Arrival and Orientation Information: Fall Semester

CELCIS Orientation Information - Fall 2015

Print orientation information

Welcome to Western Michigan University!

This webpage provides arrival and orientation information that should be reviewed before departing for the United States. We recommend you print a copy of this page and carry it with you while traveling. 

Important dates to remember

Residence halls open            

Sunday, August 30 at 9 a.m.

New student orientation

Monday, August 31 through Thursday, September 3

First day of classes

Tuesday, September 8

Last day of classes

Friday, December 11

Orientation schedule


Orientation check-in will begin at 8 a.m. on Monday, August 31 in the East Ballroom of the Bernhard Center

Bernhard Center (map)

Getting to the Bernhard Center (map)


All new students are required to attend orientation.

At the new student orientation, CELCIS students will register, take placement tests, and learn about the Kalamazoo community. Orientation helps students adjust to life at WMU and studying in the CELCIS program. Faculty, staff, and current international students will be there to help you during orientation. A free breakfast is provided Monday through Thursday (Friday for students signed up for the Saugatuck trip) and a free lunch will be provided Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We look forward to meeting you! 

Important attendance policy information

Attendance at orientation and on the first day of class is mandatory for all new students; plan to attend all sessions. See the academic calendar here

All students are expected to be in class on the first day of the semester. New students are expected to attend the required orientation before the start of the semester. If you have an emergency and will not arrive in Kalamazoo on time, please contact or call (269) 387-4800. Students who arrive late may not be able to study. 

All students (new and returning) who are unable to arrive on time should understand the following:

A. They must notify the CELCIS director and receive permission to arrive late.
B. Late arrival for any reason may have a negative effect on the student’s progress during that semester.  
C. All students who begin classes after the start of the semester, for any reason, will be counted absent for the classes they have missed.  
D. All students who arrive after the third (3rd) day of class will not be allowed to attend classes that semester. As a result, they may be in violation of status and MAY have to return home.

Please go here to register for orientation.

Bring the following documents to orientation:

  • Visa, passport, I-20 or DS-2019 form, copy of electronic I-94 (print from this website
  • Paperwork from Western Michigan University
  • Paperwork from your sponsor, if this applies
  • Health insurance policy (not the card)
  • Copy of scholarship letter, if this applies

Orientation schedule:

Orientation registration will open at 8 a.m., Monday, August 31, 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: 

  • Testing and placement information
  • Course registration information
  • Grading information
  • Information about U.S. immigration rules and regulations
  • Medical insurance and health care information
  • Campus tours
  • Shopping trips
  • Recreational activities

Arrival and transportation

CELCIS suggests that students arrive 1-2 days before orientation to rest and adjust to the time change.  

By airline

Plan to fly directly to the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport (airport code: AZO)—Chicago and Detroit are about three hours away by car. Free transportation from the Kalamazoo Airport to your hotel or residence hall will be provided by Leisure Limousine. When you arrive at the Kalamazoo- AZO airport, go to Leisure Limousine, which is next to baggage claim. Look for the WMU sign. If you use a different taxi service, you will be charged a fare and you may get lost. 

  • If you arrive BEFORE August 30, tell the Leisure Limousine driver the name of your hotel. You will have to pay for the cost of the hotel.
  • If you arrive ON OR AFTER August 30, tell the Leisure Limousine driver your name and your residence hall room assignment. The driver will call Residence Life and a staff person will meet you at the door of your residence halls.

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:

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


WMU Residence Halls

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. 

2015-2016 Housing Contract 

Housing contracts begin September 4, 2015. Students arriving early may move into their residence hall beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday, August 30 at an additional cost of $21.97 per day, which will be charged through September 4th when the regular contract begins. Students will pay for this themselves. Students planning to check into the residence hall early must bring bedding (twin-size) and bath towels. Students arriving BEFORE August 30 will have to make their own arrangements to stay in a hotel. WMU's Residence Life staff may be reached during regular business hours at (269) 387-4735 or

WMU residence hall information 


You will need twin extra-long linens for WMU’s beds. Shop around and compare prices. Basic linen packets (sheet and towel) will be available to rent for $5 at your residence hall for temporary use. 

WMU Apartments

WMU Apartments (on campus) are open to incoming transfer/graduate/sophomore-level and above students. To sign-up to live in WMU apartments, click here.

Students with a WMU apartment contract: Please check in with the WMU apartment office on the third floor of the Faunce Student Services Building between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday—Friday, or call (269) 387-2175 during business hours.

Temporary housing during orientation

If you arrive BEFORE August 30 OR you do not have housing when you arrive, you will need to stay in a hotel. It is recommended that you make a hotel reservation before you travel to Kalamazoo. During orientation, WMU provides a daily shuttle service for students from the Holiday Inn West hotel. A shuttle picks up students at the hotel door between 7:30 and 8 a.m.

Holiday Inn West (reserve online) or call (269) 375-6000. The hotel is located at 2747 S 11th St, Kalamazoo, MI 49009. 

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

• Visit the hotel website
• 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.

Other hotel options*:

Staybridge Suites – (reserve online) or call (269) 372-8000.
Comfort Inn (269) 384-2800
Red Roof Inn  (269) 375-7400
Best Western Plus (269) 350-5522

 *Students staying at these hotels will need to arrange their own transportation to campus.

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.


A free breakfast is provided Monday through Thursday (Friday for students signed up for the Saugatuck trip) and a free lunch will be provided Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. University meal plans begin with breakfast on Friday, September 4 at 7 a.m.  

New student dining options - BEFORE meal plans begin

Sign up for a meal plan

Local delivery:

• Campus Wok (Chinese cuisine): 269-552-9616
• Buddha’s Belly (Sushi Bar and Asian cuisine): 269-381-8878
• Jimmy John’s (sub style sandwiches): 269-381-9400
• Pita Pit (pita sandwiches): 269-343-7482
• Papa John’s Pizza: 269-381-7272
• Menna’s Joint (grilled wrap sandwiches): 269-375-3827

Local grocery stores:

• Meijer: 6660 W. Main St. Kalamazoo, MI   
• Walmart: 501 N. 9th St. Kalamazoo, MI     
• Target: 5350 W. Main St. Kalamazoo, MI   
• Hardings: 5161 W. Main St. Kalamazoo, MI   

Local restaurants:

• Noodles & Company: 5363 W Main St. Kalamazoo, MI   
• TGI Fridays: 5650 W Main St. Kalamazoo, MI     
• Applebee’s: 5330 W Main St. Kalamazoo, MI   
• Panera Bread: 5119 W Main St. Kalamazoo, MI
• Shawarma King: 1441 S Drake Rd. Kalamazoo, MI
• University Roadhouse: 1332 W Michigan Ave. Kalamazoo, MI

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 

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.

Western 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

Fall 2015 costs

Tuition and fees—see fall table on this page 

Tuition refund dates—see fall refund schedule on this page

Complete payment of tuition is expected from all students by the first week of class.  If you need to withdraw from CELCIS classes, your tuition may be refunded according to the deadlines.

Residence hall and dining plan—see room and board rates on this page 

Medical Insurance

WMU requires all international students to have medical insurance. Insurance can be purchased and charged to your university account. Your WMU tuition bill will show the insurance fee. 

If you have private health insurance that meets WMU’s minimum requirements, you may apply for a waiver. You must provide a copy of your policy to Cindy Clegg (, WMU Insurance Manager by the posted deadline. For more information, visit the website.

Students with disabilities

Students with documented disabilities may be eligible for academic adjustments or accommodations. New students should send documentation and request accommodations before they arrive. Visit the Disability Services for Students website or contact Christie Gates ( for more information.

Start preparing now

• Obtain passport and U.S. visa as soon as possible
• Make travel arrangements to Kalamazoo
• Arrange for funds to be sent in advance or to be brought with you
• Arrange for a place to stay during orientation
• Advise friends and family of your short-term mailing address

Items to bring with you:

• Some cash (around $250) and/or credit card to get you through your first few days in Kalamazoo.  WMU advises students to avoid carrying large amounts of cash when traveling.
• Comfortable walking shoes
• Toiletries: shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.
• Personal electronics (cell phone, laptop, camera, etc.)
• Prescription medication
• Food: snacks to hold you over until dining halls open

Items you can buy in Kalamazoo

• Bedding (pillow, blanket, sheets, etc.)
• Towels
• Laundry basket, detergent
• Fan
• Extension cords
• Outlet adapter
• Iron and ironing board, clothes hangers
• School supplies: pens, paper, folders, etc.

Please contact us if you have an emergency while traveling to Kalamazoo:

CELCIS office—Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  (269) 387-4800 (Leave a message)
WMU Police—Available 24 hours a day; Call for help. (269) 387-5555
After-hours emergencies only: (269) 203-5482
For police or medical emergencies in the U.S. call 911