International Student Handbook

Dear International Students,

As overseas study is very costly, both in time and money, we are dedicated to help you take advantage of your time here. We truly understand that what you want to obtain from an overseas education is not just an academic experience, but also an active and balanced social life to become a well-rounded person. In addition to offering great academic teaching, the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) also provides opportunities for you to be involved in its active extracurricular environment. This International Student Handbook is devoted to providing useful information to help you get through the changes of being away from home and allow you to have an enjoyable experience while at UNI.  It provides information about UNI, Cedar Falls/Waterloo, and life in the U.S. in general. The information we provide here can never be enough. If you have any concerns during your time at UNI, please do not hesitate to contact the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) directly where helpful and devoted staff members will be happy to assist you. Best wishes in pursuing your higher education goals and enjoy your time at UNI.

International Student Handbook expands on the information that you learned from "Now That You're Admitted" brochure. 


ISSO Staff

International Students and Scholars Office
113 Maucker Union
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0164 
Phone 319-273-6421 
Fax 319-273-6103 
skype UNI-ISSOAdvisor
Regular Office Hours 8 am to 5 pm 
Summer Office Hours 7:30 am to 4:30 pm


The University was established in 1876 by the enactment of the Iowa General Assembly, and opened on September 6, 1876, as the Iowa Normal School – “a school for the special instruction and training of teachers for the common schools of the state.” The institution was renamed the Iowa State Teachers College in 1909 and under this title attained a national reputation and status as a leading institution in the field of teacher education. In 1961, the name of the college was changed to the State College of Iowa and then to the current name in 1967. The University of Northern Iowa has grown from its 1876 original campus site of 40 acres with one building – Central Hall, which originally housed orphaned children of U.S. Civil War soldiers – to its now more than 50 principal buildings on a campus of 850 acres, with a faculty of about 830 members and a total enrollment of about 13,000 students.

In the college search process, bigger is not always better, and cheaper is not always the best value.  The award-winning and nationally recognized programs listed at are just a few reasons our most successful graduates consistently cite UNI as a major factor in peraring them for their achievements in life and workplace. 

Vision, Mission, and Values

Vision Statement

The University of Northern Iowa will be nationally known for innovative education, preparing students for success in a rapidly changing, globally competitive, and culturally diverse world.

Mission Statement

The University of Northern Iowa provides transformative learning experiences that inspire students to embrace challenge, engage in critical inquiry and creative thought, and contribute to society.


As a university community we are guided by the following core values:
Academic Freedom – freedom of inquiry by students, faculty, and staff
Access– an affordable, inclusive educational environment
Accountability – integrity, responsibility and the highest ethical standards of students, faculty and staff
Community– an ethical, caring, and safe community characterized by civility
Diversity – a welcoming community that celebrates pluralism, multiculturalism, and the unique contributions of each person and group
Engagement – characterized by challenge, transformation, and lifelong learning in a global society
Excellence – in teaching and learning, scholarship and creative work, and service
Sustainability – an attractive, well-maintained campus environment that enhances the living and learning experience with an emphasis on environmental stewardship

Academic Ethics, Discipline and Plagiarism

Students at the University of Northern Iowa are required to observe the commonly accepted standards of academic honesty and integrity. Except in those instances in which group work is specifically authorized by the instructor of the class, no work which is not solely the student's is to be submitted to a professor in the form of an examination paper, a term paper, class project, research project, or thesis project.

Cheating of any kind on examinations and/or plagiarism of papers or projects is strictly prohibited. Also unacceptable are the purchase of papers from commercial sources, using a single paper to meet the requirement of more than one class (except in instances authorized and considered appropriate by the professors of the two classes), and submission of a term paper or project completed by any individual other than the student submitting the work. Students are cautioned that plagiarism is defined as the process of stealing or passing off as one's own the ideas or words of another, or presenting as one's own an idea or product which is derived from an existing source.

It is not acceptable for the work or ideas of another scholar to be presented as a student's own or to be utilized in a paper or project without proper citation. To avoid any appearance of plagiarism or accidental plagiarism, it is important that all students become fully cognizant of the citation procedures utilized in their own discipline and in the classes which they take. The plea of ignorance regarding citation procedures or of carelessness in citation is not a compelling defense against allegations of plagiarism. A college student, by the fact that he or she holds that status, is expected to understand the distinction between proper scholarly use of others' work and plagiarism.

A student who is found to have improperly used others' work must expect to be penalized for such action--even if the argument is made that the action was taken with innocent intention-and the student's instructor will normally judge such work "unacceptable." But it should be noted that the assignment of a low or failing grade for unacceptable work is not in itself a disciplinary action--even if the assignment of such a grade results in the student's receiving a lower grade in the course--including "F"--than he or she would otherwise achieve. Such a response by an instructor is part of the normal grading process; if a student feels that he or she has grounds to protest a grade received through this process, the student has access to the academic grievance procedure which the University has developed to deal with all student academic grievances.

On the other hand, cheating and plagiarism are issues which can affect a student's status at the University in more serious ways. As an educational institution, the University maintains standards of ethical academic behavior, and recognizes its responsibility to enforce these standards. Therefore, the following procedures of academic discipline prevail at the University of Northern Iowa.

If a student is determined by an instructor to have committed a violation of academic ethics, the instructor may take additional disciplinary action including, but not limited to, grade reduction for the course in which the infraction occurs, even if the reduction is over and above the normal consequences resulting from the grade merited by the unacceptable work.

In cases where such disciplinary action is taken, the instructor is obliged to report the action in writing, to the student, to the instructor's department head, (and, if the student is from a different department, to the head of the student's department), and to the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs will notify the student in writing that such action has been taken, and will maintain a file for each student so disciplined. (This file is confidential and is independent of the student's normal University records.)

A student wishing to appeal or dispute the disciplinary action taken may seek redress through the University academic grievance structure. In the case of a successful grievance, the evidence of the disciplinary action taken by the instructor will be expunged from the student's file by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

In cases of particularly flagrant violations of academic ethics relating to cheating or plagiarism, the instructor may feel obligated to recommend suspension from the University of Northern Iowa for a period ranging from the term in which the infraction occurs (with a loss of all credit earned during that term) to permanent suspension from the University.

Such recommendations are sent in writing to the department head and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, the latter of whom informs the student in writing that the recommendation has been made. In such cases, the academic appeals procedure is automatically invoked by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Until the mandatory academic appeal in such cases has been completed, the recommended suspension is not in effect. In cases of a successful appeal to such action, the materials will be expunged from all University records.

Finally, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs will regularly monitor all files relating to disciplinary action taken against specific students. If the monitoring reveals that there is a history of disciplinary actions taken against a particular student (excluding any actions which have been successfully grieved) such that there are three or more instances of such action subsequent to any academic grievances generated by such actions, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs will, as a matter of course, institute proceedings for permanent suspension of that student. The procedures demand that the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs notify the student in writing that suspension procedures have been invoked, and there is an automatic appeal to the University academic grievance structure in all such cases. All parts of the academic grievance structure (including those stipulated in the immediately preceding paragraph) apply in such cases, except that the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, as the disciplinary officer, functions in the role of the instructor in an academic grievance relating to a specific class.

Academic Matters

Student Classification
Freshman less than 30 semester hours
Sophomore 30-59 semester hours
Junior 60-89 semester hours
Senior 90 semester hours and above

UNI operates on a semester basis. There are two main semester terms, sixteen weeks each, covering approximately fall – winter and winter – spring. There are also a number of summer sessions. One semester hour of credit is based on one hour of class time per week.

Grading System
Quality of work for completed courses is indicated by the marks A (superior work), B (good or above average work), C (fair or average work), D (poor but passing work), F (failure), and I (incomplete work). Grade points are awarded for each hour of credit as follows:
A = 4.00
A- = 3.67
B+ = 3.33
B = 3.00
B- = 2.67
C+ = 2.33
C = 2.00
C- = 1.67
D+ = 1.33
D = 1.00
D- = 0.67
F = 0.00 grade points (In order to receive credit for a failed course, it must be repeated in an on-campus class).

Dropping a Class - Dropped during first one-sixth of semester: not recorded on student’s record. - Dropped during second and third one-sixth of semester: indicated on record with W (Withdrawn). - Dropped during final one-half of semester: recorded on record as F (Failure).

Adding a Class - During the first seven instructional class days, you may add a class without approval. - During the eighth instructional day through the 15th, you need department approval to add class. - After the 15th day, it is rare to add a class this late.

Academic Catalog -
Available only on-line, it is revised every two years. The catalog contains degree information and provides brief course descriptions. In the catalog, you can find academic calendars, helpful student life information, degree requirements, and university regulations. A full directory of UNI faculty and staff can also be found at the end of the academic catalog.

Schedule of Classes
Available only on-line, it comes out before each registration session. It contains listings of all the available classes and relevant information for the following semester.

Plan of Study
A plan of study is used to effectively plan a course of study leading to a degree. A major is a concentration of courses in one school or department. No later than the beginning of the sophomore year, students enrolled will choose their major from an extensive list that can be found in the catalog. The number of hours required for each major varies and is established by the departments. A student must have at least one major in order to complete a degree, and students are encouraged to have additional majors and minors. A minor is also an emphasis in one area, but requires fewer completed hours.

Emergency Contacts

UNI Public Safety 273-4000
Police 911
Ambulance 911
Fire 911
Poison Control Center 1-800-272-6477 & 1-800-352-2222
Student Health Clinic 273-2009

English Language Resources/CIEP

The Culture and Intensive English Program (CIEP) is part of UNI under the Office of International Programs. Its job is to provide English language instruction and cultural orientation to our students, international community, and others. CIEP is an institution that was established in 1982. It is designed to prepare non-native English speakers for academic work at the undergraduate or graduate degree level. Students participate in Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing, and Grammar classes; which are offered at seven different levels. Sessions last eight weeks and, with adequate progress, students advance one level per session.

Frequently Used Contacts


International Students & Scholars Office: 273-6451 - -
International Programs:
International Admissions: 273-2281 - - 
Office of Academic Advising: 273-2406 - -
Office of Career Services: 273-6857 - -
Counseling Center: 273-2676 -
Department of Residence: 273-2333 - -
University Apartments: 273-6232 -
Computer Consulting Center: 273-5555 -
Office of Student Financial Aid: 273-2320 - -
Directory Information: 273-2311 -
Wellness & Recreation Services: 273-6275 -

Regular office hours are from 8 am to 5 pm and summer office hours are from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Health Insurance/Health Services

Health Insurance

Enrollment in the Health Care Plan provided by UNI for international students is mandatory.  You may find more information at  For assistance with your health insurance, please contact Connie Potter at the Student Health Clinic 273-7736 or  

Health Services

Student Health Clinic

101 Student Health Clinic 273-2009
The Student Health Clinic specializes in college health.  They offer high quality primary and urgent care services, provided by Board Certified Family Practice Physicians and Board Certified Physician Assistants.  Additional staff include a pharmacist, a lab technologist, and nurses.  All registered UNI students are eligible to use their services.  To be prepared for your visit you should:

  • bring your health and pharmacy insurance cards
  • know all medications and doses you are currently taking
  • know your medication allergies and sensitivities
In the United States, most strong medications require a doctor's prescription and are rather expensive.  You should bring with you sufficient supplies of medications for any conditions you have. 

International Friendship Program

International Friendship Program was created to build relationships between UNI students and local families in the community.  The goal of this organization is to promote cultural exchange between international students and American host families.  Students who apply for this program are seeking to learn more about American culture by becoming a part of family and finding a home away from home.  Families volunteer to host an international student as a way to learn about the student's country and to build a friendship.

After applying for this program your application will be reviewed and an effort will be made to assign you to a compatible host family.  Once you have a host family you will meet with them and spend some time together.  This program is different from an exchange program where you live with a host family.  Due to the busy schedules of the participants, students and families will decide how and when to meet according to their schedules. 

For more information, click here.

Living and Dining

Community Living Options

Community living options are on-campus residence halls communities only.  They are for students wishing to live in an environment with others who share similar interests and commitments. Options available include:
Substance-Free Substance-free houses are available in Campbell and Rider Halls. Residents of these houses agree not to possess or use alcoholic beverages and tobacco products in their living environments. (This includes illegal drugs, which are prohibited in ALL houses.)  UNI is a smoke-free campus in compliance with Iowa law. 
First Year: Springboard While all on-campus housing options for new students include multiple initiatives by staff to address social and academic adjustments, Springboard houses offer an opportunity to live exclusively with other first-year students. This differs from traditional houses, which include both first-year and returning students.
Upperclass Students who are in good academic and behavorial standing with the University and who are classified as sophomores, juniors, seniors or graduate students, may contract for a double room in these upperclass houses.  First year stduents will not be assigned to these houses.
Suites Suites are available in Bartlett and Lawther Halls. Students must remain in good academic and behavorial standing to live in a suite.  New stduents will only be assigned to suites if there are three or four students all requesting to room with each other.
Honors Cluster The Honors Cluster enables a group of Honors students to live in close proximity to each other, but the houses will not be made up exclusively on Honors students.  
Upper-class Singles Shull Hall will consist of both super single and double occupancy rooms for sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students. Students must remain in good academic and behavioral standing to live in Shull Hall. First year students from high school will not be assigned to these rooms.
Single Rooms Single rooms are available in all residence halls. Designed (physical) single rooms are available in Bartlett, Bender, Campbell, Dancer and Lawther Halls only. Designed single rooms are smaller that a double room. The cost for a designed single room is $825 more per academic year than a double room. There may also be a limited number of double rooms that may be contracted as double-as-single rooms and may be available in all residence halls. The current academic year cost for a super single room is $1200 more than a double room. Returning residents have priority for assignment in all single rooms. New residents must follow the guidlines for Disability and Special Health Needs to request consideration for a single room. 
Traditional Rooms A traditional room is a two-person (double) room in any of our residence halls without any of the features listed above.

Basic Hall Information

Dining Locations

Near each of the nine residence halls is a dining center, where great atmosphere and good food awaits you. Residence hall students and those who have off-campus meal plans may eat in any of the centers.  You may find daily menus at
You may eat at residential restaurants, Maucker Union restaurants, dining to go, food carts, and convenience stores

Department of Residence Dining

Residence Facilities

Living in one of UNI's residence halls will put you in the thick of college life: dining, classes, Rod Library, computer labs, recreational facilities, athletic events, concerts, activities and more.  For more information visit here.

Roommate Cooperation

Cooperation with your roommate can foster a friendship and alleviate potential problems.  Open, honest, and frequent communication between roommates is critical.  You can start by getting to know each other's background, attitudes, habits, and moods so you know what to expect of each other.

You may start by asking each other some of these questions:

Where are you from?  What is your major? What are your hobbies?  What do you like and dislike?
How should we set up our room?
At what temperature do you prefer to keep our room?
How clean do you prefer to keep our room?  Should we take turns cleaning it? 
Is it OK to borrow certain items?  What are the conditions?
Should we keep food in the room?  If so, do we share food?
What time do you go to bed and get up? Are you a heavy or a light sleeper?
Do you study in the room?  If so, when and how quiet do you need the room to be?
What about visitors?  How often do they stop by and how late do they stay? 

Do not hesitate to talk to your Resident Assistants (RA's)!  An RA is a Department of Residence staff member whose responsibility is to serve as a student advisor to between 30 and 60 students in a University residence hall.  As an advisor, the RA provides assistance to the individuals with personal, interpersonal, and academic concerns, and is instrumental in assisting the house units to become cohesive living and learning groups.

University Apartments

You will find a community of married students with or without children, single parents, domestic partners, graduate and non-traditional (23+) students from across the United States and around the world at University Apartments.  They are committed to providing an atmosphere which is friendly and conducive to study.  University apartments has 363 unfurnished apartments in three locations near campus.  In order to apply for University Apartment housing, you must be admitted to UNI.  For more information about the apartments, please contact the office at 273-6232 or

Student Handbook

Information about epectations for student conduct and other policy matters affecting students are described here.  These policies are subject to review and change and their publication does not forfeit that right.  A printed copy of an indivudual policy can be requested from the Office of the Dean of Students, 118 Gilchrist Hall.  You may access the handbook here and Student Conduct Code here.

Student Organizations

So now that you are at UNI! With more than 200 student clubs and organizations, there are lots of opportunities to get involved on campus. These groups range from pre-professional organizations and honor societies to intramural sports and religious organizations. They offer not only fun and social opportunities, but also chances to develop leadership and teamwork skills that will be attractive to employers. You may be a little overwhelmed with the number of student organizations that exist on campus. So where do you start? Right here… and right now! It is important to get involved early at UNI as it helps to lay the foundation for a successful future after college. Please visit for complete information of all organizations, and a useful list of student organizations by major.

International Student Association (ISA)
This cultural and social club for international and American students is an opportunity to share cultural experiences and learn from others. ISA is an organization devoted to developing an atmosphere of understanding and friendship between people from different countries. Members build bridges between cultures, languages, ideologies, and creeds. They strive to work at heightening awareness and promoting understanding of other cultures on the UNI campus and surrounding community. The association plans many social events throughout the school year including picnics, movie nights, and other fun activities. ISA also helps sponsor programs on diversity and participates in campus and community service. To become an ISA member, simply email and you will be added to receive their weekly emails. No membership fees involved!

International Student Promoters (ISP)
This is a group of students with international educational interest, who seek to promote UNI to prospective international students around the world. The group is affiliated with the UNI Admissions Office and works in conjunction with the international admissions staff to directly increase the enrollment of international students on campus. ISP members communicate with international prospective students, answer questions and facilitate the international admissions process. Occasionally, ISP members assist the admissions office by giving campus tours to international visitors and students.  To get involved, please e-mail to

Many more ethnic-cultural (Chinese Students and Scholars Association, Saudi Student Club, Turkish Students Association), language (French Club, German Club, Russian Club) religious (Catholic Student Association, Muslim Student Association, Wesley Foundation) student organizations exist at UNI!  Learn more at

Student Services

International Student and Scholars Office
113 Maucker Union 273-6421
Assists international students in all aspects of their lives at UNI. Help in all areas is available including academic, immigration, and personal matters.

Office of International Programs
28 Gilchrist Hall 273-6807
Provides International Education leadership for the UNI campus and facilitates visiting scholars, faculty, and researchers in addition to establishing and maintaining relationships with other universities around the world. 

Office of Student Financial Aid
105 Gilchrist Hall 273-2700
Helps students handle the economic aspect of college by exploring funding sources, including grants and scholarships, employment opportunities, and student loans.

Office of Academic Advising
102 Gilchrist Hall 273-3406
Works with individuals who are deciding, changing majors, first-year students, and experiencing academic difficulties.  

Office of Career Services
102 Gilchrist Hall 273-6857
Additionally, they provide career guidance from freshman year through post graduation, assistance in locating internships and career-preparation opportunities. The offices also sponsor an annual job fair, which attracts employees from across the U.S. to recruit UNI students.

Academic Learning Center 
7 & 8 Innovative Teaching and Technology Center 273-6023 
Provides assistance in reading, learning strategies and exam services. There are free, short, non-credit courses on effective reading and learning strategies. Tutoring is available for many Liberal Arts Core courses.

Student Health Clinic
101 Student Health Center 273-2009
Provides free medical services and wellness programs to help stay healthy.

Counseling Center
103 Student Health Center 273-2676
Provides counseling to individuals and groups. Sessions are available on topics such as substance abuse, sexual abuse, stress management, and relationship skills.

Student Disability Services
103 Student Health Center 273-2677
Supports and provides services for students with physical, mental, and learning disabilities. 

Wellness & Recreation Services
Wellness/ Recreation Center 273-6275
Provides classes, personal fitness services, recreation programs, substance/sexual abuse prevention and education, intramural sports, and health-oriented programs.

Panther Shuttle 
UNI offers free-of-charge bus service linking the campus from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, during both Spring and Fall semesters.

Student Involvement and Activities Center
63 Maucker Union 273-2683
Publishes a directory of student organizations and contact information. Activities include athletics, fine arts, religious, service, cultural, political, and pre-professional organizations.

Tornado Safety

A tornado is a storm with very high winds that form a funnel cloud.  These clouds can form rapidly and do great damage in a very short time.  Such conditions tend to develop in late spring and summer.

EMERGENCY ACTION: Seek an area of safety on the lowest floors or basement away from windows. 

1. Tornado or Severe Weather Watch: 
a. Conditions are right for a tornado or severe weather. 
b. Staff should be alert to weather conditions. 
c. Alert siren is not sounded. 

2. Tornado or Severe Weather Warning: 
a. A tornado or severe weather is sighted or indicated on the weather radar. 
b. Alert siren located on Baker Hall will sound a steady tone, three-minute blast for severe weather warnings. 
c. When the siren sounds, remain calm. 
d. Proceed quickly and safely to an area of safety.  No one should leave the building: 
• Areas of safety – rooms and corridors on the lowest floor or basement  in the innermost part of the building. 
• Areas to avoid – stay clear of windows, corridors with windows or large freestanding expanses. 
e. Assist physically challenged and disabled persons during weather related emergencies. 
f. Stay in the safe area until the severe conditions pass or an “all clear” message has been transmitted over the emergency broadcast system or local radio/television stations. 
g. After the tornado/severe weather has passed, evaluate the situation and if emergency help is needed, call Public Safety at 273-4000. 
h. Be aware of dangerous structural conditions and down power lines. Report damaged facilities to the Physical Plant at 273-4400. 
i. Be alert for fires, gas leaks and/or power failures. 
There is no guaranteed safe area during tornado/severe weather.  However, it is important to seek immediate shelter in the best location possible to minimize your exposure to injury.


Welcome Week
Join fellow students as the university kicks off the start of another great year. You won’t want to miss the fun activities that are planned during opening weekend and the first week of school to welcome students to UNI. Food, fun and frolic abound as you see old friends and make new ones. Be a part of it all! 

Homecoming Weekend
Join alumni and students in a week of activities including pep rallies, store-window painting, a parade, and the “big” football game. 

Rumor has it that a student doesn’t officially become a UNI coed until he/she has been kissed at midnight beneath the 101-foot tall Campanile. This is never truer than on the Friday of Homecoming week. No Homecoming would be complete without being campaniled.   

Jingle Your Keys
Join the crowds in the UNI-Dome and shake your keys each time the Panther football team “kicks off.” 

Standing through the First Basket
Sports fans will be on their feet at the UNI basketball games at the beginning of each “half.” 

Family Weekend
Invite your family to campus this weekend to experience campus life. Numerous events are planned for families and students to spend time together during this specially designated fall weekend. 

Augie’s Attic
A Halloween tradition guaranteed to scare as you search for the ghost (Augie) in Lawther Hall’s “haunted” attic. 

Celebrate the Seasons Holiday Program
Light up the holiday spirit at this festive event held annually during the week following Thanksgiving. Watch in awe as the twinkling lights of the holiday tree and other seasonal displays illuminate the campus. Greet Santa and his elves, listen to seasonal music, and experience holiday traditions from around the world. 

Diversity Week
The University affirms its commitment to diversity during this special week in mid September. Lectures, seminars, festivals and other events help students, faculty and staff appreciate the unique differences of others and promote a better understanding of the richness diversity can weave into our community. 

Student Organizations Fair
Have fun in Maucker Union at the annual open house for student organizations. Tables displaying information about recognized student organizations are set up throughout the Union. Become involved and be a part of UNI’s co-curricular activities. Add your name to a membership list and reap the benefits of involvement. This fair traditionally is held on a Wednesday early in September. 

Cedar Falls/Waterloo

UNI is located in the city of Cedar Falls.  Cedar Falls is located in the northeast quadrant of Iowa, in the middle of America's heartland.  The city is home to the University of Northern Iowa, easy to access from Interstate 380, and located at the intersection of Highways 27 (the Avenue of the Saints) and 20.  The city is also served by the Waterloo Regional Airport.  Cedar Falls is a member of a larger metropolitan area that includes Waterloo, Evansdale and Hudson, known collectively as the Cedar Valley, whose population is 160,691 overall.  Cedar Falls' population is 36,940.  University students comprise 13,000 of these citizens.  Visitors find Cedar Falls a charming place to shop and dine and to enjoy artistic and cultural experiences and exciting athletic competitions.  You may learn more about the nieghboring Waterloo here

Athletic/Sporting Events

UNI Athletic Teams
Fall: football, volleyball, cross-country, soccer
Winter: basketball, wrestling, swimming/diving, in-door track, rugby
Spring: track, softball, tennis

Waterloo Black Hawks (hockey)
Waterloo Bucks (baseball)
Waterhawks Ski Team (water skiing)







Links to other websites are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.

Athletic/Sports Facilities

Athletic/Sports Equipment

Europa Cycle & Ski 277-0734 4302 Unievrsity Ave
Runner's Flat 277-1154 120 Main St
Scheels All Sports 277-3033 6301 University Ave
UNI Outdoor Recreation 273-7163 174 Wellness & Recreation Center

Bike Trail Maps


 Cadillac Lanes Inc 234-6888 650 Laporte Rd Waterloo
Maple Lanes Bowling Center 234-1414 2608 University Ave Waterloo
Valley Park Lanes 266-7818 1931 Valley Park Dr


Pheasant Ridge Golf Course 266-8266 3205 W 12th St

Park and Trails Maps

Recreation Centers

Black Hawk Tennis Club 232-7512 1005 Black Hawk Rd Waterloo
Cedar Falls Recreation Center 273-8636 110 E 13th St
River Plaza Athletic Club 235-7621 20 W 4th St Waterloo
UNI Wellness and Recreation Center 273-6275 UNI

Roller-Skating and Ice Skating

 Young Arena 291-4300 125 Commercial St Waterloo


The Falls Aquatic Center 266-8468 3025 South Main St





Links to websites are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.


It is recommended that you bring between $100 and $300 cash.  Credit cards are widely accepted for many expenses.  It is not safe to keep a lot of cash (currency) with you.  Banks and credit unions provide a safe way to keep your money.  You may open up checking and/or saving accounts in local banks; to do so you need your photo ID.

Checking account is an account which allows the holder to write checks against deposited funds.  One may withraw money from checking account by using debit card.

Savings account is a deposit account at a bank or savings and loan which pays interest, but cannot be withdrawn by check writing.  It is also possible to transfer money from savings to checking account.

Debit card is a plastic card that works in conjunction with the checking account; it can be used at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to withdraw money or directly at the stores to make purchases; the money is deducted from the checking account.

Check is a piece of paper (or sometimes electronic) that orders a payment of money from the checking account; it can be used to make purchases or to pay bills; the money is deducted from the checking account. 

Banks and Credit Unions 

Cedar Falls Community Credit Union 266-7531 123 W 4th St
Farmers State Bank 1710 W 1st St 268-1879 
First National Bank 266-2000 602 Main St
First Security State Bank 266-0474 3229 Greenhill Cir 
Iowa Community Credit Union 277-3940 3301 Cedar Heights Dr
Liberty Bank 296-7555 205 W 2nd 
Lincoln Savings Bank 266-0095 301 Washington St
Regions Bank 800-734-4667 422 Main St
Veridian Credit Union 235-3228 Maucker Union UNI
UNI Credit Union 273-2479 802 W 29th St
U.S. Bank 277-1320 222 Washington St
Wells Fargo Bank 273-8855 6309 University Ave

CAMPUS ATM's (Automated Telle Machines)

Veridian Credit Union: 23rd Street Market, Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, Maucker Union, McLeod Center, Redeker Dining Center, Towers Dining Center, UNI-DOME


American currency is based on the decimal system with 100 cents to 1 dollar.  Currency is used in coins and bills.  Coins come in values of 1 (penny), 5 (nickel), 10 (dime), 25 (quarter), 50 (half-dollar), and 1 (silver dollar).  Paper bills come in values of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100.



Links to websites are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.

Child Care

If your child or children are accompanying you for this journey to the U.S., you may find a list of local child care centers below.  The list is provided for your convenience, so please make sure to personally check out the center:

UNI Child Development Center 273-2263 1 PLS 19th and Campus  
The UNI CDC is a child care and instruction resource for students, faculty, and staff of UNI, located in Cedar Falls.  It is a part of the College of Education, and their mission is to provide a nurturing and safe environment to support learning for the families and students of the University.  UNI CDC follows UNI academic calendar (including summer sessions) and offers special student and faculty/staff rates.    

A To Z Learning Center and Daycare 266-6755 4828 University Ave
Cedar Valley Preschool and Child Care Center 268-1944 724 Lantz Ave
Community United Child Care Centers 277-7303 1026 E Seerley Bvld 
Craydles 2 Crayons 266-7944 4710 Cedar Heights Dr



Links to websites are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.


Iowa lies in the humid continental zone and generally has hot summers, cold winters, and wet springs. Temperatures vary widely during the year, with an annual average of 49°F (9°C). The state averages 166 days of full sunshine and 199 cloudy or partly cloudy days. On average, a normal daily maximum temperature is 86°F (30°C) in July and a normal daily minimum is 10°F (–4°C) in January. Annual precipitation averages 34.7 in (88 cm) annually, snowfall averages 30 in (76 cm) annually, and relative humidity averages 72%.

Iowa has four distinct seasons:
Fall (mid-September to mid-December) is cool and rainy
Winter (mid-December to mid-March) is cold, windy, with snow and ice
Spring (mid-March to late May) could be rainy and stormy or sunny; mix of cool, warm, and hot temperatures
Summer (June to mid-September) is hot and humid with thunderstorms

It is important to dress appropriately in the winter: several layers of clothes, heavy coat, hat/cap, gloves/mittens, scarf, and insulated boots with textured soles.  Avoid walking on ice.  Do not travel during blizzards.  More tips at and current  weather at  
Windchill Advisory/Warning: This announcement means that the temperature poses a danger to exposed skin, which could cause redness or frost bite in a few minutes. Special precautions should be taken to cover hands, head, face, and feet when outside.

To convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit, multiply by 9/5 and add 32.  To convert from Farenheit to Celsius, subtract 32 and multuply by 5/9.

Online Conversion





Links to websites are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.

Communication/Cell Phones

Phone Services

AT&T 800-222-0300
CampusSIMS                                                                                                                                                            Communications Fidelity 800-219-6993
McLeod USA 800-909-5161
CenturyLink 877-932-3887 
Zaptel 877-LDCARDS

Prepaid International Phone Cards

Kwik Star 277-7226 2019 College St
Wal-Mart Supercenter 277-6391 525 Brandilynn Blvd 

Postal Services
Copyworks 266-2306 2227 College St
Federal Express 800-463-3339
Hy-Vee 266-7535 6301 University Ave 
United States Postal Service 266-4734 221 W 6th St
United States Postal Service 275-8777 300 Sycamore St Waterloo
University Book & Supply 266-7581 1009 W 23rd St 
United Parcel Service 268-1705 6820 University Ave

Copies, Fax, Lamination, etc

Copyworks 266-2306 2227 College St
Staples 232-3700 1542 Flammang Dr Waterloo


Cedar Falls Times 277-0536 315 Main St
Northern Iowan 273-2157 Maucker Union
Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier 291-1498 501 Commercial St Waterloo

Cellular/Wireless/Mobile Phones

You may sign up for a plan with the cell phone provider or purchase a pre-paid cell phone.  Some providers require a social security number.  Often, the second option is more expensive; however, the first option requires you to sign a 1-year or a 2-year contract.  When choosing a plan, consider the following:
- does the company charge for both outgoing and incoming phone calls?
- does the company offer free night and weekend minutes?
- is there additional charge for both outgoing and incoming text messgaes?
- does the company offer a special international calling plan?
- can you sign a contract without a social security number?
- can you use the phone you brought from your home country? 
Sim cards in the U.S. work differently than in other parts of the world; please, make sure to check with each individual cell phone provider.  

Cell Phone Providers

AT&T 800-222-0300 (can use own unlocked phone brought from abroad) 
I Wireless 277-8249 5925 University Ave #3 277-8249  (it is often possible to use hardware from your home country with new sim cards they provide)
Qwest Wireless 800-244-1111 (can use own unlocked phone brought from abroad)
Sprint 277-0900 6301 University Ave
Verizon Wireless 236-0400 2060 Crossroads Blvd Ste 3507 Waterloo
US Cellular 266-2500 6301 University Ave 

Pre-paid Cell Phones

Hy-Vee 266-7535 6301 University Ave 
Target Store 553-1120 214 Viking Plaza Rd 
Walmart Supercenter 277-6391 525 Brandilynn Blvd


Links to websites are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.

Dental/Teeth Care

Dental and vision care in the U.S. can be costly, so we recommend that you access services (if they are available) before leaving your home country. Dental and vision care are not included in most health insurance plans, but UNI student insurance offers health and dental insurance plans. 

Cedar Falls

AAA Dental Svc 277-8478 922 Rainbow Dr #1
Anne Hennesey 266-1906 9219 University Ave
Green Hill Family Dental 266-1433 4507 Chadwick Rd
Midwest Dental 277-7441 907 Rainbow Dr
Valley Park Family Dental 277-1454 1915 Valley Park Dr




Links to websites and telephone numbers are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.


Grocery Stores

Aldi 6322 University Ave 
Fareway 277-6858 214 N Magnolia Dr
Hy-Vee 266-7535 6301 University Ave 
Root’s Market 266-3801 2021 Main St
Sweet Basil Market 277-1868 111 Main St
Target 553-1120 214 Viking Plaza
Walmart Supercenter 277-6391 525 Brandilynn Blvd

Ethnic Grocery Stores

Balkan Grocery 232-2255 1816 Williston Ave Waterloo
Europa Market 287-5972 307 W 5th St Waterloo
Hy-Vee 266-7535 6301 University Ave
Iowa International Grocery 319-277-7649 2302 W 1st St Suite #1 Cedar Falls
Nana’s Oriental Grocery Store 833-0737 521 Lafayette St Waterloo
Waterloo General Market Inc 319-290-3405 822 Laporte Rd Waterloo 



Links to websites and telephone numbers are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.

Hair Salons/Barber Shops

Cedar Falls

College Hill Barber Shop 277-9972  2216 College St
Cost Cutters 277-7520 1813 Sheldon Ave
Great Clips 266-1444 226 Brandilynn Blvd #A
Jiva Lifestyle Salon & Spa 268-0772 223 Main St
La’ James International College 277-2150 6322 University Ave 
MasterCuts 273-9000 6301 University Ave #1115
Razor's Edge Hairstyling 268-1682 2211 College St




Links to websites and telephone numbers are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.

Hospitals/Medical Care

Cedar Falls

Convenient Care - Cedar Falls 575-5800 226 Bluebell Rd
Sartori Memorial Hospital 268-3000 515 College Street (includes emergency room)
Urgent Care at Prairie Medical Park 553-0828 4612 Prairie Parkway


Allen Memorial Hospital 235-3941 1825 Logan Ave (includes emergency room)
Convenient Care - Waterloo 272-7425 2710 St Francis Dr 
Covenant Medical Center 272-8000 3421 West 9th St (includes emergency room)
Urgent Care Center at United Medical Park 833-5888 1753 Ridgeway Ave 

Ask-a-Nurse 800-593-1414
Call with any medical questions. Treatment recommendations or a referral will be made over the phone.
Nurse on Call 272-2600
Provides information and referral to appropriate services if necessary. 


Transportation Options for International Students to Area Hospitals or Medical Facilities

International students needing transportation to scheduled off-campus medical appointments have the following options:   

1.  Transportation from a trusted friend, roommate, or host family member.
2.  Transportation to Covenant Hospital appointments.
     - Free transportation provided by Covenant's "Caravan".
     Call in advance to schedule:  319-272-5895.
3.  Transportation to other local medical facilities. (Sartori, Allen, or Cedar Valley Medical Specialists)
     - Taxi (must call to schedule and patient is responsible for the fare)
     - Bus (check bus schedules in advance)
     Allen Hospital - Route 3 East - Green
     Sartori Hospital - Route 9 Cedar Falls Loop - Purple
     Cedar Valley Medical Specialists - Route 1 West - Blue
4.  Transportation by staff of International Students and Scholars Office
     - Limited to students unable to take public transportation due to physical limitation or per medical provider recommendation.
     - Call one business day prior to appointment:  319-273-6421.
5.  Transportation to medical appointments outside of Cedar Falls/Waterloo area.
     - Student must arrange own transportation.
6.  Transportation due to medical emergency
     - Ambulance transport.
     - Cost of ambulance transport will be submitted to student's health insurance.




Links to websites and telephone numbers are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.


Cedar Falls 

Baskets of Laundry 112 3rd St
College Hill Laundry corner of College St and 23rd St
Hudson Road Laundry & Tanning 266-8403 266-8403
Waterloo Road Laundromat 268-1295 2404 Waterloo Rd





Links to websites and telephone numbers are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.

Living Off Campus

Cedar Falls and Waterloo have many apartment, condo and townhouse options for those who prefer to live off-campus. Students interested in living off campus are responsible for arranging their own housing.

For more information on off-campus housing options, visit: 

Northern Iowa Student Government’s apartment listing 

Local newspaper online 





Renter's insurance is insurance that pays for your or others’ personal property if it is damaged or stolen. Renter’s insurance can cover losses due to theft, vandalism, damage from explosions, water damage, fire and smoke damage, and much more whether you are at fault or not.

For information about renter's insurance, visit:






Links to websites and telephone numbers are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.


Cedar Falls

CVS/pharmacy 277-5181 2302 W 1st St
Hy-Vee Drugstores 266-9874 6301 University Ave 
Medicap Pharmacy 277-1829 103 E 18th St 
Walgreens 553-0206 2509 White Tail Dr
Walgreens 236-9927 6301 University Ave
Walmart Pharmacy 277-7793 525 Brandilynn Blvd 





Links to websites and telephone numbers are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.

Religious Worship/Churches

Assembly of God

Glad Tidings Assembly of God 266-8982 4421 Hudson Rd
Living Hope Assembly of God 277-2849 2513 Center St


Antioch Baptist Church 233-2587 426 Sumner Waterloo
Cedar Heights Baptist Church 
277-3889 2430 Neola
Greenhill Baptist Church 
266-0441 4316 Cedar Heights Dr 
Valley View Baptist Church ABC 
266-8054 815 Orchard Dr 


St Patrick Catholic Church 266-3523 705 Main St 
St Stephen Student Center 266-9863 1019 W 23rd St

Christian Churches of Christ

Cedar Falls Church of Christ 266-6763 2727 W 4th St

Christian (Disciples of Christ)

First Christian Church 266-5959 1302 W 11th St

Christian Science

First Church of Christ Scientist 268-1240 701 W 6th St

Church of Christ

Church of Christ-Cedarloo 266-5039 3110 Loma St

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 266-6374 3006 Pleasant Dr

Christian Reformed

Grace Reformed Church 233-4341 520 Maxwell St


Community of Christ 277-4735 4616 Cedar Heights Dr


St. Luke’s Episcopal Church 277-8520 2410 Melrose Dr


Massjid Alnoor Islamic Community Center 233-6640 728 W 2nd St Waterloo
Islamic Foundation of Iowa 610-3235 330 South St Waterloo

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Cedar Falls Congregation 291-6838 1530 Pleasant Valley Dr Waterloo


Sons of Jacob Synagogue 233-9448 411 Mitchell Waterloo


Bethlehem Lutheran Church (ELCA) 266-3541 4000 Hudson Rd 
Nazareth Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA) 266-7589 7401 University Ave 
Lutheran Student Center (ELCA) 266-1653 2616 College St
College Hill Lutheran Church (LCMS) 266-1274 2322 Olive St


First United Methodist Church 266-1713 723 Washington St 
St Timothy’s United Methodist Church 266-0464 3220 Terrace Dr


Cedar Falls Gospel Hall 277-8011 1302 Walnut St

Orthodox Eastern

St Demetrios’ Greek Orthodox Church 232-4773 613 W 4th St Waterloo


Cedar Heights Presbyterian 268-0153 2015 Rainbow Dr 
First Presbyterian 277-3930 902 Main St

Unitarian Universalism

Unitarian Universtalist Society of Black Hawk County 266-5640 3912 Cedar Hights Drive

United Church of Christ

United Church of Christ 266-9686 9204 University Ave


Faith Wesleyan Church 266-0602 209 Walnut St




Links to websites and telephone numbers are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.

Restaurants/Eating Out


Balkan Grill (Bosnian in Waterloo)  926 La Porte Rd, Waterloo, IA
China Wok 277-8641 123 E 18th St
Dragons Cave 268-0374 2225 College St
East China 277-0022 4602 University Ave
Great Wall 277-8899 2125 College St
Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant 266-4368 6306 University Ave
New Century Buffet 266-5529 5907 University Ave 


J’s Homestyle 266-3199, 1724 W 31st St
Panther Pride 266-3988, 2627 Center Street  Cedar Falls, IA
Perkins Restaurant & Bakery (open 24 hours) 235-6595, 3280 University Ave Waterloo, IA
Village Inn 277-5551, 6301 University Ave
Waffle Stop Grill 277-1729, 904 Rainbow Dr

Fast Food 

Arby's 266-3627 6018 University Ave
A & W Restaurants 277-0002 5908 Nordic Dr
Burger King College Square Mall
Kentucky Fried Chicken 266-8551 6104 University Ave
Long John Silver's 266-8551 6104 University Ave
Maid-Rite 277-9748 116 E 4th St
McDonald's 266-6300 2515 Main St
Panda Express 268-0866 1 College Square Mall Suite 1415, Cedar Falls, IA
Taco Bell 859-0700 6023 University Ave 
Taco John's 277-6658 6210 University Ave 
Wendy's 277-1765  2915 McCLain Dr


Honey Garden Restaurant 234-8100 826 Laporte Rd Waterloo


Sakura Japanese Steakhouse 266-4000 5719 University Ave
Soho Sushi Bar & Deli 266-9995 119 Main St
Tokyo (Japanese in Waterloo) 126 East Ridgeway Avenue, Waterloo, IA


Masala Grill & Coffee House 277-3227 911 W 23rd St
Taste of India 277-4900 1704 W 1st St Suite A   


Brown Bottle 266-2616 1111 Center St
Ferrari's Ristorante 277-1385 1521 Technology Pkwy
Old Chicago 277-7770 6301 Unievrsity Ave 


Amigos Mexican Restaurant 266-7771 5809 University Ave
Carlos O’Kelly’s 277-1121 6507 University Ave
El Mercadito (Grocery store and food truck), 520 La Porte Road, Waterloo, IA
Los Cabos 277-9676 112 Main St
Pablo's Mexican Grill 877-828-5708 310 Main St
Panchero's Mexican Grill 277-1054 6421 University Ave
Rudy's Tacos (best Mexican in town!)  2401 Falls Avenue, Waterloo, IA


Hu Hot Mongolian Grill 553-1100 6301 University Ave

Pizza (Dine-in and delivery)

Davinci's Pizza 277-7766 4302 University Ave
Domino's Pizza 277-3030 6826 University Ave
Doughy Joey's Peetza Joynt 277-2800 126 Brandilynn Blvd
Godfather's Pizza 277-7777 1621 W 1st St
Little Ceasars Pizza 266-7777 1704 W 1st St
Other Place 277-9720 2214 College St 
Papa John's Pizza 277-7722 1322 W 1st St
Papa Murphy's Take N Bake Pizza 268-4007 5925 University Ave
Pizza Hut 266-1300 1612 W 1st St
Pizza Ranch 266-2555 4302 University Ave
Tony's 277-8669 407 Main St 


Blue Moon Café 266-6512 2223 College St
Jimmy John's 266-9977 2016 College St
Library 277-3962 2222 College St
Panera Bread 553-0250 6403 University Ave
Pita Pit 266-5554 1710 W 1st St
Quiznos Classic Subs 266-6856 5925 University Ave
Sub City 277-7071 218 College St
Subway 268-1774 6822 University Ave

Sports Bars

Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill 266-1814 6301 University Ave
Beck’s Sports Grill 277-2646 2210 College St
Buffalo Wild Wings 553-0029 6406 University Ave
Mulligan's Brick Oven Grill 277-3426 205 E 18th St
Peppers Grill & Sports Pub 266-9394 620 E 18th St 

Steak and Ribs

Famous Dave’s Bar-BQ 266-0200 6222 University Ave
Texas Roadhouse 266-3200 6301 University Ave
Town House Tenderloins 277-1948 618 Brandilynn Blvd 


Ginger Thai Cuisine – 111 W. 2nd Cedar Falls, IA
Ippa (Asian cuisine) - at Mojo's, 925 W. 22nd St. Cedar Falls, IA
My Thai Cuisine 504-3472 624 Sycamore St Waterloo
Petra Falafel House - 6301 University Ave.  Cedar Falls, IA (College Square Mall food court)

Upscale (more expensive)

Bourbon Street 266-5285 314 Main St
Montage 268-7222 222 Main St


Links to websites and telephone numbers are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.


Supermarkets are large stores that carry food, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene products, and other items (Hy-Vee, Wal-Mart, Target).  Specialty stores sell a certain type of merchendise such as food, clothing, shoes, furniture, etc (Kohls, Famous Footwear, Simpson Furniture).  Convenience stores are much smaller stores that are limited in selection of items; prices are usually higher than supermarkets.  Drugstores carry medications, cosmetics, magazines, etc.  Prices marked on goods at the stores are fixed, you cannot bargain for a lower price.  

Cedar Falls

College Square Mall 277-3636 6301 University Ave 
Located within walking distance or a very short bus ride. It features Aeropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Bath & Body Works, Buckle, Express, Scheels, Vanity, Vistoria's Secret, Von Maur, Younkers.  You are welcome to shop, dine, and enjoy the line-up of more than 50 name-brand stores, specialty boutiques, restaurants and service providers.  College Square Cinema features state-of-the-art auditoriums, all featuring digital sound, stadium seating, and convenient showtimes Party room available for rental.

Cedar Falls Main Street 277-0213 206 Main St 
You may find many specialty and art shops, galleries, and restaurants.

Black Hawk Village University Ave and McClain Dr
About 15-min walk from campus to Dollar General, Famous Footwear, Kohl's, and others.  

Holiday Plaza 6300 University Ave
About 15-min walk from campus to Aldi's, Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que, La' James International College, Tan Downunder, West Music, and others. 


Crossroads Center 234-1788 2060 Crossroads Blvd
Located about 20 minutes away by car, or a two-bus ride. It features Buckle, Dillard’s, Foot Locker, JCPenney, Maurices, Old Navy, PacSun, Sears, Vanity, Younkers along with other stores, services, and food ventors. The Marcus Crossroads Cinema features state-of-the-art auditoriums, each featuring digital sounds, stadium seating, and convenient showtimes  Features Ultra Screen and 3D auditorium. 

In addition, this area of Waterloo features such stores as Famous Footwear, Hobby Lobby, K-Mart, Kohls, ShoeCarnival, Target, Wal-Mart, among many others.  

Consignment/Second Hand Stores

Schwab’s Furniture      9902 University Ave, Cedar Falls, IA    319-266-2076

Gilgen’s Furniture        115 W 16th St, Cedar Falls, IA             319-266-5152

Goodwill Store             4318 University Ave, Cedar Falls, IA    319-277-0040

Goodwill Store             4107 Hammond Ave, Waterloo, IA       319-266-6120

Main Street Exchange  309 Main St, Cedar Falls, IA                 319-277-6554

St. Vincent De Paul      203 Main St Cedar Falls, IA                  319-277-6554

St. Vincent De Paul      320 Broadway Waterloo, IA                  319-232-3366

Treasure Chest            922 La Porte Rd Waterloo, IA               319-287-6773

Stuff Etc                      1210 Flammang Dr Waterloo, IA           319-233-8009

Barn Happy                  11310 University Ave, Cedar Falls        319-266-0888




Links to websites and telephone numbers are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.



Rod Library 273-2462 UINI
Cedar Falls Public Library 273-8643 524 Main St
Waterloo Public Library 291-4521Commercial St, Waterloo


University Book & Supply 266-75811009 W 23dr St
Bought Again Books 266-7115 909 W 23rd St  


Barnes & Noble Booksellers 232-0475 1518 Flammang Dr, Waterloo  
B. Dalton Booksellers 277-5466 6310 University Ave




Links to websites and telephone numbers are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.



Panther Shuttle

Panther Shuttle (free student and staff bus service between UNI campus and major off campus concentrations of students) 


SafeRide (free weekend transportation between College Hill and Main Street)


Jefferson Lines 266-7581 1009 W 23rd St
Metropolitan Transit Authority (MET) 234-5714 1515 Black Hawk Rd Waterloo

It is important to note that even though public transportation is inexpensive, it might be not as frequent or convenient as in major U.S. cities or overseas. 

Car Rental

To rent a vehicle, you must be at least 21 years of age, have a current Iowa or International driver's license, and have a major credit card.

Avis Rent-A-Car 233-0569 2790 Airport Blvd Waterloo
Dan Deery Rental and Leasing 277-1148 7404 University Ave 
Enterprise Rent-A-Car 266-8600 4728 University Ave
Hertz Rent-A-Car 277-3552 4807 University Ave 


Cab Yellow Inc 234-3535 110 W 14th St Waterloo
City Cab 234-2587
Dolly's Taxi 242-2011 or 242-2952 401 Main St
First Call Taxi 233-8294
Loop Taxi & Transportation  961-6691 121 Webster St Waterloo

Owning and Operating a Car

Department of Motor Vehicles (driver's license and vehicle registration) 2060 Crossroads Blvd 235-0902
Iowa Department of Transportation 515-239-1101

Iowa Driver's License is not required for international students who have a valid license from their country, but it is recommended that you obtain an Iowa Driver’s license if you will drive on a regular basis. A State ID can be obtained from the Iowa Driver’s License Center in the Crossroads Shopping Center, Waterloo. Documents needed for a license are: 1) Passport (with visa if required), 2) Electronic I-94 printout obtained from, 3) Original I-20 or DS-2019 form, 4) Social Security Card (if you are eligible for one) and 5) Two pieces of evidence you reside in Iowa.  A list of examples can be found at The Department of Transportation station does not accept credit or debit cards, only cash and checks.  You may download Iowa Driver’s Manual at, or use the hard copy provided in your welcome bag. The first step is to take a written test covering Iowa road regulations found in the Iowa Driver’s Manual, which can be obtained at the Crossroad’s location. After passing this test, a driving test must be successfully completed. You will need to find somebody who takes you there and will be willing to lend you his/her car in order to pass the driving test. Finally, you must pass a vision test before receiving your license.

Vehicle registration is required and can be purchased at the Iowa Vehicle Registration Center in the Crossroads Shopping Center.  

Buying a car from an independent individual could often be cheaper than buying once from the car dealership (store). However, there is no warranty on the car at the time of purchase. To purchase from an individual, look for good bargains advertised in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier and the HomeTowner or check the following websites: 

More info to consider: - choose a car by model and make and find out options nearby - learn about the different values a car may have - read other users’ experiences with specific cars and models - check on the VIN number of a car that will tell you all about a car’s previous mechanic history and ownership - read experts’ rating on cars, and other items such as electronic devices. 

Car Dealers (Stores)

Bill Colwell Ford Inc 988-4153 238 Waterloo Rd, Hudson 
Community II 273-8700 7000 University Ave
Community Chevrolet-Buick-Cadillac 277-5010 4521 University Ave 
Dan Deery Lincoln-Mercury 277-6200 6823 University Ave
Dan Deery Toyota 277-4500 7404 University Ave
Dan Deery Truck Center 266-5500 2704 Main St
Witham Auto Center 277-8123 2728 S Main St
Holdiman Motors 277-1210 4325 University Ave
Rydell Chevrolet 866-749-5112 1325 E San Marnan Dr Waterloo 

Car Insurance

Iowa law requires that all car owners have car insurance.
These companies require that you must have or be getting an Iowa Driver’s License:
Allied Insurance 277-4162 3903 Heritage Rd
State Farm Insurance - Sandy Benak 277-6435 2103 Main St
These companies accept your international license with an additional charge:
American Family Insuarnce 277-2056 114 W 4th St
Pedersen Dowie Clabby and McCausland 234-8888 3927 University Ave Waterloo
These companies will allow you to purchase insurance over the phone, a packet will be mailed to you later on with the type insurance:

Car Maintenance/Repair

Corner Lube 277-1792 106 Iowa St
Firestone Complete Auto Care Store 234-7743 517 W 4th St Waterloo
Jiffy Lube 277-0600 5215 University Ave
Midas Auto Service Experts 268-0167 4810 University Ave
Schuerman's Auto Repair 277-5343 1505 W 1st St
Smitty's Tire & Appliance 877-225-6580 6912 University Ave
Tandem Tire & Auto Service Inc 268-0438 122 W 1st St
Tuffy Auto Service Center 277-0405 2322 Main St


Links to websites and telephone numbers are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.

Vision/Eye Care

Dental and vision care in the U.S. can be costly, so we recommend that you access services (if they are available) before leaving your home country. Dental and vision care are not included in most health insurance plans. 

Cedar Falls

Eye Care Associates 266-0345 516 Division St 120 A
Lenscrafters 268-1642 6301 University Ave
Vista Optical 266-3988 6301 Unievrsity Ave
Wal-Mart Vision Center 277-9320 525 Brandilynn Blvd
Wolf Eye Clinic 277-0103 516 Division St 120A




Links to websites and telephone numbers are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.


Iowa is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". Iowa was a part of the French colony of New France. After the Louisiana Purchase, settlers laid the foundation for an agriculture-based economy in the heart of the Corn Belt. Iowa is occasionally known, by Iowans, as the "Food Capital of the World". In the latter half of the 20th century, Iowa's agricultural economy made the transition to a diversified economy of advanced manufacturing, processing, financial services, biotechnology, and green energy production. Iowa is the 26th most extensive in land area and the 30th most populous of the 50 United States. Its capital and largest city is Des Moines. Iowa has been listed as one of the safest states in which to live.

The United States of America is a federal republic consisting of fifty states and a federal district, as well as several territories. It is commonly called the United States (US, USA, U.S. or U.S.A.) and colloquially as America. The country is situated mostly in central North America, where its forty-eight contiguous states and Washington, D.C., the capital district, lie between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, bordered by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. The state of Alaska is situated in the northwest portion of the continent, with Canada to its east and Russia to its west across the Bering Strait. The state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also has several territories in the Pacific and Caribbean. At 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2) and with around 315 million people, the United States is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area, and the third-largest by both land area and population. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. The geography and climate of the United States is also extremely diverse and is home to a variety of species.



Links to websites are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.


Americans celebrate a variety of federal holidays and other national observances throughout the year. American holidays can be secular, religious, international, or uniquely American.

With the wide variety of federal holidays, and the many levels of American government, it can be confusing to determine what public and private facilities are open on or around a given federal holiday. You can usually find such information in the daily newspaper or by calling the office you wish to visit.

The following are American federal holidays and other common national observances. Federal holidays are indicated as such.

New Year's Day is January 1. The celebration of this federal holiday begins the night before, when Americans gather to wish each other a happy and prosperous coming year. Many Americans make New Year's resolutions.

Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday in January. The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was an African-American clergyman who is recognized for his tireless efforts to win civil rights for all people through nonviolent means.

Groundhog Day is February 2, and has been celebrated since 1887. On Groundhog Day, crowds gather in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to see if groundhog Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow after emerging from his burrow, thus predicting six more weeks of winter weather.

Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14. The day was named after an early Christian martyr, and on Valentine's Day, Americans give presents like candy or flowers to the ones they love. The first mass-produced valentine cards were sold in the 1840s.

Washington's Birthday is a federal holiday observed the third Monday of February to honor George Washington, the first President of the United States. This date is commonly called Presidents' Day and many groups honor the legacy of past presidents on this date.

Easter falls on a spring Sunday that varies from year to year. Easter is a Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For Christians, Easter is a day of religious services and the gathering of family. Many Americans follow old traditions of coloring hard-boiled eggs and giving children baskets of candy.

Earth Day is observed on April 22. First celebrated in 1970 in the United States, it inspired national legislation such as the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. Earth Day is designed to promote ecology, encourage respect for life on earth, and highlight concern over pollution of the soil, air, and water.

National Arbor Day was proclaimed as the last Friday in April by President Richard Nixon in 1970. A number of state Arbor Days are observed at other times to coincide with the best tree planting weather, from January and February in the south to May in the far north. The observance began in 1872, when Nebraska settlers and homesteaders were urged to plant trees on the largely treeless plains.

Mother's Day celebrates mothers the second Sunday of May. President Woodrow Wilson, who issued a proclamation in 1914, asked Americans to give a public expression of reverence to mothers on this day. Carnations have come to represent Mother's Day, following President William McKinley's habit of always wearing a white carnation, his mother's favorite flower.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed the last Monday of May. It originally honored the people killed in the American Civil War, but has become a day on which the American dead of all wars, and the dead generally, are remembered in special programs held in cemeteries, churches, and other public meeting places. The flying of the American flag is widespread.

Flag Day, celebrated June 14, has been a presidentially proclaimed observance since 1916. Although Flag Day is not a federal holiday, Americans are encouraged to display the flag outside their homes and businesses on this day to honor the history and heritage the American flag represents.

Father's Day celebrates fathers the third Sunday of June. Father's Day began in 1909 in Spokane, Washington, when a daughter requested a special day to honor her father, a Civil War veteran who raised his children after his wife died. The first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued in 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson.

Sturgis Falls CelebratioOn one of the last weekends in June, the Cedar Falls community celebrates with a weekend-long party featuring a parade, various kinds of music, craft sale, and numerous activities for all ages.

Independence Day is July 4. This federal holiday honors the nation's birthday - the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It is a day of picnics and patriotic parades, a night of concerts and fireworks. The flying of the American flag is widespread.

Labor Day is the first Monday of September. This federal holiday honors the nation's working people, typically with parades. For most Americans it marks the end of the summer vacation season and the start of the school year.

Columbus Day is a federal holiday celebrated on the second Monday in October. The day commemorates October 12, 1492, when Italian navigator Christopher Columbus landed in the New World. The holiday was first proclaimed in 1937 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Halloween is celebrated on October 31. On Halloween, American children dress up in funny or scary costumes and go "trick or treating" by knocking on doors in their neighborhood. The neighbors are expected to respond by giving them small gifts of candy or money.

Veterans Day is celebrated on November 11. Originally called Armistice Day, this federal holiday was established to honor Americans who had served in World War I, but it now honors veterans of all wars in which the U.S. has fought. Veterans' organizations hold parades, and the president places a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Thanksgiving Day is a federal holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest. Many regard this event as the nation's first Thanksgiving.The Thanksgiving feast became a national tradition and almost always includes some of the foods served at the first feast: roast turkey, cranberry sauce, potatoes, and pumpkin pie.

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is December 7. In 1994, Congress designated this national observance to honor the more than 2,400 military service personnel who died on this date in 1941, during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, by Japanese forces. The attack on Pearl Harbor caused the United States to enter World War II.

Christmas Day is a federal holiday celebrated on December 25. Christmas is a Christian holiday marking the birth of the Christ Child. Decorating houses and yards with lights, putting up Christmas trees, giving gifts, and sending greeting cards have become traditions even for many non-Christian Americans. 



Links to websites are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.

Immigration Laws/Regulations

With any questions, please contact International Services Office.
SEVIS: Student and Exchange Visitor Information System
U.S. Department of State: Operates Embassies and Consulates around the world. State issues the visas.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Responsible for controlling movement of people into the United States. Also responsible for monitoring people while in the U.S. and for enforcing federal law. The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS), Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE) and The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (BCBP) are all subdivisions of the DHS. These three bureaus were formerly known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The title “Immigration and Naturalization Service” still appears on many official documents and forms.
Form I-94: Arrival & Departure Record.
Form I-20: Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status for academic and Language Students. A Dept. of Homeland Security form.
Form DS-2019: Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor status (J-1). A Dept. of State form.
Visa: Issued by the Department of State, tells the Immigration & Naturalization Service that you have been approved by the State Department to seek entry to the U.S.

Your Responsibilities
  • Notify the Registrar's office of any change in your address as soon as it has occurred. You may do this in person by visiting the Registrar's office in 227 Gilchrist Hall, or by using the electronic form available at MyUniverse.
  • Notify International Services after each address change too.
  • Remain a full-time student, or discuss any underenrollment BEFORE the semester begins.
    • 12 or more credit hours are full-time for undergraduate students
    • 9 or more credit hours are full-time for graduate students
    • CIEP Students should contact Phil Plourde or the CIEP office staff if they have questions about full-time CIEP enrollment or enrollment in part-CIEP and part-credit bearing courses.Remain a full-time student, or discuss any underenrollment BEFORE the semester begins.
  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months into the future. If it will expire soon, International Services will help you find out how to renew your passport with the assistance of your country's embassy or designated consular office in the U.S.
  • Check your e-mail account regularly.
  • Never work off-campus without first talking to the International Student Advisor.
  • Remember that you have the right to be employed on-campus for up to 20 hours per week during academic semesters and full-time between semesters and over the summer vacation.
  • You must speak with the International Student Advisor if you are taking a course that requires an off-campus internship, or if an internship or similar work project is a required part of your degree program. Do this before the semester when this internship is scheduled to take place.

Useful links:

Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services main directory of forms, including current application fees
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
U.S. DHS Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
U.S. DHS Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
ICE SEVIS Information Page
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State Director of Embassies and Consulates around the world
U.S. Social Security Administration
Directory of Foreign Embassies/Consulated in the U.S.

Life in the U.S.

This information is meant to provide some, but not all generalities about people in the U.S.

Many people in the U.S. have a number of friends with whom they share something in common. A U.S. student might consider you a friend, but he or she might only invite you to do something once or twice a semester. This is not because he or she doesn’t like you. It simply means that life in the U.S. is very busy and U.S. students tend to have many commitments (work, community activities, and family) in addition to their studies.

Americans generally prefer to avoid elaborate social rituals. If the meeting involves more than just socializing, it may be somewhat formal (like a job interview), but Americans generally like to treat everyone similarly with little concern for title or status. That is why people with “important” positions may invite you to call them by their first name. Americans prefer an atmosphere, in which all are considered equal.

Greetings – How are you?
This is a common greeting in the U.S., but very often the person who asks the question “how are you?” does not wait for a response. Some international students think this is very rude, but it is not intended to be. It is not customary for the person asking this question to wait for a long answer. It is customary to reply, “fine” or “okay.” You might also reciprocate the question. He or she will most likely answer with the same brief response.

People in the U.S. have “sensitive” noses that do not like the smell of the human body. There are entire stores devoted to selling sweet-smelling soaps, deodorants, and lotions. Most people shower at least once a day, and tend to change/wash clothes a lot. You may notice that most students will not wear the same shirt for more than one day at a time – even if it is still clean!

Time and Appointments
The American lifestyle can be very rushed because Americans value their time and try to use it efficiently. They often schedule their days in advance and plan appointments when they need to take some “time” from another person. Since time is valuable, Americans are normally very punctual for appointments. To avoid misusing the valuable time of another person, Americans demonstrate respect for the other individuals by calling to inform them if they will be late or must cancel an appointment. There is a well-known statement that time is money, which is often associated with Americans’ perception of the value of the time.

Although Americans are informal, they generally are conscious of time. Appointments are expected to begin promptly. Guests invited to a home for dinner should arrive on time because the meal is often served first. Hospitality takes many forms: a formal dinner served on fine dishes, an outdoor barbecue with paper plates, or a leisurely visit with no refreshments. Hosts generally want guests to feel at ease, sit where they like, and enjoy themselves. It is not unusual for either guests or hosts to agree on a reasonable limit of time for the visit if schedules are pressing. Guests are not expected to bring gifts, but a small token such as wine or flowers might be appreciated. Hosts inviting close friends to dinner may ask them to bring a food item to be served with the meal. Americans enjoy socializing; they gather in small and large groups for nearly any occasion, and they enjoy talking, watching television or a movie, eating, and relaxing together. (Taken from

Americans typically keep at least 1 ½ to 2 feet of distance between themselves and others when they are talking. They may stand closer when speaking to family members or intimate friends. Personal space is important, as is minimizing physical contact with others. As friendly gestures, though, they may pat others on the upper back or shoulder, or they might briefly touch another person’s arm. Only close friends may hug or embrace.

Eating styles and habits vary among people of different backgrounds, but Americans generally eat with a fork in the hand with which they write. They use a knife for cutting and spreading, setting it down as they begin to eat. When a knife is used for cutting, the fork is switched to the other hand. People eat foods such as french fries, fried chicken, hamburgers, pizza, and tacos with the hands. They generally place napkins in the lap. Resting elbows on the table is often considered impolite. After-dinner refreshments such as dessert or coffee are frequently served away from the dining table. Guests are expected to stay a while after the meal to visit with the hosts. In restaurants, the bill usually does not include a service charge; leaving a tip of 15 percent is customary. (Taken from


There are a number of circumstances when tipping/gratuity/voluntary extra payment is expected.  Many service personnel depend on tips for the majority of their income.  For example:
Waitresses or waiters in restaurants (15% of the bill)
Hairdressers or barbers (10-15% of the bill)
Taxi drivers (15% of the fair)
Bellhops in hotels ($1 per piece of luggage min)
Porters in airports ($1 per piece of luggage min)  
Never tip public officials, including police officers. 

Arabic Culture Video on Tipping

Measurement Conversion

Metric system is not the widespread system in the U.S.

To change Centigrade to Farenheit, multiply C by 9/5 and add 32.  To change Farenheit to Centigrade, subtract 32 and multiply by 5/9.
0C = -18F 
10C = -12F
20C = -7F
30C = -1F
40C = 4F
50C = 10F
60C = 16F
70C = 21F
80C = 27F
90C = 32F
100C = 38F

To change kilometer to miles, multiply by .62 
1 inch = 2.54 centimeters
1 foot = 30 centimeters
1 yard = .09 meters
1 mile = 1.6 kilometers

1 square inch = 6.5 square centimeters
1 square foot = .09 square meters
1 square yard = .8 square meters
1 square mile = 2.6 square kilometers
1 acre = .4 hectares

1 ounce =  28 grams
1 pound = .45 kilograms
1 short ton = .9 tons

1 teaspoon = 5 milliliters
1 tablespoon = 1.5 mmilliliters
1 fluid ounce = 30 milliliters
1 cup = .24 milliliters
1 pint = .47 liters
1 quart = .95 liters
1 gallon = 3.8 liters
1 cubic feet = .03 cubic meters
1 cubic yard = .76 cubic meters

Money/Money Mangement

Ways to Save Money in College

Managing the Money You Have
Get a free checking and savings account.
Take the free checks that the bank offers in the maximum amount they allow.
Failure to keep track of your bank/checking account can easily cost you money via overdraft fees.
If you have to have a credit card, make sure you get one with the lowest interest rate possible; no annual fees and with only enough of a credit limit to get you by in an emergency.
Pay credit card bills on time.

Don't drink, or drink less, especially when socializing in bars and restaurants.
Don't smoke.  Cigarettes are very expensive and are a serious public hazard.  Smoking is not allowed on UNI campus.

Before purchasing a textbook, consider borrowing it from someone else on campus or from the campus library.
If you can’t borrow, buy used college textbooks.

If you live on campus and pay for a partial or whole meal plan, be sure to utilize it.
Have a coffee fix? Make your own.
Don’t tip just because someone poured you a cup of coffee.
Skip the fast food forays and late night take-out.
Collect coupons and follow the weekly sales at the grocery store.
Kick the bottled water habit; support your local tap water and drink for free.

Computers - Hardware and Software
If you’re buying a computer, save by shopping the student specials; discounts, rebates and back to school specials.
While you’re in college don’t take risks with your electronic equipment. Laptops and other trendy little electronics can be made off with quickly in a dorm environment.
Software is another high-dollar item. Also shop online software clearinghouses for discounted products from all vendors.
Decline extended warranties.

Entertainment- Music, Movies, Arts and Culture
Forget about the T.V. You can watch cable television through your computer.
Trying to save money on going out to the movies? Hit the matinee showings. Look for free movies on campus; chances are you will find classics, independents, student films, noir and experimental.
Rent DVDs as a group.
Buy used CDs at the local music shop. Turn in your old CDs for credit and you may never have to exchange real money!
Avoid spending money this weekend. Be creative in what you choose to do, even if it includes a picnic, a long walk, flying a kite, a pickup game of soccer or football, an impromptu poker game (not played for money), or reading a good book.
Pick up a local newspaper and check upcoming events for freebies: concerts, arts and crafts fairs, theater, festivals, art galleries, and museums.

Off-Campus Apartment Living
Get a studio apartment or split rent with roommates.
Rent a place that will have all appliances provided.
Pay utility bills before they are due. Avoid late fees.
Save money on bills by keeping the A/C or heat turned down or off if possible
Turn off lights; use the oven sparingly and take shorter showers.
If winters are cold and heat bills are high you can insulate your windows with plastic.

If you have to shop, make sure you patronize places that offer student discounts.
Shop for stuff you really need during the tax-free week - available in many regions of the country.
Shop early or late for Christmas and the holidays.
Create Christmas and holiday gifts with your own two hands.
Get a few friends together to pitch in for the price of an annual membership at a place like Sam’s Club or Costco.
Buy in bulk.
Don’t shop hungry, and that goes for any kind of shopping.
Learn how to shop for clothes at the consignment shop.

Try to get an apartment which is close to campus.
Don’t take the car to campus.
Walk, bike, roller blade, skateboard your way around town.
Public transportation is cheap, too.

Save money by doing the least amount of traveling necessary. Road trips are great fun, but you will put out money for gas, accommodations, food, drink and entertainment. When it’s all said and done, your long weekend will smack your wallet.
Name your own price for a flight or accommodations, if you must travel, by using services such as Priceline. Factors such as current events and gas prices may cause travel prices to fluctuate.
Check prices for Amtrak or Greyhound versus air travel. Both companies offer student discounts.
A student travel discount card will get you nice discounts on accommodations, food, and transportation if you are traveling nationally or internationally: STA Travel and International Student Identity Card, ISIC

The Cost of Keeping in Touch
Refer to cell phone comparison sites that offer side-by-side data of plans from company to company.
Save time and save money on your next cell phone plan: avoid text messaging.
Use a pay-as-you-go cell phone plan. This will only work if you use your cell phone on a minimal basis.
Communicate via email, instant messengers, create a blog, share photos on Flickr, or invite friends to visit your MySpace site.
Use an inexpensive or free internet phone calling service: Skype; Vonage; Google Talk; Trillian & Gaim; Facebook; international calling cards

Shop for your personal items at a discount retailer. Money strategists suggest buying the “store brand” as a cost-saving alternative, as well.
Doing laundry costs money: bring your own detergent versus buying the single use from the machines; buy discounted detergent or on sale only; bring your own drink and/or snack versus buying from the vending machine while in the laundry mat; fill the machines to capacity.

Enroll in an on-campus exercise class such as yoga, tai chi, kick-boxing or spinning. Exercise will keep you healthier and happier and will fill up time you might otherwise have spent spending money.
Feeling down and getting the urge to splurge? Instead go for a run, a bike ride, or a brisk walk. You’ll get some exercise-induced serotonin coursing through your brain and the feeling will cost you nothing.

Personal Hygiene

Below please find some tips for American appropriate and proper hygiene practices:

Most Americans wash with soap at least once a day to control body odors and brush your teeth with toothpaste at least in the morning and evening. Use underarm deodorant/antiperspirant to control perspiration odors, and wash hair as often as necessary to keep it from becoming oily.

Most Americans use perfume, cologne, mouthwash, and other scented products to give yourself an odor that others will presumably find  pleasant. However, do not use too many scented products.

Most American women shave their underams and legs.  Women also wear varying amounts of makeup on their faces. The amount of makeup considered acceptable is based solely on personal tastes and preferences.  

Clothing should not emit body odors. Most Americans wash clothing that has taken on the smell of the wearer's perspiration before it is worn again. 

Generally, you should be clean. Makeup, perfume, and cologne are not necessary for social acceptance, but cleanliness is definitely expected.

Social Security/Employment

International Students at UNI will have the opportunity to apply for a Social Security Number after being hired for an on-campus job, or if they have been awarded a graduate assistantship. Social Security Numbers are issued for employment purposes only. The Social Security Administration requires proof of employment at UNI before they will accept an application for a Social Security Number.

How to Get Social Security Number and Social Security Card
To get an original number and card, you'll first need to be hired for an on-campus job or be awarded a graduate assistantship. The next step is for you to meet with Ms. Jan Rogers in the payroll office. You may schedule an appointment to meet with her by calling 273-6212. She will complete some paperwork that will be sent to the Student Employment Office here at UNI, then to International Services. When it has been signed by Ross Schupbach, the International Student Advisor, you will be contacted by telephone or e-mail. You will then be able to make arrangements for International Services to transport you to the Social Security Administration office in Waterloo, or you would be free to go there on your own to apply. You will need to complete an Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5), and show your I-20 or DS-2019 form, your passport, visa and I-94 card. You must submit your application in person at the Social Security Administration Office located at 3121 Greyhound Drive in Waterloo.
To get an application:
Use on the Internet
Pick one up at International Services
Call 1-800-772-1213
Or, visit a local office
There is no charge to get a Social Security card. This service is FREE.

How to Replace Your Social Security Card
To get a duplicate card because yours was lost or stolen, or a corrected card because you have changed your name, call or visit your local Social Security office to use this FREE service. You'll need to:
Complete an Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5).
Show evidence of your identity. If you need a corrected card, we need to see one or more documents which identify you by the old name on our records and your new name. The document showing your current identity must be of recent issuance so that we can determine your continued existence.
Show evidence of your U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were born outside the U.S.
Your duplicate card will have the same name and number as your previous card. Your corrected card will have your new name and the same number as your previous card.

Proving Your Identity
Some documents that are acceptable to prove your identity are:
Driver’s license
Employer ID card
School ID card
Marriage or divorce record

Protect Your Social Security Number and Records
Your Social Security number is used to keep a record of your earnings. Here are some things you can do to protect your earnings record and to make sure it is accurate:
Keep your number and card in a safe place to prevent theft
Show your card to your employer voluntarily when you start a job, so your records are correct. Don't rely on your memory
Check your name and Social Security number on your pay stub and W-2 form to make sure they are correct
Notify us every time you change your name

Providing Your Number to Others
If a business or other enterprise asks you for your Social Security number, you can refuse to give it to them. However, that may mean doing without the purchase or service for which your number was requested. For example, utility companies and other services ask for your Social Security number, but do not need it; they can do a credit check or identify their customers by alternative means.
Giving your number is voluntary even when you are asked for the number directly. If requested, you should ask:
Why your number is needed
How your number will be used
What happens if you refuse
What law requires you to give your number

The answers to these questions can help you decide if you want to give your Social Security number. The decision is yours. Our primary message is this - be careful with your Social Security number and your card to prevent their misuse. If you think someone is misusing your number, ask us for the leaflet, When Someone Misuses Your Number (Publication No. 05-10064).

What to Do Once You Receive Your Social Security Card
Take your card to the Registrar’s office so that they can update your main UNI student record.
If you are employed on campus, you must also take your card to Jan Rogers in the UNI payroll office as well as your job supervisor. 
If you are a graduate student, you must also notify the UNI Human Resources Office.


Most international students are eligible to work part-time on campus when jobs are available. There are many job opportunities on the UNI campus for students with student (F) visas or exchange visitor (J) visas to work. The pay is usually in the range of $7.50 - $9.50 per hour. F and J visa holders are not authorized to work off campus as a means of support except under extraordinary circumstances. An online job board can be viewed

With questions about working off-campus or Optional Practical Training, please contact International Services Office


Nearly everyone in the U.S. must pay federal income tax. In addition, State of Iowa collects income taxes. An income tax return is a report that you must make to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the U.S. Government for any calendar year when you earn income in the United States. Fortunately, you do not need to do these alone. Free help is available! Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program helps international students prepare income tax returns. VITA was established by the Internal Revenue Service to help low income people who may find it difficult to pay for tax preparation services. The program also provides accounting students an experiential learning opportunity as they work with taxpayers. For more information, please go to during the tax season January 1 - April 15. 

If you earned income in the U.S., you will need to file an income tax return with the U.S. government, specifically with the IRS. Income taxes can be confusing and complicated, so you are encouraged to seek free assistance from the VITA volunteers. Be sure to bring your W-2 form from UNI and any other tax forms you have received. You will also need your I-20 or DS-2019 form, your passport and I-94 card.
If you did not have a job, you should still file IRS form 8843, available here: You will only need to complete Part I and Part III before signing at the bottom of the form and sending it to the IRS at the address indicated in the instructions.
April 15 is the deadline for filing all tax returns!


Selected Websites 

Travel Agencies

Gulliver's Travel Store Inc 233-3502 1026 Alabar Ave Waterloo
Humble Travel Services 277-2202 125 Main St 
Short’s Leisure Travel Service 234-5577 1203 Ridgeway Ave Waterloo 

Travel by Air 

Eastern Iowa Airport (Airport Shuttle info
Waterloo Regional Airport

Airport Travel Tips and Airport Parking Guide

Getting to Nearby Airports

Airport Shuttle Service 
Homeport Shuttle

Travel by Bus

Greyhound  800-231-2222
Megabus 877-462-6342
Metropolitan Transit Authority (local travel) 234-7513 1515 Blackhawk St Waterloo
Trailways Bus Lines  234-2833 416 Sycamore St Waterloo
Transportation (Ryder) 277-0196 514 Savannah Park Rd Waterloo



Links to websites and telephone numbers are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.

U.S. Government/U.S. Laws

U.S. Government
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of the fifty states that is the United States of America.  The federal government includes three distinct branches of government: legislative, executive, and judiciary.  These branches have various powers defined by the U.S. Constitution.

Executive Branch 
The executive branch of the government is responsible for enforcing the laws of the land. The president, vice president, department heads (cabinet members), and heads of independent agencies carry out this mission.
Judicial Branch
Courts decide arguments about the meaning of laws and how they are applied. They also decide if laws violate the Constitution—this is known as judicial review, and it is how federal courts provide checks and balances on the legislative and executive branches.
Legislative Branch
Article I of the Constitution establishes the legislative or law making branch of government. It has a two-branch Congress—the Senate and the House of Representatives—and agencies that support Congress.

U.S. Laws
The U.S. laws consist of many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law, of which the most important is the U.S. Constitution.  The U.S. Constitution is the foundation of the federal government of the U.S. It sets out the boundaries of the federal law, which includes constitutional acts of Congress, constitutional treaties ratified by Congress, constitutional regularions promulgated by the executive branch, and case law originating from federal judidiary.

Legal age to drive in Iowa 17
Legal age to smoke sigarettes in Iowa 18 
Legal age to consume alcohol in Iowa 21 

U.S. History
The history of the U.S. traditionally starts with the Declaration of Independence in 1776; however, it traces back to prehistoric times and Native Americans.  UNI offers many classes on the U.S. History: United States History to 1877, United States History Since 1877, U.S. History from 1929 to 1960, Recent United States History, History of Iowa, among others.



Move into residence hall or apartment

Department of Residence  
Redeker Center Room 10


Check in

International Students and Scholars Office
Maucker Union Room 113


Obtain official university ID Card

Department of Residence
Redeker Center Room 10


Sign in to MyUNIverse; help at Computer Consulting Center
Innovative Teaching & Technology Center Room 36


Sign in to UNI e-mail; help at Computer Consulting Center
Innovative Teaching & Technology Center Room 36


Register for classes (courses)

Office of Academic Advising
Gilchrist Hall Room 102

Purchase textbooks

University Book & Supply
1009 W 23rd St


Take TB test and submit immunization records

UNI Student Health Clinic
Student Health Center Room I


Pay U-Bill (university bill)

Cashier’s Office
Glichrist Hall Room 103


Open bank account (optional)

Bank of your choice

Obtain cell (mobile) phone (optional)

Provider of your choice

Update UNI directory information; help at Computer Consulting Center
Innovative Teaching & Technology Center Room 36