international student life


Welcome to all International Students and your families! Many international students at the School of Theology (STH) call this their home away from home, so we are glad you are here and we hope you will enjoy your time at STH. We hope that you are excited to get more involved in student life here at STH, and possibly throughout the BU community. Your success is very important to us so please feel free to ask any questions at any time. Once again, Welcome! and thank you for choosing STH.

The International Students Life office is here to help answer your questions and to assist you with any questions or issues that you might have. Your academic success while gaining the knowledge and skills to survive all aspects of living in Boston are the goal of this office. You may discover more about yourself just by being more active in your community. The International Student Life Office works closely with the Community Life and Spiritual Life Offices to provide advice and support on social, personal adjustment matters and concerns through programming and through providing numerous opportunities for you to get involved on campus and in the community.


Your International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) advisor is Mika Kanazawa and can be reached at If you have any immigration questions, please contact Mika and she will help you.

Medical Insurance

As of Fall 2012, Boston University requires all International students to enroll in the Boston University Student Medical Insurance Plan. In the past, Boston University has allowed international students to waive enrollment in the student medical insurance plan based on the student’s self-evaluation that the U.S.-based plan they purchased met the requirements for comparable coverage. However, many International students, due to their inexperience with health care services and expenses in the United States, have misunderstood “reasonably comprehensive” and “accessible.” Many have waived out of the school insurance based on plans that may appear to the student to provide comparable coverage, but that do not, in fact, provide the appropriate level of medical insurance protection and/or access to health services for the student.

By mandating enrollment in the Boston University Student Medical Insurance Plan, the University will ensure that the international population is carrying medical insurance coverage the conforms both to the Massachusetts requirement for students enrolled in Massachusetts colleges and universities, as well as the Federal requirements for student health plans in the United States.

Legal Matters

Social Security: Get a Social Security Number Information here.

Taxes: All international scholars and students in F-1 or J-1 status as well as dependents in F-2 and J-2 status who were physically present in the U.S. any time between January 1 and December 31 of any given year must complete and submit some type of federal tax form.  International students and scholars in other immigration classifications may also be required to complete and submit tax forms. The number and type of form you must complete depend on whether you earned income during that year, the type of income you received, the length of time you have been physically present in the U.S., and other factors. International Students and Scholars Office will send you information regarding your filing status every spring semester.

Legal Assistance: While it is unlikely that you will encounter any legal difficulties, there are times in life when the unexpected happens. It is important, particularly in the case of any criminal charges or an arrest, that you seek sound counsel and understand clearly how it could affect immigration. Your International Student Life Coordinator, the Dean of Community Life, and your ISSO Adviser are available to listen confidentially, provide guidance and discuss any concerns you may have.

Money Matters

Most banks around Boston University, when catering to the academic community, don’t require a large amount of money to open an account. When looking for a bank, shop around and inquire about banking fees, minimum balance, transferring overseas, etc. Be sure to pay all rent and bills on time.

For your convenience, there are banks in the George Sherman Union, but feel free to ask around at other banks around Boston.


Boston weather is hot and humid in the summer (average daytime temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit or 24 degrees Celsius) and cold during the winter (average daytime temperature of 28 degrees Fahrenheit or -2 degrees Celsius). These are average temperatures, so the daily low may be cooler or higher depending on seasons. Light-weight clothes for the summer and very warm clothes for the winter are recommended.


One of the best things about living in Boston is that it is a vibrant city and Boston University is right in the center of all the hustle and bustle. This means you should always take safety precautions as you would anywhere else. The BU Police Department has a lot of information about how to be safe on campus and in the wider city. The department also provides other services to keep you safe such as Bike registration, Laptop registration, Lost and Found, etc. “Better safe than sorry,” is an expression that means you should follow your instincts about staying safe.

Dining Services

At BU, you will never go hungry because there is always somewhere to eat. With so many food options from East Campus all the way down to West Campus, you have a choice of different foods to satisfy your adventurous palette. Visit the BU Dining website for more information.

Cell Phones

There are several cell phone providers conveniently located near or on the BU campus. Shop around online, and compare rates and services, considering several important factors before you decide on a provider. Find a provider that allows international students to get a contract without a Social Security Number or one that waives the deposits. When choosing your cell phone provider, think about whether you want a prepaid plan and the services that you will use most; services like texting, calling, data transfers etc. In the USA, you pay for both incoming and outgoing calls and texts!

Here are a few Popular Cell Phone providers: TMobile, Sprint, AT&T, Verizon