FAQs for International Students
Got questions? We've got answers.
Phones • Internet/Log on • Wireless • Facilities • Mail • Campus Life/RA • Roommate questions • Locked out/Lost key • Valuable items • Wellness on Campus • Classes • Majors • General questions? • Advice from International Students
How do I get a mobile phone?
We will have free sim cards available for you upon your arrival. Also, you should know that there are several companies that operate in Carlisle – AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile are the largest and have stores in Carlisle (AT&T is in the same shopping center as Walmart). You can buy an inexpensive phone and minutes at Walmart for pre-pay services. There are also options for making a long-term contract with companies, but you may not be eligible when you first arrive because you have no “credit history” in the US. In other words, the companies cannot check if you normally pay bills on time.
I am having problems with my Internet connection, logging onto the Dickinson computer network, logging into my email, and/or my cable TV. Who should I contact?
You can go to this website: http://www.dickinson.edu/info/20207/technology/1489/accessing_the_dickinson_wireless_network and find out how to connect to the Internet. If you’re still struggling with logging in, Library and Information Services (LIS) can help with these problems. They may be reached by calling extension 1000 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I access internet/wireless in my dorm?
You can use an Ethernet cord to plug into the wall of your room for internet. You can also find the wireless connection called “Students” and login with your Gateway username and password. Other questions regarding access to internet/ computer network, including wireless network, should be referred to the Helpdesk at 245-1000 or email@example.com. They are open during regular business hours only.
Something in my room is broken. Who should I contact?
Facilities Management responds to repair requests. You can submit an online Service Request by going to the Facilities Management website and clink the link “Service Request” in the middle of the screen. There, you can describe the problem and provide your contact information in the event that Facilities will need to contact you. You will be sent an email message when the repairs are complete. Please note that Facilities will repair College-owned items only. The repair of personal items is your responsibility.
How do I receive mail? Where is my mailbox?
The Student Mailroom assigns a mailbox to each Dickinson student. During Orientation, stop by the student mailroom in the lower level of the HUB on the back side of the mailboxes and ask for your mailbox number and combination. They will give you a card with this information and your mailing address. Check your mailbox frequently!
If you receive a package that is too large to fit in your mailbox, or if it requires your signature, a pink notification slip will be placed in your mailbox with instructions on how to retrieve your package from the FAS Mail Center.
The FAS Mail Center, also located in the lower level of the HUB by the Microroom (computer lab), is a functioning post office. There, you may purchase stamps, send packages via postal mail, UPS, FedEx, or DHL.
What is an “RA”?
An RA is a Residential Advisor. He or she is usually an upperclassman student who lives on your floor in the dorm and their responsibility is to make sure that the environment for living and learning is safe in your dorm. You can always go to RA with any problem. They are very approachable and they are there to help you, so do not hesitate to get to know your RA!
I have a problem with my room/roommate. I don’t like my room. My roommate and I are not getting along. What should I do?
If you encounter a problem with your living assignment, you should first speak with your RA. S/he has received special training to help students with a number of different issues, including roommate conflict and homesickness. Your RA will also be able to refer you to other campus offices, as appropriate. For example, Campus Life manages on-campus housing. It is highly unlikely that you would be able to change your roommate during the semester, which is why they have staff who can help you solve roommate problems. You are able to apply to change your residence only until the next semester.
Each dorm/room on campus is different. Part of living on a residential campus is learning to live with a roommate or in an otherwise new situation. While this experience may feel different at times, it is a truly valuable part of your Dickinson experience.
What if I got locked out of my room or lose my key?
Before the academic year starts, call DPS (Department of Public Safety) at 245-1349 (or extension 1349, from a campus phone) and they will come unlock your room for you. I can take a while for an officer to arrive at your room, so you may have to wait a bit. During orientation, you will not be charged for this service. After orientation, you will be charged a “lockout fee” by DPS, charged to your student account. If you lose your key, you will be charged a large fee ($200) for a replacement. During the academic year, there is an RA on call and you will get the number from your RA once all students move in; this is the person to call if you cannot find your RA.
I don’t feel comfortable leaving my passport and other valuable documents in my room. Is there someplace safe I can put them?
DPS has a safe in their offices where students can store items of this nature. The office is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The office is located in Kaufman Hall on West Louther Street. They can be contacted at extension 1349.
I am feeling sick/homesick/anxious/depressed. What should I do?
Your advisors, professors, your RA, and staff members at the College care about your health, and you can reach out to them if you need help. If you are not feeling well, we have specialized trained staff at the Wellness Center on campus are available to see you. Their staff can help you determine appropriate treatment. The Wellness Center is located in the Kline Annex on Cherry Street. Call extension 1835 to make an appointment with medical staff. Call extension 1485 to make an appointment with counseling staff. If it is an emergency, call DPS at extension 1111.
A comment from an international student:
“It is almost unavoidable that you will feel homesick after you arrive on campus. You will start missing your family and friends, your home and every single thing about you old life in your home country. I was in my anxiety stage about a month after I arrived to Dickinson and it lasted for couple days, maybe a week. I was thinking “maybe that was a bad decision, maybe I should give up on everything and go back”. I think what helped me was just trying not to think about it, meet more people, and try to have fun because when you have fun, you stop thinking about your home. So try to meet as many people as possible, BE NICE and don’t wait for others to make the first step – you should take an initiative too! And try to keep your mind as busy as possible so you won’t feel depressed anymore.”
How many/which classes should I take?
Your academic advisor is your first point of contact for any academic questions you may have. S/he will assist you in planning your course of study at Dickinson. Remember, however, that US Federal Regulations require that F-1 and J-1 students are enrolled full-time, which is a minimum of 3 course credits per semester at Dickinson.
Students usually take 4 classes per semester for normal progress towards graduating on time. If you already know what academic area you are interested in and what you are probably going to major in, take those classes. But also use your first year to take classes from different areas and explore your interests. Dickinson centers on liberal arts education and this is why you are here – to be able to gain a wide range of knowledge. Remember that there are a number of graduation requirements that you need to fulfill during the four years. It is better to get your requirements completed early, so that you can focus on your major during your junior and senior years.
Learn more about Dickinson’s academic programs and majors!
When should I declare my major?
You will declare your major during your sophomore year. However, the earlier you decide on your major, you will have an easier time fulfilling the graduation requirements on time. If you are considering majoring in two academic areas, you may have less flexibility in your junior and senior years with course selection as you will have major requirements for two majors – so get the graduation requirements out of the way sooner rather than later! Also, declaring your major early gives you priority in choosing courses and you can find out about events involving your major regularly.
I have a question, but I don’t know who to ask! What should I do?
Ask anyone! Your Orientation Assistant, your RA, the Info Desk in the HUB, Campus Life, the Center for Global Study and Engagement – everyone on campus is here to help, so do not hesitate to ask anyone to point you in the right direction!
- Go to Activity Night in the HUB at the beginning of the semester and get involved in one or two clubs on campus! It’s not only a great way to meet other students and make friends with people that have similar interests, but also a good time to do something different than academics. Learn more about student clubs and organizations!
- Spend time in the common room, where your other floor mates hang out and make friends. Don’t just stay in your room because people living in your dorm or on your floor are people who want to get to know you too! (Hint: if you are in your dorm room, leave the door open – it lets people know that you are there and willing to say hi or talk for a bit.)
- You might be probably thinking how you are supposed to make friends with someone you don’t know and how to start conversation. Just be nice, say hi and smile. If they are not busy, ask them basic questions like “how are you?”, “what’s your name?”, “where are you from?”, “what classes are you taking?”, “what First-Year Seminar are you in?”, “how is it?” and then your conversation will develop and you will know one more person in your dorm. It is nice when you are also a person who starts the conversation because American students are almost in the same situation as you – new environment, new people – and if you take initiative, they will be happy that there was someone who wanted to talk to them too. (Hint: Americans always talk about/comment on the weather! Feel free to mention something about the weather (hot/cold/rain) to get a conversation started.)
- In discussion-based classes, don’t be afraid to participate! Some students may find it difficult to share their opinion, because they are worried about the language barrier or cultural difference. Your professor and other students are interested what you have to say because you have a different perspective. Participation in class is also a big part of your grade – so speak up!
- Go to office hours and get to know your professors! It shows that you care about the class by showing up to the office hours, but also you can establish a relationship with your professor which is really important when you need to get a recommendation (e.g. for a job, study abroad, an internship).
- Explore Carlisle. What does a Dickinson student do during the weekends? Study! No, I’m kidding. When you take a break from your studies, go to restaurants or go shopping in town with your friends! What to do in Carlisle.
If you have more questions, contact International Services or ask an international student.