The first weeks on campus are the best time to make friends and get used to the campus life. We international students have a head start. I highly recommend you to arrive 2-3 weeks before your I-20 entry date so that everything is settled by the time of your orientation. Learn ways to get around the city. If you are coming alone, stay at he International Reception Center (IRC). It is a great way to make friends, and it is also cheap.
Here’s what to expect in your first few weeks on campus (without any spoilers):
- Attend Global Gopher Week: By mid-August, ISSS will have trips and activities for coming and current International students. Global Gopher Week will be in the same week as your Orientation. ISSS will send you a list of events you can sign up for Global Gopher Week. There will be seminars to help you have a smooth transition to the United States and shows to get you hyped for college. You will also meet President Kaler and our mascot Goldy. Check ISSS calendar for trips and events you can attend: http://www.isss1.umn.edu/calendar/
- Orientation: You will have two orientations. First, you must attend the international student orientation. Make sure to bring all of your necessary documents and copies. Second orientation is to get you registered for your classes, meet your college counselor, and learn more about U of M resources as well as the fundamentals of college life. In order to attend your orientation you must first fill the new student checklist (after April 6): http://www.ofyp.umn.edu/orientation/freshman-orientation
- Welcome Week: based on your preferences on the student checklist, you will be put in to a group of 10-20 students with similar interests. You will play
games and participate in fun team building activities. These activities are designed to get you out of your comfort zone and make you part of the U of M community. You will learn more about the U and get a warm welcome. Key events from Welcome Week:
- Induction Ceremony
- Pride and Spirit: One of most exciting events I’ve ever attended. Learn the chants and feel the Gopher spirit!
- Target Run: special discounts and promotions at Target for U of M students.
- Late Night at the Mall of America: free rides at Nickelodeon Universe/visit SEA LIFE Aquarium.
Besides the trips organized by the university, I urge you to go on a campus and city tour on your own! Visit the lakes, uptown or downtown! Learn where your classrooms are located and how you can get there! Also, check your residence hall/apartment as early as possible. It is not mandatory to stay in the dorms. By arriving early to Minneapolis, you will have enough time to compare your housing assignment with other options. If you have concerns about the room, price, location, etc. you can still cancel your housing assignment and find an off-campus apartment.