Life in Kalamazoo

The Summer Translation Program, offered by the Department of World Languages and Literatures at Western Michigan University, is located in Kalamazoo, Mich. Kalamazoo is an attractive vibrant city of approximately 75,000 located in the southwestern part of the state. Kalamazoo is home to Western Michigan University (approximately 25,000 students), Kalamazoo College (approximately 1,400 students) and Kalamazoo Valley Community College (approximately 11,0000 students).

Partly because of its large student population, it is a fun, dynamic town that, despite its relatively small size, boasts a wide variety of activities and facilities. They include monthly art hops, frequent concerts, fun shopping, movie theaters, nature trails, many coffee shops and an unusually broad array of restaurants. Because the Summer Translation Program takes place during the summer when many students are away, the town is quieter than usual, but all of the shopping and facilities are all still in place.

Equally importantly, Kalamazoo is a warm and welcoming community that includes a broad variety of people of various religions, nationalities, genders and sexual identities.

More information on Kalamazoo

The Kalamazoo Metro Transit bus system covers the majority of the Kalamazoo area and can assist with your travels around town. WMU students ride free by presenting their Bronco ID.

Cities close to Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo is connected to Chicago and Detroit by Amtrak trains, and is located approximately halfway between the two cities with a ride of about 2.5 hours to each. As a result, it is relatively easy to visit Chicago or Detroit for a weekend.

The spectacularly beautiful shores of Lake Michigan are only a 30 to 40 minute drive west from Kalamazoo. During the summer, the long, sandy white beaches of Saint Joseph, Saugatuck/Douglas and South Haven are so lovely that many visitors comment they never imagined such lovely places existed in the Midwest.

The Detroit suburb of Dearborn is home to one of the largest Arab populations in the United States, but because it is not near an Amtrak station, we recommend that students visiting Dearborn independently of the program's field trips arrange for a car to travel there.

Summer weather

Summer in Kalamazoo is often quite warm, with daytime temperatures between 80-90°F (27-33°C) so we recommend bringing summer wear. Still, evening temperatures can sometimes drop down to the low 60s.


Kalamazoo has its own airport, the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport (airport code: AZO), located a few miles south of downtown and WMU. The Gerald R. Ford International Airport (airport code: GRR) is the next nearest airport and is located in Grand Rapids, Mich., about 45 minutes north of Kalamazoo.