Incoming International Students

Applying for a Visa

You must acquire an F-1 visa prior to your entry into the United States. Please see the U.S. State Department embassy website for the U.S. Embassies in your country and Department of Homeland Security website for more detailed information on applying for a student visa.

Important steps include:

  1. Receive your I-20 form. We will issue you an I-20 form to apply for an F-1 visa.

  2. Pay for the SEVIS fee. You must pay the SEVIS fee at least three days in advance of your visa interview. The initial SEVIS fee is valid for 12 months from the date of payment. If you do not obtain a visa within 12 months of paying the SEVIS fee, you will have to pay the SEVIS Fee again.

  3. Schedule a Visa Interview at the Nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in the country of your citizenship or permanent residency to schedule a visa interview. Interview scheduling times vary from country to country, so please check the U.S. embassy website nearest you for details.

Traveling to Campus

The Portland International Jetport is the closest commercial airport to campus, just about 35 minutes from Brunswick. Students who travel internationally often arrive at Boston Logan International Airport. After arriving in Boston, you can choose to take The Amtrak Downeaster train that goes from Boston North Station to Brunswick Train Station, which is less than a 5-minute walk from campus.

Packing and Winter Clothing

It’s very important to pack enough warm clothes as the weather can get very cold during Maine winters.  Essential items for every Bowdoin student in the winter include:

  • Thick, knit hat that covers your ears
  • Mittens or gloves, preferably those that are resistant to wetness
  • Thick, knit scarf
  • Warm, insulated winter jacket that will last you all four years and that is resistant to wetness
  • Snow boots or galoshes, with insulation and water resistance; preferably boots that go above the ankle
  • Several pairs of warm wool socks for especially wet and cold days

If you arrived unprepared for cold weather, the L.L. Bean Outlet store is a ten-minute drive from campus, in Freeport. Please contact Dean Khuong for financial need concerns in making winter clothing purchases.

When packing to come to campus, remember: less is better! Many supplies such as toiletries, bed sheets, clothes hangers, laundry detergent, laundry bags, school supplies, etc. can be purchased fairly easily upon arrival and many students find it easier to find these items in Maine than carrying them while traveling. Within a five-minute drive you can access a Target and Walmart, among other stores, which have many items you may need. For additional tips on how to pack and what not to pack, head to the Orientation FAQ site.

Bank Accounts

Brunswick is home to a number of banks, both locally and nationally affiliated. On campus there are two ATMs, one for Bank of America and one for Midcoast Federal Credit Union. Representatives from both are available on arrival day for the first-year class. You may need proof of your U.S. (campus) address, an official letter of admission from Bowdoin, and personal identification, among other documents, in order to set up a savings or checking account. Contact your bank of interest directly to find out what exactly is required to open a bank account. Please note, a social security number is not a requirement to open a bank account in Brunswick.

Cell Phone Accounts

Nearly all students at Bowdoin rely on cell phones as their primary means of communication; however, residence hall telephones are also available for students for long distance accounts. Some international students bring cell phones from home and use international calling plans, while others purchase U.S. cell phones and plans after arriving to campus. Verizon and AT&T are among the two most common cell phone carriers on campus and have stores within a short driving distance from Bowdoin’s campus.

Depending on whether you desire a pay-as-you-go plan or a contracted plan, you may want to contact upperclass international students for advice. Please contact Dean Khuong directly and he can help you connect with other students who are often the best resource for deciding on which cell phone plan is best for your needs.