ISO will take place August 31 – September 5 to accommodate all incoming international students. For first-year international students, ISO arrival day will be August 31, 2023.

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

International Student Orientation (ISO) 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 other members 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, but not required to attend.

We strongly encourage you to book your flight for arrival at Minneapolis/St. Paul airport before 2:00 p.m., 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 August 1, 2023.

Note: If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you must contact Liz Cody by July 31st, 2023 to participate in the International Student Orientation.

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 of college administrators, 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 adjustment 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. A number of Third Culture Kids and Global Nomads participate in ISO. 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 on the concerns of non-U.S. citizens, such as visa regulations.

We feel that students who have participated in the orientation have adjusted more easily to their new life. Here is what several students had to say about ISO:

With a jetlagged mind and a fatigued body, I walked up the stairs to the OIIL office to receive a binder and various papers and forms just like every international student in a sort of ceremonial rite of passage. Starting from that day up until the end of ISO, I met various strangers, soon-to-be friends, from diverse countries, backgrounds, cultures, and languages, and eased into the terrifying yet exciting thought of beginning my college education in an alien land. From various events such as the blindfold game, the ISO bonfire, the “Don’t lose your I-20 form” presentation, and even adventuring to Wells Fargo to get a bank account, I bonded with and made many friends during that initial week. The slow-paced nature of ISO allowed me to adjust to a new chapter of my life. ISO was an exciting new time filled with making friends, dealing with the struggles of jet lag and beginning a new adventure in life. Although it was just one week, the friends I made during ISO have stuck with me till today as we reminisce about the good ol’ early days of Freshmen year, and the ISO bear which I totally did not lose.

-Mehdi Shahid ‘22, Tanzania

International Student Orientation (ISO) was, for me, a time to establish a comfort base for myself before getting into the rush of New Student Week and the term itself. As an international student, arriving in the United States and adjusting to everything American, from food to conversation to culture is a disorienting process, and having a week to spend time with others who are just as new to the country was invaluable to getting settled at Carleton. Having a group to share grievances about American food; where pronouncing each other’s names is a near-universal difficulty, instead of being an ‘only-me’ problem; these were very helpful in getting comfortable here.ISO also normally has a pretty small group of students, and it’s a great way to get to know people – many of my friends now are those that I met during that time. New Student Week can be very overwhelming, with hundreds of students coming in and a huge slate of activities lined up for you, and it is extremely helpful to have a few known faces to go back to during that time. All in all, ISO for me was a great way to both make friends and get used to living in a different country.

-Aashutosha Lele, ‘23, India

Landing in the United States with just two suitcases to my name and numerous questions in mind, I had never felt so nervous and anxious in my life. I was worried that I would not be able to make friends due to cultural barriers. Concerns about fitting in also kicked in. However, the International Student Orientation proved to be of great help! My transition to Carleton was very smooth, and making friends was very easy. Learning of my peers’ own differences and the great diversity presented by my mates helped me let my own guard down, and open up more. Conversations with my peers flowed naturally and it was very easy to learn how to embrace and accommodate others’ differences,  thanks to the peer leaders who were there to assist as we made this transition into a college far away from home.

– Susan A Charlie, ‘23, Botswana

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. Learn more about NSW.