Orientation Information

International Student Orientation and Registration Program

Spring semester—2015

All incoming students are required to attend orientation.

Printable orientation information


Thursday, Jan. 8 and Friday, Jan. 9

Welcome to Western Michigan University!

Thank you for choosing WMU for your academic studies in the United States. Of its approximately 24,500 students, WMU hosts more than 1,800 international students representing 100 countries and is committed to student success and preparing all of its graduates to be globally engaged citizens and leaders. At the International Student Orientation and Registration Program (orientation) you will meet faculty, staff, and current international students, who will assist you with beginning your studies at WMU and getting settled in Kalamazoo. Currently enrolled WMU student leaders provide guidance and assistance to all participants. We look forward to meeting you at orientation.

Important dates to remember

Residence halls open             Wednesday, January 7
New student orientation Thursday, January 8 and Friday, January 9
First day of classes Monday, January 12
Spring break recess Monday, March 9 through Friday, March 13
Last day of classes Friday, April 24

Orientation check-in will begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday, January 8

in the East Ballroom               
(map:   https://www.wmich.edu/studentcenter/maps.html)
of WMU's Bernhard Center:
(map:   https://www.wmich.edu/studentcenter/tocampus.html)

Attendance at orientation is mandatory for all new students; plan to attend all sessions. Students who miss orientation sessions, or who are granted any exemption, will still be considered responsible for the information provided during orientation. Please read all of the following information very carefully.


All newly enrolled international students will be assessed a mandatory $185 fee for spring orientation services. This amount will be included in the tuition bill. A free breakfast and lunch is provided Thursday and Friday. Housing and other meals are not included.

Orientation registration: WMU international orientation registration form.

Contact information for International Admissions and Services

  • The IAS office will be closed December 25, 2014 and will reopen January, 5, 2015; Regular business hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

Phone: (269) 387-5865
Fax: (269) 387-5899 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
After-hours emergencies only: (269) 203-5482
For police or medical emergencies in the U.S. call 911

Start preparing now

  • Obtain your passport and U.S. visa as soon as possible.
  • Make travel arrangements to Kalamazoo.
  • Make arrangements for funds to be sent in advance or to be brought with you.
  • Make arrangements for a place to stay during orientation (read the information about temporary housing lower on this page.)
  • Advise your friends and family of your temporary mailing address.
  • Visit the International Admissions Campus Life webpage to learn more about campus life: www.wmich.edu/internationaladmissions/handbook/campus

What to bring

  • Prepare for cold weather. A large coat, boots and gloves are highly recommended for arriving to WMU in January.
  • Comfortable walking shoes.
  • Personal electronics (mp3 player, cell phone, laptop, camera, etc.)
  • Prescription medication
  • Food: snacks to eat until dining halls open

Orientation information

Documents to bring to Orientation:

  • Visa, passport, I-20 or DS-2019 form
  • Admission letter from Western Michigan University

Orientation schedule:

Orientation registration will open at 8 a.m., Thursday, January 8, in the Bernhard Center East Ballroom. The opening session will begin promptly at 11 a.m. You will receive a complete schedule of orientation activities during registration. Orientation sessions will include:

  • Academic advising
  • Course registration
  • Grading information
  • Advising on transfer credits
  • U.S. immigration information
  • Medical insurance and health care information
  • Campus tours
  • Shopping trips
  • Social activities with other students

Travel to Kalamazoo

By airline

We recommend that new students arrive 1-2 days prior to orientation to rest and adjust to the time change. Plan to fly directly to the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport (airport code: AZO). Even though Chicago and Detroit appear to be nearby, both are at least three hours away by car. Transportation from the Kalamazoo Airport will be provided free of charge for four days prior to the start date of orientation and for two days after the start date. Please look for the WMU sign near the transportation desk in the baggage claim area to request transportation.

By bus or train

If you arrive in Kalamazoo by bus or train you can arrange for transportation to WMU’s  main campus by calling a taxi. Two recommendations:

Company Phone number Estimated fare
Bronco Express (269) 343-3000       $7
Godspeed Transportation (269) 547-5477       $10

Temporary housing

Students with a WMU apartment contract: Students need to visit the WMU Apartment office, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., to receive move-in procedures. Note: Students will not be able to move in earlier than the official move-in date for WMU apartments. Students planning on arriving before the move-in date will need to find a place to stay until the WMU-specified move-in date. Website: https://wmich.edu/housing/options/apartments

Students with a residence hall contract: Students arriving early may move into their residence hall beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday, January 7 at an additional cost of $21.97 per day. Students planning to check into the residence hall early must bring bedding (twin extra-long size) and bath towels. Students arriving prior to January 7 will have to make their own arrangements to stay in a hotel until January 7. WMU's Residence Life staff may be reached during regular business hours at (269) 387-4735 or via email at rl-info@wmich.edu. Website: http://wmich.edu/housing/options/halls

Note: Student dining meal plans will not start in WMU dining halls and cafeterias until January 11. However, the Bernhard Center café will reopen after winter closure on January 5, but meals purchased must be paid for personally. Bernhard Center café hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Students moving into the residence halls on January 7 are invited for dinner at the CELCIS office conference room at 5:30 p.m. for dinner. If you know that you are arriving to campus on January 7 and would like to attend this dinner, please contact us before your departure. Emails can be sent to wayne.l.bond@wmich.edu.

Students without a housing contract will need to stay in a hotel during orientation. WMU provides a daily shuttle service to campus for students from the Holiday Inn West hotel during orientation, which picks up students at the hotel door between 7:30 and 8 a.m.

Steps for making an online reservation for a room at the Holiday Inn West hotel:

  • Visit the hotel website: Holiday Inn Reservation- http://www.ihg.com/holidayinn/hotels/us/en/reservation
  • Enter 100375964 in the Corporate ID field
  • Enter appropriate information in all required fields (check-in dates, room preferences, etc.)
  • Enter Western Michigan University in the destination field.
  • Click on Find a Hotel.
  • Select Holiday Inn: Kalamazoo-W (W Michigan Univ) to receive a discounted rate and free transportation to orientation.
  • Click on the Availability button to view all room options and select the room type.
  • Click on the Book this Room button to complete the reservation.

Your WMU temporary mailing address:

First name, family name, c/o orientation
International Admissions and Services
4255 Ellsworth Hall
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, MI 49008–5246 U.S.A.

Preparing for your stay at WMU

Living arrangements

WMU Residence Halls provide safe on-campus housing and opportunities to meet other WMU students. Be sure to indicate your preference on your WMU housing request forms. All questions about residence hall reservations and contracts should be directed to the WMU Residence Life office: www.wmich.edu/housing

Residence Life
Western Michigan University
1903 W. Michigan Ave.Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5312
Phone: (269) 387-4735
Fax: (269) 387-4786

WMU Apartments (on campus) are open to incoming transfer/graduate/sophomore-level and above students. Website: www.wmich.edu/housing/options/apartments

WMU Apartments
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI  49008-5312
Phone: (269) 387-2175
Fax: (269) 387-4786

WMU tobacco free logoWestern Michigan University Tobacco-Free Campus Policy  

As of September 1, 2014, the use of tobacco products is only permitted in enclosed personal vehicles. The use of tobacco products is not permitted indoors or outdoors on any University property. Tobacco products are defined to include the following: cigarettes, electronic-cigarettes, cigars, bidis, snuff, snus, water pipes, pipes, hookahs, chew and any other non-combustible tobacco products. Read more: www.wmich.edu/tobaccofree


WMU's total cost of attendance per academic semester may be found here. Do not rely on working in the United States to meet all your educational expenses. Like most U.S. schools, WMU has little financial aid for international students. If you have a government scholarship, bring enough money for two months to pay for rent, food, book, deposits, and to buy warm clothing. If privately sponsored, bring enough money to cover your first semester's tuition, fees, and living expenses. Payment of the full balance on your student account is due on the first day of classes each semester. Carry with you international travelers checks or a bank draft payable to WMU. Tuition and fee rates are reviewed by the University in August each year and may change without notice.

About your meals

During orientation you will be provided with a free breakfast and lunch on Thursday, January 8 and on Friday, January 9. If you move into your campus residence hall on January 7, you are invited to attend dinner in the CELCIS office Conference room at 5:30pm. If you know that you are arriving to campus on January 7 and would like to attend dinner, please contact us before your departure. Emails can be sent to wayne.l.bond@wmich.edu. Students staying in the residence halls are able to place an order for dinners on January 8 and January 9 the morning of January 8. Breakfast, lunch and dinner for Saturday, January 10 as well as breakfast and lunch can be ordered for those living in the residence halls Friday, January 9.

Transfer credits

If you expect to receive advanced transfer credits, it is helpful to bring extra copies of your transcripts, diplomas or certificates. A syllabus or course description is also helpful and sometimes required.

English requirements

If your admission letter states that you are required to enroll in ENGL 3600 or 3610, your international admission counselor will register you for this class prior to the beginning of the semester. This course counts toward the bachelor's degree only and cannot be waived. You must receive a grade of "C" or higher to pass this course.

Health care and medical insurance

WMU requires all international students to have comprehensive medical insurance. Your University account will be automatically charged for WMU insurance unless you submit a copy of your insurance policy that meets WMU's waiver requirements, per this webpage: www.wmich.edu/healthcenter/about/insurance-participation/student
All health care or insurance related inquiries should be directed to: cindy.clegg@wmich.edu

Important notice to F-1 and J-1 students

An I-901 fee for F-1 students of $200 and J-1 students of $180 has been implemented by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The fee must be paid and fully processed prior to your visa interview. Please read all immigration documents carefully. By signing your copy of the form I-20 or DS-2019 and accepting your U.S. visa, you agree to all terms and conditions set forth by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Website www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.jsp

Note: International students may experience delays at U.S. ports of entry
As of May 2, 2013, due to heightened security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are verifying the status of F-1 and J-1 nonimmigrants in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System before admission at port of entry. As a result, it has been reported that many students and exchange visitors are referred to secondary inspection, where their SEVIS record will be reviewed. Due to these new entry procedures, F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors entering the United States should plan to spend potentially a couple of hours in the secondary inspection process and plan flight connections accordingly.

Further information on life at WMU

See the International Student Handbook: www.wmich.edu/internationaladmissions/handbook