Your First Days in the USA
UMass Dartmouth GSP Team
T: +1 (508) 990 9664
When you first arrive to Dartmouth, Massachusetts our staff and orientation leaders will help you get started with a few of the basics, to make sure you can settle into campus life without much hassle. It will be important that you check in with the UMass Dartmouth GSP staff as soon as you arrive. You will receive an email from the Student Experience Specialist just a few days before the designated check-in date, letting you know when and where our staff will be located on campus, so that you can check in with us in person. On the check-in day, we will have shuttles to take you to the local banks and stores to help you get set up with basic necessities, and our friendly team of orientation leaders will help guide you around the area.
If you arrive before the scheduled check-in date, please send us a quick email letting us know that you have safely arrived and that you are in the area, and plan to come and meet us on the check-in day between 9:00am – 6:00pm. Please note that students living on campus will not be able to move into the residence halls before the scheduled check-in date, so you may need to make arrangements for a hotel or other temporary accommodation.
WiFi Internet Access
Wireless internet is available for you on the UMass Dartmouth campus, although you must use an Ethernet cable or designated router to connect to the internet in the residence halls. If you plan on bringing a laptop please make sure you have the most recent Windows service pack uploaded to your laptop. You will need up-to-date virus software running on your computer as well. Please visit: http://www.umassd.edu/cits/wireless/#router for more information.
There is no specific computer that we recommend purchasing. Most students bring their own laptop, but please keep in mind that the applications or systems you use in your home country may not match the systems used in the U.S. If you are unable to bring a personal computer, the university does offer a U$ave program in which the university offers select laptops at a discounted rate. You can learn more here: http://usave.umassp.edu/.
Many students will choose to purchase a cell phone for use in the United States, or bring an unlocked phone from home and purchase a SIM card in the U.S. You can research plans and options online or use the website to locate a retail location nearby. Most students will chose a pre-paid or pay as you go plan from AT&T or T-Mobile. Generally, a phone plan with domestic service (within the USA) will be between $40 and $100 USD per month. Adding special features and international calling options will increase this cost. We recommend using Skype or other online communication methods to keep in touch with friends and family at home, as international calls from cell phones can be very expensive.
Most international students open a bank account when they arrive in Dartmouth. The most accessible option for UMass Dartmouth students is Bank of America, as there are ATMs on campus. In order to open a bank account, you will need your passport and funds for an initial deposit. You will have an opportunity to open a bank account during your first few days in Dartmouth. Important! It is quite common for banks to put a hold on large deposits. If you need access to certain funds, find out if and for how long a hold will be put on your funds. Also, before wiring funds to or from your home country, make sure to find out how much it will cost and how long it will take.
You must purchase all required text books for your courses. You should be prepared to spend between $100-250 per book. You will be able to easily find what you need in our Campus Store. You may also go online to Amazon.com, Abebooks.com, or other online providers for purchasing textbooks (please be aware of the liability of these online sellers however as they are not school supported websites). Target, Wal-Mart and other local stores also sell school supplies.
There are a many places within a reasonable distance from UMass Dartmouth where you can purchase what you need (bedding, kitchen supplies, toiletries, etc). Most household items can be purchased at Wal-Mart, or Target. Shaw’s and Stop & Shop are supermarkets near the Dartmouth Mall area, easily accessed on local bus routes, where you can purchase groceries and other food items. There will be a chance to go on a shopping trip with a GSP Orientation Leader during check-in day to allow you to purchase the basics you need to start out with.
Feeling homesick is a perfectly normal feeling when studying abroad in a different country away from your familiarities, family, and friends. There are resources and services available on campus, which will be discussed during orientation. The Student Services Officer and Academic Manager are available to speak with you if you are feeling homesick and can provide insight and helpful resources to assist you with the transition.