Here's some helpful tips to ease your transition to Minnesota. Belows are some main concerns that most international students have when they first came here. We try our best to answer these questions, but feel free to contact us if you have more and we are glad to help you.
There is a convenient campus shuttle system and you can find the routes using the campus maps. The quickest way to go between St. Paul and Minneapolis campus is using the Campus Connector Route 121. It is free and runs multiple times throughout the day, but the frequency varies depending on the time of the day and service also varies depending on the time of the year. Further Campus Connector and Campus Circulators information can be found here at http://pts.umn.edu/bus/shuttle.html.
City buses and light rails run throughout the metro area and are very helpful for getting you to places off-campus and around the city. As a registered University of Minnesota student, you can get U-pass for the price of $100 per semester. The U-pass enables you to get unlimited rides using the buses or light rails anywhere in the city. You can order the U-pass online here at https://buspass.umn.edu/ and pick it up at Coffman Memorial Union Info Desk. Normal bus fare is $1.75 and $2.25 for rush hours. Each fare includes a 2.5 hour transfer, except for a Downtown Zone fare. In addition to that, there is another pass which is called Campus Zone Pass that allows you to ride between three campus light rail stops - West Bank, East Bank, and Stadium Village - without paying a fare.
Some international students also like biking around campus. Campus or Minneapolis in general is a very bike-friendly city.
Star Tribune, June 2, 2015 Minneapolis is only U.S. city on worldwide bike-friendly list
Most cell phones in the USA are “locked” which means they can only be used by the carrier which locked them when you buy from them. For instance, a T-Mobile locked phone can only be used with the carrier T-Mobile and their service plans.
The following is a list of popular cell phone carriers:
Most often, students will go for T-Mobile for the cheaper price compared to other carriers. Each carrier sells their own “locked” phones and also service plans. For each carrier, you’ll have a selection of phones that you can choose from if you choose to buy your phone from them.
If you brought your own phone from your home country, you might be able to use it here. Most of the phones outside of USA uses GSM technology. You can use your own GSM phones with T-Mobile and AT&T. You cannot use your GSM phone for Verizon and Sprint since they use CDMA technology for their network. If you choose to go for Verizon or Sprint, you will most likely need to buy a phone from them.
Most international students choose a monthly pre-pay cell phone plan. Some will go for a family plan, as this option is slightly cheaper if you can find a group of 4 or 5 people to share.
If you are coming to school near the beginning of the Fall semester, you will have time to adjust to Minnesota's cool fall temperatures. In contrast, if you are coming to school at the beginning of Spring semester, you could possibly be surprised at our cold temperatures (unless you come from places with similar weather) as January is usually the coldest month in Minnesota.
Wikipedia The climate of Minnesota is typical of a continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters. Minnesota's location in the Upper Midwest allows it to experience some of the widest variety of weather in the United States, with each of the four seasons having its own distinct characteristics.
We can help you to shop for proper winter jackets, hats, gloves, and boots. You will need them for walking to classes and being outside in the winter.
SERVING THE NATIONS ON THE COLLEGE CAMPUS
You should expect an ISO host family to
... be very helpful
... include you in their everyday lives
... invite you to be part of their family activities
... offer suggestions on what you should try to accomplish and when you should try to accomplish it
... give you a ride to campus in the morning and pick you up from the campus in the evening, or whenever times arranged
... continue to offer you help and answer questions over your whole time on campus
... be a lifelong friend!
And ISO host families expect you to
... be friendly, polite, and respectful (as most international students are)
... be part of their family routines and activities
... ask them ANY question you might have, no matter how simple they might seem
... not be afraid to talk to them, even if you don't think you are proficient in English, they understand
... communicate with them what you want to accomplish and when you want to accomplish it
... during the course of the school year let them know how you are doing
... let them know when you are graduating or leaving the campus so they can say goodbye!