Orientation 2019 international

Welcome international students to Dickinson College! We are so excited that you have chosen our institution for your four-year undergraduate academic experience. During the months leading up to your arrival at Dickinson, you will receive a lot of digital communication from the College in order to prepare you for your academic journey. It is a lot to read, but we hope it will get you excited for the new adventure ahead of you! We look forward to meeting you in August.


It is very important for you to plan your travel using Dickinson's calendar. Campus housing is open on specific dates, and we cannot provide accommodation for students who arrive early or remain in Carlisle when housing is closed. New students attending International Orientation should arrive to campus on August 22, 2019.


New international students can request free transportation from Harrisburg to campus on the arrival dates, Aug. 22.   All International Students regardless of the way you arrive to campus must report their travel plans in Studio Abroad. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's capital city, is the closest transportation hub to Carlisle. For information about travel to Harrisburg, see International Travel Options


Arrival Day is an exciting and exhausting day! In order to allow you time to unpack, catch up on sleep, and overcome jet lag, we have not scheduled any required activities for you on Arrival Day. If you requested transportation service from us, we will bring you to campus to begin your initial check-in after you arrive in Harrisburg, PA. There you will meet one of your Orientation Assistants and pick up your orientation folder before heading to your on-campus housing assignment. Orientation Assistants are there to guide you through orientation, as well as answer any questions you may have. As you are one of the earliest groups to arrive on campus for the semester, you will experience an unusual, quiet moment at Dickinson.  We encourage you to use this time to rest after your long journey to Carlisle and review the materials in your orientation folder before orientation begins. Meanwhile, we hope that you will join our causal gatherings with other new international students, as well as the Orientation Assistants.


The friendship family program aims to provide a warm, welcoming home away from home for international students. Local families hosts can help ease the transition to college for new students, build relationships with people from different cultures and backgrounds and offer international students a view of American life and culture they may not get by just living in residence at college.

If you would like to participate in the Friendship Family program please fill out the Friendship Family Form on the Dickinson Gateway by July 1. If you have questions about the program, please contact New Student Programs by email at slce@dickinson.edu or by phone (717) 245-1671.


  • Sonja Paulson - Director of International Student Services
  • Melodi Hendrickson - Program Associate
  • International Orientation Assistants - Current Dickinson students who are eager to introduce you to life at Dickinson and will help you through the orientation process and first-year experience. 


Travel - As mentioned above, plan your travel so that you arrive on August 22.  If you would like transportation to campus from the Harrisburg airport or train/bus station, you must communicate your travel plans in your application on StudioAbroad.  

Pre-Orientation - We highly encourage international students to participate in Pre-Orientation. Students will begin their Dickinson experience by participating in one of our many programs designed for 10-15 students. Combining experiential education, team building, early involvement and leadership adventures, each program introduces students to Dickinson through interaction with new and current students, faculty, and staff. Students who participate in Pre-Orientation will not miss international student orienatation. Full fee waivers are available for students with financial need. 

Pre-Admission Health Policy - All new students are required to have a physical exam prior to arriving on campus. It is very important that you follow detailed instructions on how to complete your Health Forms and submit your documents to the Wellness Center no later than July 1.  Any student who has not completed form by their arrival day will not be able to directly check-in to their room upon arrival.

Academic Advising and Course Selection - International students and U.S. citizens living abroad will not receive phone calls during the times indicated. Instead, they will be contacted via their Dickinson e-mail account during late June or early July to begin the advising process. This is ideally accomplished through a Skype call scheduled in advance. If that is not possible, an exchange of emails with a Summer Advisor will help you focus on the best courses for you. Students should monitor their Dickinson email and begin thinking about which courses for which they would like to register. Once these courses are reviewed and discussed, the alternate PIN will be emailed to the student, and the student will enter courses during the course-selection time period.

Packing - It is challenging to decide what to bring to campus! The weather in Carlisle will be very warm during your first month here and then will get cooler in late September. By November, temperatures may drop to freezing. It will be necessary to have warm clothing and a thick winter coat. A coat in the U.S. will cost about $80 to $200 depending on the quality. Consider your suitcase space and your budget to decide whether you will buy winter clothes here or bring them with you.

You can pack linens for your room, but these items will take up space in your luggage. You have the option to purchase a linen set in advance through the College Bookstore, but these are fairly expensive.  The Center for Global Study and Engagement will provide temporary linens for your first week of college, however, you need to request those linens through your StudioAbroad application.  If you do not bring linens with you, you will need to purchase linens, towel, etc. during the first week. The temporary linens must be returned after one week. 

We do not recommend bringing electronics or appliances like hair dryers that require a power adapter. Everyday items can be purchased in Carlisle, and you do not want to use an adapter for four years! Depending on where you live, it may be much cheaper to buy a laptop and other electronics in the U.S. 

Carlisle has several large retail stores where you can purchase clothes, linens, items for your room, and book supplies. During Orientation, students can use a shuttle service to a shopping center with major retailers- Walmart, TJ Maxx, and Staples. These stores are within walking distance to campus, but the shuttles allow students to buy items that may be hard to carry.

If you are flying, check baggage restrictions for your airline. Airlines charge high fees for overweight baggage. Also keep in mind that you may be very tired as you handle your baggage upon your arrival. Be sure you can carry all of your luggage.

Carry all of your immigration documents with you. Do not put documents in your checked baggage in case your baggage is delayed or lost! Flight delays may prevent you from arriving on campus at the expected time. It is wise to have medications, a change of clothes, and any necessary toiletry items in a bag that you keep with you on the plane.

Money - If possible, change some money into U.S. dollars before you leave your home country. We recommend that you carry between $100 and $200 with you. If you have a debit or credit card that allows international access to a bank account in the US or in your home country, carry that as well. If you plan to work on campus, you will still need money for the first few weeks. Due to legal requirements, international students usually receive their first paycheck in late September or October.

Mail - You will receive your campus mailbox number in late July. If you decide to send some items ahead of your arrival, you can do so BUT no sooner than two weeks before your arrival (Aug. 8). The Dickinson campus has a mail center where you can send and receive international mail and packages.

Communicating with Family - Before you leave your home country, talk with your family about how you will stay in touch. You may purchase a phone card, but most students use e-mail, facetime, and Skype. You can also buy phone time using Pingo. Upon arrival in Carlisle, students are encouraged to contact family quickly to notify them of their arrival. However, you may arrive late at night and go immediately to bed. It may be some time before you have a chance to access e-mail or a phone; set this expectation with your family so that they do not worry.


We will be in communication with you all over the summer to prepare your immigration documents via email, but we are very excited to get to meet you in August.  International Student Orientation goes by quickly and there will be a lot of materials to cover!  We know that you will be tired from the jet-lag, but we hope that you will be able to absorb the information while getting to know your international peers, Orientation Assistants, and College staff.  We will cover topics such as: Cultural Adjustment, Health & Wellness, Student Employment, Academic Culture, Academic Integrity, practical information, visa regulations, and more! 


All first-year students will be on campus during this time - and it will be a busy time!  Most American students will be moving in on Sunday, Aug. 25 or Wednesday, Aug. 28, with their parents and families. Wednesday will be a busy day on campus; luckily, you all will already know your way around and should be able to navigate through the masses of excited students and their families. You will have a busy schedule filled with informative and fun sessions and activities. Take advantage of every opportunity! There will be lots of new faces and people to meet at every event.  


All international students will get a chance to meet one-on-one with International Student Services during your first semester on campus. We are here to make your first-year experience the best it can be and connect you with the right people to make that happen for you. During your first semester, there will also be extended orientation workshops that you will attend, as well as many Center-hosted and all-college events, lectures, and activities.