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International Orientation

Calvin is closely monitoring the global COVID-19 pandemic and is currently exploring how our orientation programs may need to change to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved. On-campus events will be confirmed by mid-June.

International Orientation is a three-day program designed especially for you and your adult family members. It takes place just before the school year begins so your transition to Calvin is as smooth as possible. We will deal with the cultural and logistical challenges of a new setting while helping you establish a strong community.

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More information

  • Cost
    • A $200 fee will be charged to your student account. This is in addition to the $250 orientation fee. This covers all costs for that student associated with orientation at Calvin.
    • Up to two adult family members can also attend International Orientation at no further cost. Additional family members are $25 each.
    • Housing for family members is not included.
  • What to expect

    Three objectives

    • To introduce you to Calvin's purpose, people, and programs
    • To help ensure your smooth transition to the university
    • To prepare you academically for your years at Calvin

    You and your family members will each have customized sessions, and you’ll attend a few sessions together!

    Participate in

    • Campus worship and group activities
    • Excursions to Lake Michigan, shopping destinations, and downtown Grand Rapids

    Learn about

    • Calvin’s core curriculum and your major
    • The cultural transition to American academic and social life
    • Setting up banking and managing finances
    • Living in the residence hall or off campus

    Hear from

    • Calvin’s president
    • Faculty
  • Before you arrive
    1. Register yourself and your family members for the program on your applicant status page.
    2. Pay your enrollment deposit, if you haven’t already
    3. Check your email for information from the Campus Involvement and Leadership Office
    4. Fill out your travel arrival form if you need us to pick you up from the airport, bus station, or train station.

    Travel Plans

    Please plan to arrive on Sunday, August 22. Our first orientation program will begin on the morning of Monday, August 23 at 8 a.m. If necessary, someone from Calvin can pick you up from the Gerald R. Ford International Airport or the Grand Rapids bus station.

    Please note that you will need to find your own transportation to Grand Rapids if you fly into Chicago or Detroit. The most convenient way is by a connecting flight. It is not recommended to take a taxi as it is very expensive.

    We are sorry, but no on-campus housing is available prior to August 21. If you arrive before August 21, you will need to stay at the Prince Conference Center or other accommodations at an additional expense. Be sure to make reservations in advance. As soon as you know your travel plans, let us know by submitting the travel arrival form.


    All meals are served in Knollcrest Dining Hall and require your International PASSPORT name tag for entrance. Meals begin at breakfast on Sunday, August 22 and continue through Thursday, August 26.

  • Dates & Schedule


    Sunday, August 22–Wednesday, August 25.

    International Orientation begins with breakfast at 8 a.m. on Sunday, August 22.

    We suggest students plan to arrive on campus on Sunday, August 22 between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. (registration is on the lawn in front of Knollcrest Dining Hall). Please do not plan to arrive before August 21. Housing is NOT available before August 21.

  • Frequently asked questions

    Do I have to attend International Orientation?

    Students with citizenship outside of the U.S. or Canada who are here on student visas must attend International Orientation. It is optional for permanent residents or U.S. or Canadian citizens who have lived abroad for much of their lives.

    If you are American/Canadian and identify strongly with another country's culture, then International Orientation is suggested for you. There are several workshops on culture adaptation and more help given for setting up for life here in the U.S.

    However, if you are American/Canadian and are quite comfortable with American culture and would like the opportunity to meet other students like you, then attending an on-campus or online orientation program might be good choice.

    How do I register?

    Register online using your applicant status page.

    When should I arrive?

    Please plan to arrive on campus on Sunday, August 22. This is when you will move into your permanent residence. There are several important orientation sessions scheduled for the next day, such as setting up your banking.

    Do not arrive before Saturday, August 21 as there will NOT be housing available. Also, please do not arrive after 8 p.m. on Sunday, August 22.

    If you do want to arrive early, you will need to make your own arrangements for accommodations.

    How do I get to Calvin?

    If you are arriving at the airport (Gerald R. Ford International), train station, or bus station in Grand Rapids (only), Calvin will make arrangements to pick you up. Please complete the travel arrival form. When you get to campus, please come to the Knollcrest Circle for registration.

    When do I find out who my roommate is?

    If you submitted your housing form before May 1, you will find out your roommate assignment in July. Those who applied after May 1 will receive notice in August. For questions, please contact the Housing Office at or (616) 526-6120.

    Can my parents or siblings attend International Orientation?

    Yes, they are welcome to accompany you! Parents follow their own schedule, which includes special workshops and presentations designed just for them. We have parent programs on August 23–26, but they are very casual. None of the parent programs are mandatory; many parents come and go as their schedule allows. There are no specific events designed for siblings.

    Please remember, only two family members are included in the orientation fee. There is a $50 fee for each additional family member.

    Where will my parents stay?

    Parents are invited to stay in the Prince Conference Center during their time at Calvin as we do not make housing accommodations for them. There is a special lodging rate for parents. To arrange parent lodging, please contact the Prince Conference Center (they are open 24 hours), and let them know you are coming for International Orientation as a family member of an incoming student.

    There are other lodging options available near campus with limited public transportation options, too.

    When do orientation events end, and when do classes begin?

    International Orientation ends on Wednesday, August 25 at 5 p.m.

    Welcome Week begins on Thursday, August 26 and goes through Sunday, August 29.

    Classes begin on Monday, September 30.

    Can I send a package of my belongings before arriving on campus?

    Yes you can. Even if you don’t know your residence hall assignment, you can send packages to Calvin, and we will forward it to your dorm address. Address packages as follows:

    (Your Name)
    3201 Burton Street SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49546
    United States of America

    If you would like to shop, there will be an opportunity on Monday, August 23 for students and parents to visit a local grocery and home essentials store where you can find supplies for your dorm and classes.

    What will I do during International Orientaiton?

    Sample schedule coming soon.

    How do I register for classes?

    You will meet with an academic advisor who will assist you in reviewing a list of classes for the fall semester. After this meeting, the Center for Student Success will create your fall semester schedule.

    If you wish to audition for a music group, please complete the music auditions portion on the registration form, and we will schedule an audition for you.

    How can I pay my tuition fees?

    You can make payments in the Financial Services Office (in the Spoelhof Center) when you arrive on campus. Online payments can also be submitted using the Financial Services Billing and Payment page.

    Who can I contact if I have more questions?

    Esther Kwak

    Program Coordinator of International Student Development
    Phone: (616) 526-7121


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