For more information about airports and when to arrive, please visit the International Academic Programs Exchange -Travel and Arrival website.

International Student Services has created an online Guide for International Students that will help you explore many of the basic things you will need to know as an international student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The Wisconsin School of Business Buddy Program provides you with a link to a UW-Madison business student. If you wish to participate in the Buddy Program, please indicate this on the Buddy Request Form.

Upon your arrival, it is important to receive your Wiscard and your bus pass.

  • Wiscard is the official UW-Madison identification card. It will give you access to libraries, recreation facilities, and other campus services. You must present some form of personal photo identification, such as a passport. Hours of operation can be found on the Wiscard website.
  • Bus passes are available for pick up at various locations across campus at the beginning of the semester. You must be registered for courses and present a valid Wiscard to receive a bus pass. If you have a new WisCard, you must wait overnight for your records to be updated before you can receive your bus pass.

Cell phones are an important way to stay connected. Although International Programs does not recommend any specific provider, past exchange students have recommended AT&TStraight Talk plans because they do not necessarily require a long-term contract.

Before you arrive, you might like to apply for the BRIDGE Program through the International Student Services (ISS) office. The BRIDGE Program is available for new international students who are interested in being paired up with a U.S. student during the first semester of your studies at UW-Madison. This would be in addition to the Business Buddy Program open to Wisconsin School of Business exchange students.


Because the Wisconsin School of Business firmly believes that orientation provides an essential foundation for your time at UW-Madison, we require that you arrive in time to attend the orientation session. If you cannot attend the orientation session, you should defer your participation to another semester. Social events are optional, but they are a good way to meet other students and see the campus.

More information about orientation can be found on the International Academic Programs Exchange - On-site Orientation website.