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New Students Coming to UND

Please use the information on the SAI website as a guide only. SAI provides the information as a service to incoming students from India to make your transition easier; however you may also want to research the information on your own. The links to other website resources may not be the most current or all inclusive information.

UND's Office of International Programs (OIP) provides extensive information about applying for admission to UND, applying for visa, preparing to come to UND, and what you need to do after you arrive. Please browse through the information available on their website.

Visa suggestions

When applying for an F-1, J-1, or M-1 visa please use the information available on the UND's Office of International Programs website.

Consult the US Consulate website (of the office closest to you - New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai) for latest information about student visa process, procedures, fees, documents to be taken, forms to be completed, etc.

When you go for your US visa appointment be prepared to talk to the interviewer about why you chose UND and your particular field of study and how you will pay for your studies and living expenses. The visa officer must be convinced that you are going to be a full-time student and that you are going to complete your degree at UND. Be sure to take your passport and all the required documents for the interview as mentioned by the US Consulate where you are applying.

Dress professionally; the proper attire for the interview is business casual. Speak slowly and clearly.  Above all, be relaxed and confident.

Preparing for your departure

Once you have received your visa you can book your airline ticket. Check the link below 'Traveling to UND/Grand Forks'. Select a date to arrive in Grand Forks prior to International Student Orientation to give yourself some time to get over your jet lag, settle down, and be familiar with the town.

Make arrangements in advance for living in campus housing at UND either by applying for an apartment or contacting SAI for help with finding a roommate. If you are a graduate student, check information about student apartments. If you are an undergraduate student you may have to live in the residence halls (dorms) due to age requirements. Find information about residence halls.

Ensure that your passport is valid for 6 months longer than your stay as indicated in your I-20. A couple of extra passport-size photographs will also be useful.

Have a medical check-up completed in India. Bring prescriptions and medicines for common ailments. It is important to get the necessary immunizations done and complete the Health and Immunization Form that has been sent to you with your I-20.

Dental and Vision treatments are expensive. Have a dental check-up and complete all dental work in India. Get your vision checked and bring an extra pair of glasses or lenses.

Get a copy of your syllabus. Sometimes UND will require you to do some courses as prerequisites. You can request to get this waived by showing that you have covered such topics in the courses you have completed in India. Prepare a resume highlighting your technical and communication skills as well as your degrees, research papers, internships, and work experience.

Traveling to UND/Grand Forks

UND is located in Grand Forks, North Dakota which is serviced mainly by Delta Airlines and United Airlines. There are no direct flights; all flights arriving in Grand Forks connect through Minneapolis or Denver airports. Fargo, North Dakota is the next nearest airport (about 70 miles south or an hour's drive). At transit airports, ensure that there is adequate time between flights so you can make it to your connecting flight.

Contact the Office of International Programs ahead of time and inform them of your flight details and your arrival time in Grand Forks as they will pair you up with a Peer Mentor to give you a ride from the airport. You may also contact SAI if you need any help.

Travel Tips

Most airlines have several baggage restrictions (size/weight) and charge exorbitant fees for excess baggage, so travel light. Keep your cabin baggage light as well, since you have to carry it in transit airports. Less luggage will make your travel more comfortable. Be sure to have identification tags on your bags to easily spot them on the luggage carousel.

Keep your passport, original certificates, bank statements, sponsor's affidavit, admission letter, I-20, financial statements, and other important documents with you in your cabin baggage in a spot you can easily access at the US Immigration counters on arrival. You may also keep a photocopy of your passport, visa, tickets, I-20, and contact info in your checked-in luggage. It is important to always keep an eye on your luggage and never leave it unattended.

Keep some first aid medicines (headache, nausea, fever, loose motion, etc.) easily accessible during your travel. An extra pair of clothes in your hand luggage may come in handy if your checked-in bags are misplaced in transit.

Arrive at your departure airport at least 3 hours before the check-in time. At the check-in counter, you will be required to fill in an Embarkation Card or departure card. It asks for personal information, destination, and purpose of your travel. This form will be taken by the Indian immigration officer when you clear immigration and customs before moving on to security and boarding the aircraft. Please browse the Information Center website.

Wear comfortable shoes and clothing for your flight. Have a light jacket or sweater as the air-conditioning sometimes makes it cold during the flight. Drink lots of fluids during the flight to help you recover from jet lag. Relax and sleep as much as possible.

Keep the names and phone numbers of your contacts in UND so you can inform them of any delays or cancellations. Also keep a ball pen handy to complete forms on the plane. Never hesitate to ask questions or seek help from airline representatives.

Things to pack

To tide you over the first few weeks without having to go shopping right away, here are a few suggestions of items to bring with you.

All apartments have an electric stove/oven, and a refrigerator. Plan to bring a few basic cooking vessels like a small pressure cooker, cooking pans, cooking spoons, cutlery, etc. You can always purchase any additional items at the local supermarkets. Bring some ready-to-eat mixtures, grocery items, and snacks, for the first few weeks. All Indian food items must be well sealed to clear customs on arrival. It is not advisable to bring raw or perishable food, nuts, seeds, plants, etc. Grand Forks is a small town and there are only a few stores where you can purchase Indian spices and additionally, there are no Indian restaurants. Bring a few recipes of your favorite food from your family members.

While packing clothes, bring some warm clothing, but it is advisable to buy warm jackets, gloves, cap, and snow boots locally here. Students dress casually for classes. Clothes are usually washed and dried using coin-operated laundry machines. Most apartments are not furnished, unless you specifically request for one. Plan to bring a couple of bed sheets, towels, hand towels, etc. You can purchase a blanket/comforter after you arrive here.

A backpack for classes, and some stationery items will also be useful. You may also want to bring some of your favorite music CDs or DVDs (originals), photos, books, or personal items so you do not get nostalgic.

A suitable amount of cash for use during travel (small bills), and for start-up expenses is advisable to carry with you. You will need to budget for your semester tuition/fees if you are not receiving a scholarship; check your I-20 to determine this amount. There is a mandatory health insurance that you need to pay for at the start of the semester which is covered by the department if you have an assistantship.

A budget estimate of your monthly expenses will include your apartment rent (approximately $400-$600, usually shared between roommates). If you have opted for a residence hall (dorm) the room and board charges have to be paid at the beginning of each semester. Other expenses will include telephone and internet services, groceries, and miscellaneous items.

Things to be left at home

Leave a copy of all your documents, certificates, medical files, and a few blank signed papers so you can authorize your parents to act on your behalf. Also leave behind a list of your addresses and contacts with phone numbers where you can be reached.

Arriving in USA

Keep your watch in sync with the current time at your destination airport. Grand Forks is in the US Central time zone (CST).

Before landing at your first entry airport in the US, flight attendants will distribute a Customs Declaration Form and a Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record Form for you to complete. Fill out the forms in capital (print) letters; names as per your passport, flight information from your flight that brings you into the US, the last city you boarded from, and your Grand Forks address. On the customs declaration, you may indicate items or that you have nothing to declare and the total value of goods is a nominal amount.

Upon arrival, follow the signs for immigration; there are separate lines for non-US citizens. A word of caution, do not use your cell phone until you clear immigration and customs and enter the airport lobby. Keep your passport, the two forms, your I-20, admission and aid letters ready to hand over to the Immigration official. The official may ask you questions; keep your answers simple and talk to the point. Immigration process may include fingerprinting and being photographed. Check to make sure that the official returns your passport, I-20, and any other documents that were given.

Form I-20 should be retained at all times (not surrendered when you temporarily leave the US). All transactions regarding your non-immigrant status will be recorded on this form.

Make your way to the baggage claim area to collect your checked in luggage. Look for a cart to carry the bags. Keep an eye on your luggage at all times, never leave it unattended. Eye-catching identification tags/ribbons help to easily identify your luggage. Once you pick up your luggage make your way to the Customs area. You may walk through the Green channel if you have nothing to declare and hand over your customs form. Sometimes the Customs officials may ask you questions as well. If you are asked to open your baggage follow the Customs officials instructions.

Once you have cleared customs, you must make your way to your connecting flight to Grand Forks. Usually, you will hand over your checked in bags again to the airlines counter in the same area and you will have to go through another security check with your hand luggage. Once you have cleared security, look for flight information TV screens and locate the gate for your Grand Forks flight.

After arrival in Grand Forks/ at UND

Grand Forks in North Dakota has a small airport with only one flight arriving at a time, so be assured you will not be missed! Your International Student Peer Mentor will be there to pick you up if you have informed them of your scheduled flight arrival time. Your peer mentor will take you to your apartment (keep the address of your stay handy). There are a few taxi companies in Grand Forks but you will need to phone to ask them to pick you up at the airport. If you have requested for an on-campus apartment you will have to go through a check-in process at the Housing Office before you get your apartment key.

Once you have a place to stay, do phone your family back in India about your safe arrival.

Now that you are on campus, there are certain things that you will need to do in the first few days to get ready for the semester. All UND offices work from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. Most important is to meet the International Student Advisor at the Office of International Programs to get your I-20 signed. You can sign up for the International Student Orientation at the same office. Orientation is very helpful and informative and you can meet other new students, so make sure you do not miss the opportunity. You may also plan to visit with your department faculty. The department secretary can help with information on how to obtain a UND student ID (U-Card), Social Security number, enrolling for classes, setting up your UND email account and Campus Connection account (for registering for classes).

The Memorial Union is the student union building where you can get your U-Card (photo id). You can also open a bank account at the campus bank (University Federal Credit Union) in the same building and collect your City bus pass (C.A.T. Prowler) from Student Government office, also located in the same building.

Contact a Student Association of India representative.

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