Orientation Information

International Student Orientation and Registration Program

Fall semester—2014

Print orientation information

Monday, August 25 through Friday, August 29

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 106 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. Orientation fall 2013 photos.

Orientation check-in will begin at 8 a.m. on Monday, August 25
East Ballroom (map) in WMU's Bernhard Center (map).

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 fall orientation services. This amount will be included in the tuition bill. A free breakfast is provided Monday through Thursday (and Friday for students signed up for the Saugatuck trip) and a free lunch will be provided Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Housing and other meals are not included.

Orientation registration: WMU international orientation registration form.

Contact information for International Admissions and Services

The IAS office is open 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).
  • Advise your friends and family of your temporary mailing address.
  • Visit the International Admissions Campus Life webpage to learn more about  campus life at WMU.

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., Monday, August 25, 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.

Students with a residence hall contract: Students arriving early may move into their residence hall beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday, August 24 at an additional cost of $21.97 per day, which will be charged through August 28 when the regular contract begins. Students planning to check into the residence hall early must bring bedding (twin-size) and bath towels. Students arriving prior to August 24 will have to make their own arrangements to stay in a hotel until August 24. WMU's Residence Life staff may be reached during regular business hours at (269) 387-4735 or via email
WMU residence hall information.

Note: Student dining meal plans will not start in WMU dining halls and cafeterias until August 29. However, the dining halls and cafeterias are open beginning Monday, August 25, 2014, when students can eat in the dining halls by paying cash. From August 25 through August 28 WMU dining halls schedules vary, so students are advised to check the schedule of the dining halls before going. Students can also plan to eat at local restaurants.

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:

  • 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 University) 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
Residence Life office. Click here to apply.

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. Click here to apply.

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  

Effective 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.


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 daily breakfast Monday through Thursday (and Friday for students signed up for the Saugatuck trip) and a free lunch will be provided Monday, August 25 through Wednesday, August 27. However, you will be responsible for your meals for the rest of the week. Dining hall meal plans begin on Friday, August 29.

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, listed here.
All health care or insurance related inquiries should be directed to the Sindecuse Health Center insurance manager: 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. Click here for details.

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

The International Student Handbook is full of valuable information.