Students are expected to arrive no later than one day before the Exchange Orientation. You may arrive no earlier than 30 days before the first day of classes; please see the Exchange Student Handbook for academic calendar dates. Additionally, you must stay in Madison until your last final exam. You can verify your exam schedule through the academics section of your Student Center.

Students generally choose one of two options for arriving in Madison:

  • You may fly directly to Madison, into the Dane County Regional Airport.
  • You may fly into Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and take the Van Galder bus to UW-Madison’s Memorial Union. Schedules and prices for the bus from Chicago to Madison are listed at the Van Galder Bus website.

To get from the airport or Memorial Union to your accommodation, either take a taxi or ask your buddy to meet you upon your arrival.

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.

Orientation dates for the 2016-2017 academic year are:

  • Fall 2016: September 1st 201
  • Spring 2018: January 19th 2018

The orientation sessions will start in the morning and last all day. More details and an agenda will be sent to incoming students.