All new international students should plan to attend the International – New Student Orientation Program (INSOP). This includes all new international First Year and Transfer students. Please note that this is one of two mandatory orientation programs intended to aid in your transition to Barnard, New York City and the United States.
The second required program is the college-wide New Student Orientation Program (NSOP). It is during this program that new international students meet their domestic peers. You do not need to plan differently to participate in NSOP as you will already be on campus and INSOP will lead right into NSOP.
International Student Check-In and Move-In:
INSOP Welcome Dinner:
Barnard College is located in Morningside Heights on the West side of Manhattan. Barnard students' safety around the neighborhood and beyond is an essential element to positive student life. Simple safety tips:
1. Keep electronics in your bag or concealed in public.
2. Yellow Call Boxes: scattered on campus for use in case of emergency.
3. Never take an unmarked cab - only take yellow or green taxis with meters.
4. Columbia Evening Shuttle provides safe transit in the Morningside Heights neighborhood: 212-854-SAFE.
If you or your parents need temporary lodging near Barnard before arrival or for a visit, there are many hotel options in the neighborhood.
Banking: To set up an American bank account as an international student, you must physically go to a branch with approved ID and an American address. View a list of banks near Barnard College and detailed instructions on setting up an account.
Budgeting: The Bursar's Office at Columbia College has compiled a list of basic fees for housing, meal plans and tuition for average Barnard students. New York City itself can be expensive, but with careful budgeting and familiarity with the options, the cost of living in a global city can be affordable.
Metro Card: One Metro ticket is $2.50 ($2.75 starting March 22, 2015) and is valid for one trip on the New York City subway system. MTA also provides options for week-long or month-long Metro passes. Thre are no special fares for college students These tickets can be purchased on entrance to the subway at kiosks or automated machines in the subway.
Barnard offers a student insurance option called Aetna Student Health (ASH) Policy. Pricing, coverage and application information is available to help determine a students' need.
For more information, check out this video on healthcare in the US.
What to pack
Learn more about the climate in New York City and what to pack so you will be prepared to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Don't bring things prohibited by ResLife (like pets); DO bring things from your home country to share with new friends! Don’t worry, during NSOP we’ll also take you to a store where you can get everything you couldn’t pack or forgot to bring.
Customs: Before you get on the plane to New York City, be sure that you have all of the necessary documents as defined by the US Department of Homeland Security.
There are three major airports around New York City: John F. Kennedy Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Newark Airport (in New Jersey). There are public transit options from these airports, but most often, students take taxis from the airport to Barnard or their final destination.
New York Taxi Cabs are yellow or green and always have a meter that determines the fare. At New York airports, you will be directed to a line where you can get in a cab. Do NOT agree to take a ride from anyone offering taxi services inside baggage claim. You will need to provide the driver with the neighborhood and address to which you are going. For example, if you are going to Barnard College from the airport, you would request to be taken to "Morningside Heights - Barnard College - at Broadway and 117th." Alternatively, you could simply tell the cab driver, "Morningside Heights - 3009 Broadway." Broadway and 117th are the cross-streets where Barnard College is located.
Planning for school breaks and returning home
Residence halls remain open over some school breaks, such as Fall Break (early November), Thanksgiving Break (late November) and Spring Break (mid-March). Students are welcome to stay in their residence halls at these times. During Winter and Summer Break, students must apply to remain in campus housing; housing is not guaranteed. Please review Residential Life policies on Winter Break Housing and Summer Housing.
When planning return flights home, keep in mind Barnard policy: students must move out within 24 hours of their final exam or by the time the residence halls close for the semester. Important residence hall dates can be found here. Many students wait to buy a return ticket until the exam schedule is final.