Need to Know!
1.Things to Bring
Climate & Clothes
The weather in Chestertown is relatively mild. Average temperatures throughout the year are as follows:
|January: 0°C||July: 24°C|
|February: 1°C||August: 24°C|
|March: 6°C||September: 20°C|
|April: 11°C||October: 14°C|
|May: 17°C||November: 8°C|
|June: 22°C||December: 2°C|
For orientation, you should make sure that you wear comfortable clothes that are appropriate for hot and humid weather and athletic shoes.
We are located along the Chester River, providing for plenty of moisture in the air. Summers are hot and sticky and winters are cold but relatively clear! We occasionally get light snowfall.
To see the local weather forecast, click here!
If you are here during Spring semester, we recommend that you bring a formal set of clothes and also cultural clothes of some sort. During the spring semester we have Birthday Ball (http://birthdayball.washcoll.edu/ ), which is a campus wide party celebrating George Washington’s birthday. We also have Culture Night which is a special event meant to demonstrate international cultures. This is a good chance for you to show your culture to America so bring something that represents your country like a national costume and/ or specific music.
Unless your phone is tri-band, it’s not going to work in the US. GSM coverage in Chestertown is scarce so it might turn out to be useless as a cell phone. But it can be used as an address book, alarm clock, digital camera, etc. bringing it won’t be a bad idea. Make sure you don’t forget the charger and that the charger’s voltage is US compatible.
You can purchase prepaid cell phones in the U.S. There is a local store, Radio Shack, that carries these types of phones.
Please follow the link below to find out detailed information regarding Washington College computer use, telephone service, email, etc. Please visit this web page as it has very useful information for you to know prior to your arrival. Washington College International Student Computer Information
To be cleared for room check-in, the following forms must have been submitted to the Global Education Office:
- Student Health and Counseling Form
- Copy of Chest X-ray report
- Payment Information Form
After your papers are processed and room access is approved, we will have your room key and orientation materials ready for you upon your arrival.
If you have not already submitted the above materials, please do so quickly! You can fax us copies of the forms at 410-810-7451 or mail them to:
The Global Education Office at Washington College
300 Washington Avenue
Chestertown, MD 21620 USA
Laundry machines and dryers are available in all residence halls, it costs $3.00 to wash and dry your clothes. Dry cleaning is also available in off campus locations.
Every year, Washington College dorms will close after Spring and Fall Semesters. Students are required to leave their dorm and turn in their key no later than 24 hours after their last exam.
Please keep this condition in mind when making your plans for winter and summer vacations.
Dorms are open during Spring Break and Thanksgiving Holidays but Dining Services are closed.
Students are NOT permitted to stay in their dorm over the Christmas holidays. It is required that you are out of your dorm by the end of the last day of exams; no later. Same holds true for the end of the Spring Semester. Please make sure that you figure this information in when making your plans.
Travel outside the US
Travel within the US
Transportation in and out of Chestertown can be difficult. If you need to secure transportation, we suggest using one of the methods listed below:
- Check the Washington College Shuttle Schedule Transportation Services Reservations are required for the shuttle service. There is also the option of Shuttle by Appointment; as follows: The College also offers students the opportunity to arrange a shuttle to various destinations up to 2.5 hours away. Destinations within this area include Philadelphia, Dover, Washington D.C., Baltimore and other popular locations. Students must pay all costs associated with the Shuttle By Appointment including the driver (and driver’s time if the driver must wait for the return trip), gas, tolls and parking (if applicable). Shuttle By Appointment reservations must be made at least seven (7) calendar days before the scheduled trip, are limited to students, faculty and staff and based on the availability of vans and drivers. The individual (or individuals) reserving the shuttle must participate in the trip and the names of all passengers must be provided to the Transportation Office. For more information or to make arrangements for a shuttle, please contact the Transportation Office.
- Inquire with other students who have cars
There is another option for local travel during the week. It is a version of public transportation. It is called MUST (Maryland Upper Shore Transit). It is a system of Shuttles with multiple routes and transfer stops. So you could get on in Chestertown and depending on where you wish to go you would transfer to another bus; get off at the appropriate stop to pick up the next shuttle that goes to your destination. The cost for 1 day of rides is $2.00 no matter how many transfers you make. The shuttle travels between 4 counties on the Eastern Shore. This service is only available on weekdays. Our office has a listing of times and stops.
Perhaps you would like to travel to New York City for a Saturday or for a weekend; if so, there is an inexpensive option called Boltbus. It runs from either Baltimore Metro station or a Washington D.C. Metro station to New York. The cost of the trip varies but typically is reasonably inexpensive - usually under $20 for a one way ticket. You would have to take the College’s shuttle to the Metro Station at New Carrollton, take the metro to the station for the bus departure. You will need to check the Washington College Transportation web site for shuttle times. The web site for Boltbus is http://www.boltbus.com.
Yet another option if you wish to go to Philadelphia on a Friday would require again a ride to a station in Delaware to catch the local transit to Wilmington, DE and then take the local train to Philadelphia. Options to ride to station from Washington College are reserving the College Driver and paying his fee or having a friend who can drive you there. There is a bus stop that runs to Washington D.C. from Kent Island (about 40 minutes from the College). This would require that you have someone drive you to the station. It is in Stevensville, MD. This bus line runs Monday-Friday in the early morning.
There are several car rental facilities in and around Chestertown. When you rent a car, you should be aware of the following facts:
- You must be 21 years of age or older.
- You need either a US or International Driver’s License to rent a car. Foreign licenses are not accepted. There is one rental company that may use your foreign license; Enterprise Car Rental
- The price of the car you rent will vary depending on its model.
You should ask about promotions and/or student discounts at the time you rent.
The fee you pay usually covers the cost of the car for the day plus a limited amount of miles.
You must use a credit card. Often, Visa and Mastercard are the only credit cards accepted. Cash and debit cards are not accepted.
You should inquire about insurance. Auto Rental companies have their vehicles insured, however, you will be charged for any expenses incurred in an accident if you do not have a “collision damage waiver.” A collision damage waiver usually costs around $10.00USD and in case of an accident you will pay only the deductible stated on the vehicle’s insurance policy (usually the first $250.00 USD of expense).
You should also be aware that if an accident is your fault and someone chooses to sue you for money, there is no insurance to help you. Drive responsibly.
Working on campus
- F-1 Regulations: Working
- J-1: Allowed to work on campus only if the student is exchanging for a full academic year
International students at Washington College may work on campus if here for two or more semesters. Social Security Card application instruction is offered on the website under FAQs.
You will need to obtain a job offer in order to apply for a US social security number. Both of these need to be done before you can work.
To apply, you will need your valid passport and visa, I-20 or DS-2019, your I-94 card, an authorization letter from the Global Education Office and an SS5 Application.
Applications may take several weeks to process.
6.Health InsuranceFor more detailed information about insurance benefits and coverage:
- Benefits and Coverage
All international students at Washington College are required to carry health insurance. For this purpose, all students who are not covered by a US insurance company with branches located and accepting claims in the United States are required to enroll in the Accident and Sickness Insurance for International Students of University Health Plans. Below are some things you should know about your insurance.
Where am I covered?
You are covered anywhere in the world except for your home country.
What am I covered for?
You are covered for any accident or illness and may visit any doctor or hospital neccessary to treat you.
When am I covered?
Student’s enrolled in the College health plan are covered from August 15 through August 15th. If you are only at Washington College for one semester, please inquire with Student Health Services in regard to your coverage start and end dates.
Who can I contact if I have a health question?
If possible, students should be seen by Health Services, and if needed a referral will be made. Our staff would be happy to answer any health questions. Health Services can be reached at 410-778-7261. On campus, just dial 7261.
What do I do if I have an insurance question?
Feel free to inquire with Health Services regarding your insurance coverage. You may also call the insurance company directly at 1-800-437-6448 or (617) 472-5324. , or visit their web site at University Health Plans.
If I go to a doctor, do I need cash?
You may need money when you go to a private doctor’s office. Check with the doctor’s office before you go. For prescriptions filled at a pharmacy, you must pay for them, then submit the bill to the insurance company for partial reimbursement.
How does the billing and insurance system work in the US?
You should carry your health card with you at all times and present it upon entering the hospital.
If you do not have your card, the local hospital, the Chester River Hospital Center, has a list of students that are covered by the school insurance. Tell them that you have the international student health insurance and they will contact Washington College on your behalf. For other hospitals, you must call to give them the information on your health card as soon as possible. Be sure to tell the receptionist that you will call or fax your health card information, or you will be billed directly! You can also ask the hospital to call Student Health Services for your insurance information.
How do I get a replacement card?
If you need another copy of your insurance card, please call Student Health Services.
Things to be aware of:
For every illness or accident you must complete a claim form. The insurance company mails claim forms to the students whenever they receive a bill. Blank claim forms are available in Health Services.
Remember there is a deductible (a percentage payment) for which you are responsible for each illness/accident. If you fail to fill out a claim form, you will be responsible for the bill. If you have trouble filling out the form, Student Health Services can help.
No insurance company pays 100% of all medical bills.
7.Other facts you might want to know
Tipping is truly an American oddity. Many people in our society do a wonderful job working and yet receive no tip for the services they provide, while others expect you to tip them for performing tasks.
Some common examples of people you should tip are:
- Waiters and waitresses in restaurants
- Bellhops at hotels if they help you with your bags
- Valet parking attendants
- Hairstylists (Some women tip their hair stylist, men do not)
- Bathroom attendants
- Taxi drivers
- Pizza delivery persons
You are not expected to tip:
- At buffet restaurants where you serve your own food
- At fast food restaurants
- Salepeople in stores
- Mail persons
The amount you tip is your decision. Tips usually range from 10% to 20% of your bill. The more you tip, the more you express your thanks. If you feel someone did minimal work on your behalf you may tip them 10%, or if you feel they performed poorly, you may not tip them at all!
Relying on an international bank can be difficult. It is recommended that you open a local bank account here in Chestertown where you can have funds wired from abroad or deposit money on your own.
We have scheduled a time for opening bank accounts during the first days of your orientation and will assist you in the process.
To open an account you will need to take the following things with you:
- Your passport
- Your Washington College ID/other photo ID
- Your phone number
- Your address
- An initial deposit of $20.00 USD or more
ALL INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS ARE EXPECTED TO FILE A STATEMENT WITH THE US GOVERNMENT REGARDING THEIR TAX STATUS EVERY YEAR THEY ARE A STUDENT—THIS IS IMPORTANT TO DO!!!
Did you know ALL INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS should file “Form 8843” even if they are not working?
Did you know that if you are working and Social Security taxes were withheld from your paycheck you need to file “Form 1040NR-EZ?”
Did you know that the deadline to file your taxes is April 15?
It is your responsibility to file your taxes and form 8843. The Global Education Office does not prepare US Income tax forms, however there is usually free tax help available in Chestertown. Our office will make every effort to alert you to tax counseling in the local area. If you use a tax service you should bring the following materials to your appointment:
- Form 8843 (and 1040NR-EZ if you have worked and received income)
- pencil, pen
- I-94 or DS-2019
- Social Security Number
If you did not file taxes/8843 for past years, please call 1-800-829-1040 to request forms from past years. You may also access tax forms and information at www.irs.gov and searching for forms by number where it says “Forms and Publications.” In addition, the University of Texas at Austin has developed a tax site with the aid of tax professionals designed to help international students understand and file their own federal income taxes. Visit this site to see.