibited items that can't be purchased easily in the U.S. (Make sure to review the TSA's website for an up-to-date list of items that cannot be brought into the U.S.) The weather in Lafayette is generally warm throughout the year and frequently rainy in the spring and summer months. Depending on when you arrive, you may need a lightweight jacket, but make sure to pack plenty of comfortable warm weather clothes and toiletries for the first week or so. Lafayette has many shopping areas and large department stores where you can purchase inexpensive additional clothing, toiletries and food. However, please note that most of these stores are not within walking distance from campus and you will need to rely on transportation services (i.e. bus, taxi, Uber) to get there. The OIA does provide shuttle service to department store in the area each session at the beginning of the semester. For more information, please see your Orientation Schedule.
Reserve your plane tickets in advance. The airport code for Lafayette is LFT. There are no direct flights to Lafayette, so you will have to fly into another U.S. airport (port of entry) before arriving in Lafayette. If you fly into Lafayette on a weekday and require airport pickup, please complete our New Student Airport Pickup Request. Taxis and Uber services are typically available at the airport during regular business hours.
All new international students are required to attend two orientation sessions (immigration and undergraduate/graduate orientation). At orientation, you will learn about F-1 rules and regulations, register for your courses and pay tuition/set up a payment plan. U.S. transfers and graduate students are eligible for pre-registration of courses. Click here to register!