Living in the U.S.


During Orientation, banks will have representatives on campus to answer questions and help you open accounts. Ask about ATM and checking fees and minimum balances; some banks offer special student rates for accounts opened during Orientation. Wellesley College has a Bank of America ATM in the Campus Center. The banks within walking distance are:

Larger national banks tend to offer more comprehensive international services, such as wire transfers, international drafts, foreign currency exchange, and foreign traveler‘s checks. It may take longer to complete such transactions at smaller banks. 

Other banks in Wellesley are further from campus. Check the Internet for a full listing.

International students may run into some challenges opening accounts in the U.S. and should be aware of what is needed to initiate banking services. Click here for more information on banking in the U.S. as an international student. Click here to learn more.


With all the technology available today, there are various ways for international students to remain connected to their families and friends at home, as well as with their friends and classmates on campus.  Many international students get cell phones, purchase calling cards, and sign up for Skype soon after they arrive in the U.S.  Staying connected is an important part of the international student experience. Learn more about communication.

Cultural Adjustment

Adjusting to life in the U.S. and at college can be challenging, no matter how much time you have spent abroad or in the U.S.  International students often experience culture shock, which is common, but it is good to understand how and why it happens, as well as where to turn if you are experiencing feelings of homesickness. Learn more cultural adjustment.

Cultural Connections in the U.S.

There are several ways international students can re-connect with their culture or learn about new cultures while studying in the U.S. In the greater Boston area, there are numerous Cultural Organizations, International Shopping Areas, Ethnic Grocery Stores and International Restaurants!

Driving in the U.S.

Driving regulations and practices differ from country to country, but they also differ from state to state in the U.S.  If you are planning on driving in Massachusetts, you should research the regulations and processes for obtaining the proper training and documentation. Learn more about driving in the U.S.

Health & Medical Resources

Knowing and understanding your health and medical resources is extremely important.  The types of medical care in the U.S. are diverse and can be extremely costly.  There are many on-campus resources, as well as local resources within the larger Wellesley community that international students should become familiar with. Learn more about health and medical resources.


Each state in the U.S. can choose which holidays to observe, therefore there are technically no "national" holidays in the U.S. However, most states, including Massachusetts, observe most of the "federal" holidays (for employees of the U.S. government). On these holidays, schools, government offices, banks, and many businesses will be closed. Other holidays are observed only informally. This chart gives an explanation for many of the holidays celebrated in Massachusetts.


Mail is delivered six days each week in the U.S. - Monday through Saturday. There is no mail delivery on federal (U.S> government) holdiays. You will find a post offie in every town and you can search for locations and hours of operation on the United States Postal Service website. The USPS website is a great place to learn about the U.S. mail system and international mailing options. Wellesley College Mail Services, located in the Campus Center, is the on-campus location for sending and receiving mail and packages.

Measurements & Conversions

International students can get confused with U.S. American measurement systems. The following are conversion formulas and tables that will help you make easy conversions from the metric system to the U.S. American measurement system, and vice versa. Learn more about measurements.

Off-campus Storage and Shipping

Wellesley has standing relationships with three storage and shipping companies. Consult their webpages to learn about their rates and when they will be on campus:

Safety in the U.S.

Life in the United States, especially in urban areas, is often perceived by people outside the country as dangerous. The international media plays a large role in generating such a perception by reporting violent incidents, which actually occur very infrequently in most places. While you should not live in fear during your time in the United States and at Wellesley, you should remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings and know about available emergency services and protocol. This section reviews Emergency Numbers and introduces the Wellesley College Police Department. Learn more about safety.


Tipping is very commong in the U.S., more so than in many other countries. As a result, it is important to realize that because tipping is so common, the people who are tipped usually receive a smaller salary. They (and theiy employers) consider their tips to be part of their income. Not tipping can hurt the worker, not the employer. If you think the service was poor, you do not have to tip. In restaurants, it is important to note that some restaurants will add the tip, or -- "gratuity" to your bill if you have a large group. Here is a list of Typical Tipping Structures.


There are many transportation options available to you while attending Wellesley. Although driving is the most common (and easiest) way to get around, many students use taxis and limousine services, the Wellesley College shuttles, public transportation, or rental or Zip cars. Learn more about transportation.