Pre-Arrival Information

Pre-Arrival Information

The Staff of the ISSO is excited to introduce you to your new home, and wishes to help make your transition to Boston easier and more enjoyable.  This section includes information and resources on many aspects of daily life in America, including medical care and insurance, directions to campus and transportation, housing, banking, schools and daycare for children, a guide to Boston, and a list of international student organizations at Boston University to help you build a network of peers.

In addition, you are encouraged to review the pre-arrival immigration information.  You will find detailed guidelines for applying for a visa, initial check-in requirements, and other recommendations for a successful entry into the United States.  For an overview of ISSO’s services, please visit the “About” section on our website.

We hope that the information contained in this section will be useful for you both before and after arriving in the U.S. and BU.  We look forward to welcoming you to campus, and we wish you a safe journey to Boston.

About Boston

Boston is the capital of Massachusetts and the largest city in New England, with a population of about 5,000,000. This includes a student population of 250,000 representing more than 50 colleges and universities. Students here hail from all areas of the United States and around the world. At BU alone we have international students from 139 countries.


The weather in New England can be unpredictable and changeable, but we have four seasons with distinct weather conditions.

Seasons in Boston

Season Fall Winter Spring Summer
Description Also known as autumn, fall in New England is famous for the landscape of bright reds, oranges, and yellows as the leaves change color. Often brings very cold temperatures and snowstorms. Weather becomes milder towards April; days become longer and flowers bloom. Frequent rainfall and strong winds are common. Often very hot and humid, especially in the middle of the season.
Apparel Light jackets, scarves, sweaters; switching to hats and heavier jackets later in the season Heavy coats, all-weather boots, scarves, gloves, and hats Coats, sweaters, hats, and scarves early in the season, lighter apparel and rain gear as temperatures warm up Lightweight clothing and sun protection
Months mid-Sept.–late Nov. Dec.–late March late March–mid June mid-June–mid-Sept.
Average Temp. 46–60° F/
8–15° C
0–37° F/
-17–3° C
38–60° F/
3–15° C
60–95° F/
15–35° C

Things to Do

Part of the uniqueness of an international experience in Boston is taking the opportunity to explore the pastimes, culture and nightlife of this lively and diverse city.

Boston is a vibrant, exciting city with much to offer residents and visitors alike. Individuals studying, teaching, or researching in the Boston metropolitan area are immersed in one of the great intellectual and innovation hubs of the United States. Boston is also home to a wide array of world-renowned cultural, sports, shopping, and recreational offerings. Living in Boston will give you an excellent opportunity to experience one of the oldest cities in the United States, and to get a first-hand glimpse of American history.

Many of the most important events of the American Revolution and the founding of this country took place in or around Boston, and historical monuments and museums can be found throughout the city. Boston is definitely a “college city,” and many opportunities exist for diversions, including performances, restaurants, bars, clubs, and sporting activities to suit every interest and taste.

No matter what your taste, there is sure to be something going on in Boston to interest you. The possibilities are too long to list them all here, but check out these resources and explore the options:

  • The Boston Globe calendar, which is online and part of every Thursday’s print edition, lists performances and activities in the Boston area for that week.
  • Ticketmaster lists musical, sporting, and theatre performances in the area. You can check dates and purchase tickets online.
  • Bostix, located at Faneuil Hall or Copley Square in Boston, offers half price tickets on day of performance for many performing arts events.
  • For additional information about the city of Boston, check out these websites: