Students are expected to arrive no later than one day before the Exchange Orientation.
International Student Services has created an online Guide for International Students that will help you explore many of the basic things you will need to know as an international student at UW-Madison.
Students generally choose one of two options for arriving in Madison.
You may fly directly to Madison, into the Dane County Regional Airport.
Or, you may fly into Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and take the Van Galder bus to UW-Madison's Memorial Union. Schedules and prices for the bus from Chicago to Madison are listed at the Van Galder Bus web site.
To get from the airport or Memorial Union to your accommodation, either take a taxi or ask your buddy to meet you upon your arrival.
For details about arriving, refer to the "Your Arrival" section of the Information Booklet.
Upon your arrival, it is important to receive your Wisccard and your bus pass.
Wiscard is the official UW-Madison identification card. It will give you access to libraries, recreation facilities, and other campus services. Get your Wiscard in Room 4316 Memorial Union. You must present some form of personal photo identification such as a passport. Hours of operation can be found on the Wiscard website.
Bus passes are available for pick up at various locations across campus at the beginning of the semester. After the first week of courses, passes will be available only at the Student Activity Center. You must be registered for courses and present a valid Wiscard to receive a bus pass. If you have a new WisCard, you must wait overnight for your records to be updated before you can receive your bus pass. More information on where and how to obtain a bus pass can be found on the Associated Students of Madison (ASM) website.
Cell phones are an important way to stay connected. Although International Programs does not recommend any specific provider, past exchange students have recommended AT&T, Straight Talk, and AirFire cellular phone plans because they do not require a long term contract. You can read their recommendations and advice here.
Before you arrive you might like to apply for the BRIDGE Program through the International Student Services office. The BRIDGE Program is available for new international students who are interested in being paired up with a U.S. student during the first semester of your studies at UW-Madison. This would be in addition to the Business Buddy program open to Wisconsin School of Business exchange students.