Pre-arrival Logistics

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Photo by Katie Bell, Y-VISP Program Director

Cost of Living

Student Financial Services calculates the cost of attendance to Yale College for a given academic year. For 2017-2018, the estimated cost for books and personal expenses is $3,670. (Note: This figure is typically updated in March.)


Y-VISP students generally hold J-1 student visa status and must be registered as full time students during their entire time at Yale. Enrolled students will be contacted by the Director of Y-VISP regarding the issuance of the DS-2019 (the J-1 visa document) and the application for the J-1 student visa.

Yale Net IDs and Yale email addresses

Y-VISP students will receive automated emails from Yale's system, sent to the email address listed on their Y-VISP application. It will include information about how to set-up Yale NetIDs and Yale email addresses, as well as a temporary pin. The Y-VISP program director will send Student ID numbers (SID) and Yale NetIDs directly to the students.


Required Immunizations

Yale University requires students to complete immunization and health forms. Students will not be permitted to enroll in classes until they have submitted all the forms and met the immunization requirements.

Yale Health Insurance

All Y‐VISP students are enrolled in Yale’s comprehensive insurance, which includes Basic Coverage, Hospitalization/Specialty Care, and Yale Health Prescription Plus.

Tip: Yale's Health Insurance includes mental health coverage. It provides short-term therapy that is individualized to the student’s personal situation. To find more about available services, visit Mental Health & Counseling.


Before arriving at Yale, Y-VISP students will be randomly assigned to one of Yale's twelve residential colleges. Rooming arrangements vary, but Y-VISP students generally share a room with another Y-VISP student, and share a suite with other Yale students.


As part of the experience at Yale, all Y-VISP students will be given a full meal plan, which will allow them to eat in any of Yale’s residential college dining halls, three meals per day, seven days per week. Menus feature a wide spectrum of choices from ethnic variations to favorite feel-good foods to gourmet creations and weigh popularity in relation to nutrition. Lacto-ovo vegetarian and vegan entree choices are regularly included. The style is all-you-care-to-eat.

Travel Documents

Here are some items that Y-VISP students should carry with them or put in carry‐on luggage. Students should not pack these items in a suitcase they plan on checking in. Instead, these items should be packed in waterproof plastic bags and placed in carry-on luggage.

  • Legal Documents:  I‐20 or DS‐2019 visa document, valid passport (for at least six months), and any other important documents (marriage license or school transcripts for example).
  • Financial statements: Original supporting financial documents, such as personal bank statements, and/or a financial aid award.
  • In case of emergency the office address and telephone number for Katie Bell, Y-VISP Director. Address‐ 55 Whitney Avenue, 3rd floor, New Haven, Connecticut 06520. Phone‐ 203‐432‐8761.
  • Medications used regularly, including extra prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. The original container with the doctor’s information should be used for prescriptions. If a student has a health problem that requires medication, the student should bring enough to last as long as possible.
  • English Translations of important documents, including medical & vaccination records, school transcripts, marriage license (if applicable), medication prescriptions (if any), etc.
  • A credit card that can be used in the U.S. (recommended, but not required). Students can use a credit card to pay for things while they are getting settled and won’t have to carry so much cash with them. It is safer to carry small amounts of cash. A credit card can also be used at the airport to pay for a cart to carry luggage and transportation to Yale if needed.  If a student does not have a credit card, but does have an ATM card, that will be fine.
  • An ATM card (bank/debit card). The student should make sure it is a card that can be used at an automatic teller machine (ATM) to withdraw cash in USD from their local bank account. The student will normally pay a small fee to the U.S. bank, and possibly to their bank too, but they will get the most up‐to‐date exchange rate.
  • Photocopies: Copies of visa documents, passport, credit cards and ATM cards should be made and stored separately, in the event that these items are lost.
  • Some U.S. currency (dollars) students should have $200-$300 so that they will have some cash to pay for immediate expenses like meals, transportation, or a telephone card. Bringing more in traveler’s checks is a good option, especially if the student will be waiting for a wire transfer to come from their bank at home to their bank in the U.S.
  • U.S. traveler's checks: Students who plan on carrying more than $200 in cash, should carry U.S. traveler’s checks or credit cards for additional expenses. Traveler’s checks are recommended because of their security – they can be replaced if lost or stolen.
  • Valid Driver’s License: Valid foreign driver’s license and International Driver’s Permit and/or certified English translation. Y-VISP students won’t be able to drive in the U.S. without both documents.

Packing Advice

Packing as lightly as possible 

Y-VISP students will have to carry everything once they arrive, and will have a better sense of what they actually need once they settle in.  There are many places to go shopping near campus that are within walking distance, and students will have an opportunity during orientation to take a bus trip to the outer shopping areas. There are also public buses that students can take to go shopping, if necessary.  Y-VISP students are taken on a shopping trip to Target soon after arrival, so they can purchase any needed supplies. Y-VISP students may want to use the One Bag web site where one can find packing lists, advice and important links, including a link to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration Web site where they can find out which items are prohibited for air travel.


Y-VISP students should remove all old luggage tags from suitcases no matter how sentimental they may be. Students should put their Yale residential college’s address (their dean’s office address), Katie Bell’s office address and contact information on a tag outside of their bag, and on a card that will go somewhere inside the bag as well. Students may wish to tie a colored ribbon to the handle of their suitcases to make them more easily identifiable at baggage claim. Once a student has finished packing, they should zip their bag securely, making sure not to lock any of the compartments on their bags, so that the bag may be opened if chosen for security inspection. Locks will be broken if additional inspection is required.

Clothes and Weather

The weather in Connecticut can range from hot and humid in the summer to quite cold and freezing in the winter. Students need to plan for all four seasons – fall, winter, spring & summer. For the summer students will need light casual clothes, and a bathing suit (the beach is a 20 minute bus ride from Yale). To plan for the changing weather from fall through spring, students will probably want to have at least one heavy coat or jacket and a light jacket or sweater to start with. Students can buy anything else they need, such as scarves and gloves. If a student is from a warm weather country and does not yet own a winter coat, we can recommend nearby places to buy a good winter coat at a discount. To stay warm, people will often layer clothes—for example, a long‐sleeved tee shirt under a sweater, with a jacket on top. This way as it warms up during the day, a student can shed the layers they don’t need. Moreover, if a student brings clothes they can layer, then they don’t need to bring as much. Overall, clothing in Connecticut is affordably priced and if a student needs something once they get here, there are many places to buy discount clothes and shoes.


Dress at US universities is generally very casual, jeans and tee-shirts being the most common combination of clothing. To combat homesickness, students should consider bringing some traditional clothing from their home country to wear for festivals and special occasions. It is recommended that students bring at least one formal evening outfit and a semi‐formal outfit. Many orientation and career events will require formal dress (e.g. a suit and tie for men is expected).


Y-VISP students will need an assortment of footwear, including sandals for summer, heavier boots/shoes for winter and something for formal occasions. They will probably want to bring comfortable sneakers or flat shoes for walking around campus and New Haven. When the snow arrives (typically in December through February) they will be glad they have a good pair of boots.

Mementos from Home

Y-VISP students should bring photographs of friends and family. Some familiar objects to make the student feel more at home might seem like a silly thing when packing, but can make them feel a lot better when they may be feeling sad or missing home. Students should consider bringing some small significant items to place next to their bed or hang on the wall. In addition, they may want to consider bringing small souvenirs from their home country to give as gifts.

Household Items

Y-VISP students should plan on buying most of their household items (cleaning supplies, extra linens, etc.) once they have arrived on campus. The student should bring enough toiletries with them for the first couple of weeks, and can purchase whatever else they need after they arrive.  If there is space in their suitcase, they will want to bring enough toiletries from home to get started. Students can always purchase what they need at second‐hand or discount shop. There is an Ikea furniture store and other good choices for discount shopping located a convenient distance from the Yale campus, as well as a Walgreens drugstore within walking distance from campus where toiletries can be purchased easily.


Y-VISP students should make sure to not pack anything valuable into the suitcase that they check through in case it gets lost. Students should carry all important documents, medications, and toiletries in their carry‐on luggage. Students should pack in their carry-on a change of clothing in case the checked luggage gets lost (it can take a couple of days to locate misplaced luggage).


Y-VISP students should be sure to bring the appropriate convertors and adaptors with them to the U.S.  If they do not bring them with them, they can be difficult to find.