International Student Orientation

September 5th through September 10th, 2019

International Student Orientation is REQUIRED for all students on an F-1, J-1, or other U.S. visa status (DACA/Undocumented students are not required to attend). There is no cost for this great opportunity to meet others member of the Carleton international community before New Student Week begins. U.S. residents and citizens who live outside of the U.S. before matriculating to Carleton are encouraged to attend but are not required to.

WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE YOU TO BOOK YOUR FLIGHT FOR AN ARRIVAL INTO MINNEAPOLIS AIRPORT BETWEEN 8:00AM-2:00PM, DURING THIS TIME CAMPUS OFFICES ARE OPEN TO BETTER ASSIST YOU. (The airport is a 45 minute drive from campus, and time is also needed for you to collect your luggage.)

Once you have made your travel arrangements, please submit the arrival form by July 1, 2019.

Note: If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you must contact Liz Cody ( by July 1st, 2019 to participate in the International Student Orientation.

The Office of Intercultural & International Life organizes a special International Student Orientation, which takes place before the New Student Week activities.

This Orientation is intended to provide international students with added time and exposure to life at Carleton College during a calm time before New Student Week. Some international students have language insecurities and some have no experience outside of their home countries; this is a time for these students to adjust not only to life at Carleton College, but also to completely different food, weather, time zone, and interpersonal communication.

Other goals of orientation include helping international students become acclimated to the United States, to the campus, and to the academic expectations of Carleton College. With the assistance College administrators and faculty, staff, and Peer Mentors the participants will receive help with:

  • Opening a bank account
  • Shopping for necessary supplies
  • Introduction to immigration regulations
  • Academic advising and support
  • Public safety issues
  • Health Education
  • Introduction to computer and library facilities
  • Intercultural adjustments strategies

Participants will tour Northfield and the Carleton College campus. There will also be time to shop and explore, and a one-day excursion to a place of cultural and historical interest in the vicinity of Northfield. There will be time for discussions about life in a foreign environment, and reports from returning international students on their methods of coping with adjustment to student life in the United States.

International Student Orientation is mandatory for all incoming international students and international exchange and transfer students.

U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents, and Transfer Students

American citizens who have grown up abroad may wish to participate in the International Student Orientation. These students have typically lived outside of the United States for much of their lives and might have attended non-American school systems abroad. Though they may carry a U.S. passport or a green card, their concerns about student life in the United States parallel those of international students. While those students are welcome to participate, they should be aware that a small part of the program focuses in on the concerns of non-U.S. citizens, such as visa regulations. A number of Third Culture Kids or Global Nomads participate in ISO.

New Student Week

New Student Week is the time for all incoming students to begin to organize their fall course selection and get oriented to Carleton College and their new home in Northfield. New Student Week is free of charge and starts September 10th 2019!

We feel that students who have participated in the orientation have adjusted more easily to their new life:

To someone who has never visited United States, coming to Carleton was an exhilarating yet overwhelming experience. However, the International Student Orientation made me feel welcome and comfortable in my new home. The beautiful weather and the brilliant activities planned by our leaders, lifted my spirits and helped me to create bonds of friendships last to this very day. Meeting a bunch of 60 people from every corner of the world speaking around 45 languages in all, can be pretty exciting! Apart from the introduction to the working of academic departments and other faculty on campus, what made the International Student Orientation really worth it, was the glimpse it gave me of the Carleton culture. The significance of diversity, the open mindedness and frisbee, were just some of the things that I learned and which I knew would help me for the next few years. There was not a moment in that entire week, when I felt confused or unsure about being at the ISO, or even at Carleton. In that first week, I knew what the college meant to me and I was glad I was there.

-Yuvika Diwan, '13 India

There is no week in my life which was more packed than the Carleton College ISO. Aside from those highly relevant information sessions, there were those incredible times when we went to travel and enjoy the American culture while building truly comforting sense of camaraderie. I still remember vividly the amusements I had with my ISO friends about the catchy tunes of Mary Poppins, the bland American food (no offense!), and the novel items at Target. During my first few weeks, my ISO friends and ISO leaders are an inseparable part of my social life, and I think they will stay that way for all my four years at Carleton. Above all, ISO showed me that there is always a niche for everyone at Carleton. Whatever your interests and hobbies are, you are always appreciated for contributing towards the college’s growing diversity.

-Rafadi Hakim, '13 Indonesia

For those who wonder what Carleton and its surroundings are like, ISO will take you on a tour of Carleton, Northfield and the Twin Cities. For those who want to start making new friends in college (outside facebook), ISO is the best place to start; have conversations over the table tops, when walking around town or during so many of the fun group activities. For those who are curious what the academic life at Carleton would be like, ISO will offer seminars by professors and tutors settle the curiosity. For those who are just curious about life, goals, the future, the many wonderful upper class ISO peers will be happy to talk to you about everything from the meaning of life, to the courses that you should take, to quirky facts about the profs. ISO makes transitioning from our old self to a new life, and its joys and challenges, a fun process. For those who miss home...there won’t be time during ISO.

-Yiran "Robert" Guo, '13 China

ISO gave me the opportunity to meet other international students that had the same concerns as I. The activities planned for us throughout that week gave us a unique insight of Carleton by students who had been in our spots a few years back. We were also introduced to various resources that were meant to help us succeed at Carleton at all levels. At the end of that week, I felt a unique sense of community. I could see all around me people and places that were there to support me in all my future endeavors. Going to an American college was not as scary as it used to be anymore. My questions were answered, my worries were appeased, and I felt more confident. More importantly, I had learned that what makes Carleton special is that everyone around you seeks your emotional, social and academic growth and success.

-Gnagna Lam, '12 Senegal