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Graduate International Student Orientation

Fall 2023 Dates for Graduate International Student Orientation (GISO)

September 11, 2023:  Arrival day; OISS airport pick-up shuttle this day only

September 12 - 13, 2023:  GISO

About the Event

GISO is designed to help new graduate international students acclimate to life at Northwestern. You will meet your OISS advisor, review important immigration requirements, and tour campus. Social activities include a group dinner, local shopping trips with graduate student peer advisors and a bonfire.

Questions prior to arrival?

Join virtual office hours for new students

Newly admitted students may join virtual office hours with OISS staff to ask questions beginning Friday May 5th.

Pre-arrival Online Orientation Courses

OISS is pleased to offer two online courses designed to  aid new degree seeking international students in their transition and arrival to NU. These online courses are delivered via "Homebase"  and are designed to provide important prearrival information to facilitate your arrival to the U.S. and adjustment to Northwestern.

1st Course: Newly Admitted International Student Guide

Follow these steps to create an account and access the “Newly Admitted International Student Guide” through Homebase:

  1. Create an account with Homebase at
  2. In the “select your institution” box, select Northwestern University on the dropdown menu.
  3. In the access code box, enter:  3425
  4. Fill in the rest of the information and set a password to create your account and access the course.
  5. Be sure to make note of your password so that you can return to log in to this platform and access this guide. There will be an additional "Pre-Arrival Guide" course that will be available in July . You will need to login to this same platform to access those guides as well.

NOTE: These courses are intended for all degree-seeking students at Northwestern EXCEPT FOR Master's level and exchange students in the Kellogg School of Management. Kellogg Master's degree level and exchange students will receive information regarding their orientation program and other instructions directly from the Kellogg International team. 

2nd Course: Pre-Arrival Guide (Available in July)

The 2nd course will contain important information on maintaining your immigration status while you are a student at Northwestern University as well as information to help you plan and prepare for travel to the United States and life at Northwestern.

Travel Planning

  • All F-1 and J-1 with an initial I-20 or DS-2019, including transfer students, are permitted to enter the United States 30 days before the program start date listed on their documents. 

OISS Shuttle to Evanston Campus - Sept. 11th only!

OISS will offer shuttle transportation from the Chicago O'Hare International Airport to the Evanston campus on a first come - first serve basis for NEW Fall 2023 graduate students (master's and PhD levels) on Monday, September 11, 2023 only.

  • There will be 3 shuttles departing at approximately 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM or whenever the shuttle is filled to capacity.
  • Meeting Location: Meet Northwestern OISS staff and peer advisors at the McDonald’s in Terminal 5, concourse M, outside the secure areas (after you go through the immigration checkpoint and customs). The OISS representatives will direct you to the shuttle and help you with your luggage.
  • See this O’Hare Map for meeting location
  • If you arrive on another day or after all shuttles have departed, you will need to arrange your own transportation to campus. See Travel to Northwestern for more information.