Prepare for Arrival
Choosing Travel Dates
It is very important for you to plan your travel using Dickinson’s calendar. Campus housing is open on specific dates, and we cannot provide accommodation for students who arrive early or remain in Carlisle when housing is closed. New students attending the International Orientation should arrive on campus August 17 and 18. We recommend completing the visa application before purchasing travel.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s capital city, is the closest transportation hub to Carlisle. For information about travel to Harrisburg, see the International Travel Options page. New international students who are attending International Orientation can request free transportation from Harrisburg to campus on the approved arrival dates. Details are explained in the International Student Transportation Policy. A request form will be available online in June, and students will be notified with instructions to access the form through their Dickinson e-mail.
International Orientation is mandatory for all J-1 and F-1 visa students and takes place on August 19 and 20. Other international students are invited to attend but must notify the Center for Global Study and Engagement at firstname.lastname@example.org by July 15 prior to their attendance. All new students will attend a campuswide orientation beginning on August 21.
Sessions will include information about U.S. culture, academic expectations in the U.S., cultural adjustment, health issues specific to international students, money and tax issues. F-1 and J-1 students will attend additional sessions explaining visa regulations. Students who are not native speakers of English will take an English writing assessment for a faculty member to read and provide feedback. The confirmed International Orientation schedule will be posted in mid-summer. Family members are invited to attend the morning sessions on August 19.
It is challenging to decide what to bring to campus!
The weather in Carlisle will be very warm during your first month here and then cooler starting in late September. By November, temperatures may drop to freezing. It will be necessary to have warm clothing and a sturdy winter coat. A coat in the U.S. will cost about $80 to $200 depending on the thickness and quality. Consider your suitcase space and your budget to decide whether you will buy winter clothes here or bring them with you.
You can pack linens for your room, but these items will take up space in your luggage. You have the option to purchase a basic linen set in advance through the Center for Global Study and Engagement. The linens will be placed in your room prior to your arrival. Please note that this service for international students is different from other linen services offered. You can order a linen set when requesting transportation. An online form will be available in June.
We do not recommend bringing electronics or appliances like hair dryers that require a power adapter. Everyday items can be purchased in Carlisle, and you do not want to use an adapter for four years! Depending on where you live, it may be much cheaper to buy a laptop and other electronics in the U.S. You can check www.walmart.com to see price examples.
Carlisle has several large retail stores where you can purchase clothes, linens, items for your room and book supplies. During Orientation, students can use a shuttle service to a shopping center with four major retailers— Walmart, Ross, TJ Maxx and Staples. These stores are within walking distance to campus, but the shuttles allow students to buy items that may be hard to carry.
If you are flying, check baggage restrictions for your airline. Airlines charge high fees for overweight baggage. Also keep in mind that you will be very tired as you handle your baggage upon your arrival. Be sure you can carry your baggage.
Carry all of your immigration documents with you. Do not put documents in your checked baggage in case your baggage is delayed or lost! You may also experience flight delays that prevent you from arriving on campus at the expected time. It is wise to have medications, a change of clothes and any necessary toiletry items in a bag that you keep with you on the plane.
If possible, change some money into U.S. dollars before you leave your home country. We recommend you carry between $100 and $200 on your person. If you have card that allows international access a bank account, carry that as well. If you plan to work on campus, you will still need money for the first few weeks. Due to legal requirements, international students usually receive their first paycheck in late September or October.
You will receive your campus mailbox number in late July. If you decide to send some items ahead of your arrival, you can do so BUT no sooner than two weeks before your arrival.
The Dickinson campus has a mail center where you can send and receive international mail and packages.
Communicating with Family
Before you leave your home country, talk with your family about how you will stay in touch. Phone cards are easy to purchase in Carlisle, but most students use e-mail and Skype. You can also buy phone time using Pingo. Upon arrival in Carlisle, students are encouraged to contact loved ones quickly to notify them of their arrival. However, students often arrive late at night and go immediately to bed. It may be some time before they have a chance to access e-mail or a phone.