Welcome Guide

Spring 2018 Orientation Information

Congratulations and welcome to the Center for English Language and Culture for International Students (CELCIS) at Western Michigan University! This guide has important information to help you transition smoothly to Student smiling and giving peace sign with handWMU. We recommend that you print a copy of this guide and carry it with you while you are travelling.


Print Dining Options - Orientation Week 

Important Dates to Remember

Residence halls open (early move-in) Wednesday, January 3 at 9 a.m.
New student orientation  Thursday, January 4 - Friday, January 5
First day of classes Monday, January 8
Last day of CELCIS classes Friday, April 20

All new students are required to attend orientation.


Orientation check-in will begin at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 4 in the East Ballroom of the Bernhard Center. You will receive a complete schedule of orientation activities during registration.

WMU's Bernhard Center

Visit here for a campus map or directions to the Bernhard Center.

Orientation includes: ISORP leader at podium in Bernhard Center

  • Registration
  • Placement testing
  • Campus tour
  • Information sessions
  • Shopping trip
  • Assistance with banking 
  • Assistance with housing
  • Social events

Free breakfast and lunch will be provided January 4.  Free breakfast will be provided on January 5. Housing and other meals are not included. 

Important Attendance Policy Information

Attendance at orientation (January 4-5) and on the first day of class (January 8) is mandatory for all new studentsIf you have an emergency and will not arrive in Kalamazoo on time, please contact thomas.marks@wmich.edu or call (269) 387-4800. Students who arrive late may not be able to study. 

All students (new and returning) who are unable to arrive on time should understand the following:

1. They must notify the CELCIS director and receive permission to arrive late. 

2. Late arrival for ANY reason may have a negative effect on the student’s progress during that semester.  

3. ALL students who begin classes after the start of the semester, for any reason, will be counted absent for the classes they have missed.   

Confirm your attendance by registering for orientation:  

Register for orientation

Contact Information

Regular business hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. If you arrive on campus before orientation, you may visit the CELCIS office during business hours on the Garden level of Ellsworth Hall.   Please note: CELCIS will be closed December 22,2017 - January 1, 2018 for the Winter Closure Period.

Center for English Language and Culture for International Students (CELCIS)
Phone: +1 (269) 387-4800 (leave a message before or after regular business hours)
After-hours emergencies only: +1 (269) 203-5482

International Admissions and Services
Phone: +1 (269) 387-5865

WMU Residence Life 
Phone: +1 (269) 387-4735 

WMU Police
Available 24 hours a day; Call for help. 
Phone: +1 (269) 387-5555
For police or medical emergencies in the U.S. call 911

Start Preparing Now

  1. Get your passport and U.S. visa as soon as possible.

  2. Make travel arrangements to Kalamazoo.

  3. Make plans for a place to stay during orientation—see below for more information.

  4. Tell your friends and family of your short-term mailing address:

    First name, family name, c/o orientation 
    International Admissions and Services 
    4255 Ellsworth Hall
    Western Michigan University 
    Kalamazoo, MI 49008–5246 U.S.A 

  5. Visit the CELCIS Campus life webpage to find helpful information. 

  6. A more extensive checklist is available on our website. 

Documents to Bring to Orientation:

  • Passport with visa

  • I-20 or DS-2019 form

  • Admission letter from Western Michigan University

  • Paperwork from your sponsor, if this applies

  • Health insurance policy (not the card)

  • Copy of electronic I-94 (this can be printed from this website after arrival to the United States) 

Travel to Kalamazoo

CELCIS suggests that students arrive 1-2 days before orientation to rest and adjust to the time change.   

By air

Plan to fly directly to the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport (airport code: AZO)—Chicago and Detroit are about three hours away by car.  

Free Airport pickup: Free transportation from the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport to WMU will be provided from December 31, 2017 - January 7, 2018  Look for the WMU sign near the Leisure Limousine transportation desk in the baggage claim area of the Kalamazoo Airport to request transportation. You may also call them at 269-343-0848. 

  • If you arrive BEFORE January 3, tell the taxi driver the name of your hotel.  You will have to pay for the cost of the hotel. 

  • If you arrive ON OR AFTER January 3, tell the Leisure Limousine driver your name and your residence hall room assignment. The driver will call Residence Life and a staff person will meet you at the door of your residence halls. 

By bus or train 

If you arrive in Kalamazoo by bus or train you can arrange for transportation to WMU’s main campus by calling a taxi. Two options:

Bronco Express

(269) 343-3000    
Estimated fare: $7

Godspeed Transportation
(269) 547-5477    
Estimated fare: $10

Housing During Orientation

To sign-up for campus housing, login to your GoWMU account and select “Residence Life Housing” under the My Self Service section on the left. 

WMU Apartments

WMU Apartments (on campus) are open to incoming transfer/graduate/sophomore-level and above students. To sign-up to live in WMU apartments, click here.

Students with a WMU apartment contract: Please check in with the WMU apartment office on the third floor of the Faunce Student Services Building between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday—Friday, or call (269) 387-2175 during business hours. 

WMU Residence Halls

WMU Residence Halls provide safe on-campus housing and opportunities to meet other WMU students.  Housing contracts begin Saturday, January 6, 2018.Students moving into dorms

  • Students may move into their residence hall beginning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, January 3 at an additional cost. If you are moving into the residence halls before housing contracts begin, the fee will be $25.00 per day. For students living in Western Heights, the fee will be $30 per day.

  • Linens are NOT provided in the residence halls.  Students must provide their own pillow, sheets, blankets, and towels.  You will need twin extra-long bed sheets for WMU’s beds. If you do not bring linens with you, basic linen packets (sheet and towel) are available to rent for $5 at your residence hall for temporary use. To request linens, you must contact rl-info@wmich.edu before arrival. Basic linen packets will not automatically be provided. You must ask for your linen packet from the housing staff when you arrive at the residence hall.  

Sign-up for housing

Arrange to Stay at a Local Hotel

If you arrive BEFORE January 3 OR you do not have housing when you arrive, you will need to stay in a hotel. It is recommended that you make a hotel reservation before you travel to Kalamazoo. 

Comfort Inn Hotel

WMU provides a free daily shuttle service to campus for students from the Comfort Inn hotel during orientation. The shuttle service picks up students at the hotel door between 7:30 - 8 a.m.

Tell the Comfort Inn staff that you are a new WMU international student to receive a discount. Reservations can be made at the Comfort Inn website, by phone, or by sending an email. 

Comfort Inn Address: 739 West Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI, 49007, US
Phone Number: (269) 384-2800
Email Address: comfortinn739@yahoo.com 

Other Hotel Options*

Staybridge Suites –  (reserve online) or call (269) 372-8000.
Red Roof Inn -   or call (269) 375-7400
Best Western Plus -  or call (269) 350-5522 

*Students staying at these hotels will need to arrange their own transportation to campus.


Free breakfast and lunch will be provided January 4, 2018.  Free breakfast will be provided January 5. Image of spoon, fork, and knife

Student dining meal plans will not start in WMU dining halls and cafeterias until Monday, January 8 at 7 a.m.

During orientation, you will be able to purchase meals at the Bernhard Center Café which will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Local delivery:

Campus Wok (Chinese cuisine): 269-552-9616
Buddha’s Belly (Sushi Bar and Asian cuisine): 269-381-8878
Jimmy John’s (sub style sandwiches): 269-381-9400   
Pita Pit (pita sandwiches): 269-343-7482
Papa John’s Pizza: 269-381-7272

Local grocery stores: 

Meijer: 6660 W. Main St. Kalamazoo, MI  
Walmart: 501 N. 9th St. Kalamazoo, MI     
Target: 5350 W. Main St. Kalamazoo, MI   
Hardings: 5161 W. Main St. Kalamazoo, MI   

Local restaurants:

Noodles & Company: 5363 W Main St. Kalamazoo, MI   
Applebee’s: 5330 W Main St. Kalamazoo, MI   
Panera Bread: 5119 W Main St. Kalamazoo, MI
Shawarma King: 1441 S Drake Rd. Kalamazoo, MI
University Roadhouse: 1332 W Michigan Ave. Kalamazoo, MI  

Medical Insurance

WMU requires all international students to have comprehensive medical insurance. Please visit the Health Insurance for International Students page for more information. 

Students with Disabilities

Students with documented disabilities may be eligible for academic adjustments or accommodations. New students should send documentation and request accommodations before they arrive.  Visit the Disability Services for Students website or contact Christie Bierlein (christie.bierlein @wmich.edu) for more information. 

Western Michigan University Tobacco-Free Campus Policy

Effective September 1, 2014, the use of tobacco products is only permitted in enclosed personal vehicles. The use of tobacco products is not permitted indoors or outdoors on any University property. Tobacco products are defined to include the following: cigarettes, electronic-cigarettes, cigars, bidis, snuff, snus, water pipes, pipes, hookahs, chew and any other non-combustible tobacco products. Read more.

SPRING 2018 Costs

Tuition and feessee spring table on this page four male internatioanl students smiling at camera
Tuition refund datessee spring refund schedule on this page. Complete payment of tuition is expected from all students by the first week of class.  If you need to withdraw from CELCIS classes, your tuition may be refunded according to the deadlines.
Residence hall and dining plansee room and board rates on this page

Important notice to F-1 and J-1 students

An I-901 fee for F-1 students of $200 and J-1 students of $180 has been implemented by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The fee must be paid and fully processed prior to your visa interview. Please read all immigration documents carefully. By signing your copy of the form I-20 or DS-2019 and accepting your U.S. visa, you agree to all terms and conditions set forth by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Website.
Note: International students may experience delays at U.S. ports of entry 
As of May 2, 2013, due to heightened security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are verifying the status of F-1 and J-1 nonimmigrants in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System before admission at port of entry. As a result, it has been reported that many students and exchange visitors are referred to secondary inspection, where their SEVIS record will be reviewed. Due to these new entry procedures, F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors entering the United States should plan to spend potentially a couple of hours in the secondary inspection process and plan flight connections accordingly.

Safe travels!