Practical Information

Summer & Winter Vacation

It may seem a bit premature to begin planning for the summer after your first year of study in the U. S., but it is important for students to plan early. Many international student return to their home countries at their own expense and are often successful in finding jobs. Ruoyang Yin, '07 worked for the China Sun Media Group as a production assistant for a documentary series called "66 Places of a Lifetime." For many other students this option may be neither practical nor desirable.

International students at Carleton College enter the United States on a student visa, which, with special permission, allows for employment related to a student's academic major. If students wish to remain in the U.S., they may take advantage of the services offered by the Carleton College Career Center in arranging to find internships or employment.

Students must realize that securing summer employment is a time-consuming and uncertain task; they must begin their search early.

Students who have secured internships in the united States have had varied and rewarding experiences. Nozomi Naoi, '06 was involved with the re-cataloging project of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts' Japanese Print Collection. Jipei Zhang, '06 interned with the Department of Employment and Economic Development working on Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty's trade mission to China.

However, students must also remain aware that ONLY lawful employment is permitted; they must complete the necessary procedures for procurement of official work permission with the OIIL Staff.

Students must contact OIIL if they plan to work, either paid or unpaid. (See also "employment" information in the visa section of this handbook)

Appropriate jobs in the Northfield area are limited; students will likely find greater opportunities for meaningful employment in nearby metropolitan areas such as Minneapolis/St. Paul or elsewhere in the U.S.. Students should consider the high cost of living when accepting summer jobs, making certain that their summer income will be adequate to cover living expenses.

Many students are employed at Carleton College during the vacation periods. Again they should plan to secure a job in a timely fashion.

On campus employment is permitted for F-1 students; they do not have to apply for special permission from the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Vacation Periods & Break Housing

Most international students arrange to spend vacation time with friends and relatives in the United States or abroad. No one should plan to depart from campus until the official start of recess or vacation periods.  Please check with the Residential Life Office and the official College Calendar to know when dorms open and close for each term, especially when you can move back to campus after a vacation period.  

On-campus housing is available for students who need it during winter, spring, and summer breaks, and currently cost about $70 per week (students are responsible for providing their own food) and you must apply by the deadline established by the Residential Life Office.  

Electrical Appliances

Electrical Appliances in the United States work on AC 110 volts. If you bring small appliances from your home country that are not wired for AC 110 volt current, you will need a voltage converter, as well as a plug adapter. Carleton College has strict limitations as to the type of appliance a student may use in a residence hall. It is wise for students to purchase necessary electronics after arrival rather than bringing appliances and a converter from home.  U.S. or North American plugs may be different from your own so review this article to see what is used in the U.S. and you should purchase the adapter plug before you leave your country as it can be hard to find.

Baggage and Mail

When mailing clothes and other items, students should mark the package "used personal effects"; this will facilitate customs clearance. Any items that must be shipped should be timed for delivery after a student has arrived in Carleton College. Until students know their exact Carleton College mailbox number, letters for undergraduates can be sent in care of:

Your Name

300 North College Street
Northfield, MN 55057, USA

Mail will be held until the students' arrival. The Carleton College Post Office is located at the center of campus on the ground floor of the Sayles Student Center.

Please note that when addressing packages and mail to and within the U.S. you must include a return address in the upper left corner of the box or envelope.

Please be sure to include your name in the address and also indicate that you are an international student. You may send one or two packages early, but please be advised that we have limited space for storage.


Students who live in Carleton College dormitories will be given specific information about telephone service. All rooms at Carleton College have pre-installed telephone outlets. Each student will be assigned a direct-dial telephone number in his/her room and will have international calling access. All Carleton College phone numbers are connected to the Carleton College Voice Messaging System, a computerized recording system on which callers may leave messages; it is therefore unnecessary to purchase an answering machine. Students are responsible for paying their own telephone bills. Students can also use prepaid telephone cards which are often less expensive than long distance carriers, or various internet options.


It is not necessary to purchase a computer at Carleton College; there is adequate access to both Macintosh and Windows PC laboratories on campus. Each terminal is networked to the Carleton College server and to the internet. If you decide to bring your own computer from home, you will need to be sure that it is adaptable to the U. S. electrical system. Each residence hall room has a data port for wired connection and wi-fi is available in most campus buildings. You may also wish to have your computer insured. Carleton College cannot be held responsible for your personal belongings.


Each Carleton College residence hall has card or coin-operated, automatic, self-service washers and dryers. Dry cleaners are located within easy walking distance.

Storage of Personal Belongings

At the end of each school year, Carleton College students may store their personal effects in designated storage areas. There is a fee per box charge for this service; storage tickets can be purchased from the Bookstore. Students cannot store large items in the college storage areas, and must make alternative arrangements for such belongings.  More information can be found here.

Climate and Clothing

Students should come prepared for variable weather: very cold winters, hot, humid summers, and pleasant days in between. Winter temperatures frequently plunge well below the freezing level. Students should plan to have warm clothing for the winter months (storm coat or down jacket), and good, waterproof boots. A raincoat and umbrella are also recommended. Most students dress informally for classes: slacks, jeans, blouses and shirts are acceptable for both men and women. In general, it is advisable to bring adequate clothing for the first year, but there are opportunities during International Student Orientation to go shopping.