Frequently Asked Questions for International Students
Southeastern Louisiana University is located in the town of Hammond, LA, 55 miles (89km) NW of New Orleans, LA. The population of Hammond is about 17,000. The terrain is flat, and many areas around Hammond are below sea level. The temperatures range from average lows of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit to average highs of 90 degrees Fahrenheit or more (21-32+ degrees Celcius) during summer and from average lows of about 40 degrees Fahrenheit to average highs of about 60 degrees Fahrenheit(4-15 degrees Celcius) during winter. Summers in Louisiana are hot, humid, and long, and winters are mild and short. Hammond is a small community which after the American Civil War earned the title of the "Strawberry Capital of America". People are very friendly and hospitable. Southeastern is growing at a fast rate, and students enjoy coming to study at a place where they can not only find a large group of people, but they can find a family. If you would like to read more about the history of the university, you can visit the Southeastern Louisiana University website.
The Hammond Walking Tour is a nice way of learning about the history of the city of Hammond. Alligator and swamp tours are a great attraction for visitors in the Hammond area. The two big cities close to Hammond are New Orleans and Baton Rouge (which is also the capital of the state of Louisiana). Southeast Louisiana is unique in geography, food, and music.
The two main airports closest to Hammond offering International flights are Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and Baton Rouge Metropolitain Airport. Both airports are about 1 hour away from the university, coming from different directions. A link to transportation options can be found here.
The number of international students at Southeastern has steadily increased over the last couple of years. Every so often, the university posts a count of international students and countries of origin on the Southeastern website. To see the statistics from fall 2008, click here. In comparison, there were around 225 international students from about 50 counties enrolled in the fall of 2011.
Southeastern Louisiana University enrolls students from all around the world. In recent years there have been students from Belgium, Belize, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Bahamas, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Germany, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, France, Great Britain, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guadaloupe, Hong Kong, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Republic Moldova, Mongolia, Mexico, Macedonia, Myanmar, Mauritius, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Reunion, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Syria,Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Taiwan, Tanzania, Uganda, Ukraine, US Virgin Islands, Venezuela, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and South Africa.
Apart from the classroom experience, there are a lot of campus activities and organizations where international students can get involved and meet American students as well as other international students. Friends of Internationals is a student organization here at Southeastern that provides ways for international students and American students to get to know each other and learn about different cultures, languages, and foods. One of the programs of Friends of Internationals is the Cross-Cultural Friendship Program. This gives international students the opportunity to befriend an American student and get accustomed to American culture. Click here to contact Friends of Internationals.
Friends of Internationals has an International Friendship Family Program. Families in the Hammond area participate in this program, and they invite international students into their homes for family dinners, holiday meals, etc. This is an opportunity for international students to get accustomed to American lifestyle outside the university environment. However, the program does not include housing for the students or financial support. All international students are encouraged to be part of the program. Click here to contact Friends of Internationals.
Southeastern offers English as a Second Language programs for a certain fee. Also, as part of Friends of Internationals (click here to contact them), there is a program at no cost called English Conversation Classes. Volunteers from the community teach English on a weekly basis for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level. For more information about modifying your accent, contact Dr. Ramesh Bettagere.
Living on campus is a great idea! We recommend that all new international students live on campus during their first year of study. Around the university there are a few complexes of apartments that can be rented and shared by students. A link with contact information of apartments in the area close to the university can be found here.
The Vera W. Thomason Campus Health Center provides various healthcare services to you as a student, usually at no cost. They can help with minor illnesses and injuries as well as administer flu shots and provide physical examinations among other services. The Multipractice Clinic (985-878-0066) in nearby Independence provides a wider variety of healthcare services, such as dental and vision, and can address more serious issues than the campus Health Center. They accept many insurances and provide discounted rates for those who don't have insurance. For emergencies, surgeries or other major health issues, there are two hospitals nearby. North Oaks and Lallie Kemp. North Oaks is a traditional hospital and requires insurance or payment from the patient. Lallie Kemp is a charity hospital, and for those with no insurance it offers free or low-cost healthcare.
There are a few important items that you should carry with you when you first arrive in the the U.S. However, don't bring more than you can carry.
1. You will need linens, bedding, pillows, bedspreads, blankets, towels, as well as personal hygine products.
2. The temperatures range from average lows of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit to average highs of 90 degrees Fahrenheit or more (21-32+degrees Celcius) during summer and from average lows of about 40 degrees Fahrenheit to average highs of about 60 degrees Fahrenheit(4-15 degrees Celcius) during winter. Summers in Louisiana are hot, humid, and long, and winters are mild and short. For summer you should bring comfortable clothing (jeans, pants, shorts, etc.), and for winter you should be prepared with jackets and other warm clothes.
3. You should bring a photocopy of important documentation, such as passport, birth certificate, copies of all medicine prescriptions, glasses, contacts.
4. Make sure you have an emergency contact person (address and phone number), either from the U.S. or from your home country.
5. You should bring a traditional dress or outfit, as well as photos and music from your country.
6. Although the U.S. customs regulations are very strict about foreign food items, you can check on the U.S. customs website for rules and decide if you can bring food items from your country.
7. You should be prepared with U.S. cash or travelers checks for any immediate expenses that you will need after your arrival in the U.S.: tuition, room and board, books, and personal items/food.
The public transportation system is limited in South Louisiana because most of the people own cars. However, there is a public bus ($0.50 fare) which drives throughout the town of Hammond, and offers transportation to different places such as Wal-Mart, downtown Hammond, etc. Please see the travel information page for the Hammond City Bus schedule.
The university offers a variety of activities for students throughout the year. Things to do are always available. Some examples are Strawberry Jubilee, Gumbo Ya-Ya, other Campus Activities Board events, Southeastern Leadership Conference, etc. One of the first things to do is join a student organization, so that you can get the most out of your university experience and meet new people, learn new things, and enrich your cultural as well as academic perspective. You will find a list of student organizations here. Visit Hot Spots for more fun and exciting things to do while you're studying at Southeastern!
International students are encouraged to get involved in extra-curricular activities offered on campus. You will find a list of student organizations here. The Campus activities Board has information on all the events that occur throughout the year on campus. There are several organizations that are especially created for international students or American students that wish to learn more about people from other cultures. Some of those are: Friends of Internationals, Capoeria, Nepalese Student Association, Italian Club, Japanese Animation Society, French Club, German Club, and Spanish Club among others.
There are many benefits to getting involved on campus, but a very important one is that universities with competitive admission processes take into consideration extra-curricular involvement. Also, a resume with a little work experience but a lot of campus involvement is valuable after graduation.
Work-study is designed to give part-time employment to undergraduate and graduate students who need the income to help meet the costs of post-secondary education and other expenses. Southeastern is committed to offering students excellent training, including the opportunity to obtain hands-on experience through the work-study program.
International students can work up to 20 hours per week during school time. During holidays and summer, international students can work up to 40 hours per week. International student are considered state workers only, and they can find information on work-study here.
Southeastern provides a large number of Graduate Assistantships for students enrolled in Southeastern's graduate studies. Graduate Assistantships pay students a stipend plus a full tuition waiver. Southeastern offers four types of Graduate Assistantships: Administrative Assistants, Research Assistants, Teaching Assistants, and Graduate Teaching Fellows. Graduate assistantship openings can be found here.
Yes, the university has a large number of computer labs open to all students, fully equipped with internet access, as well as other software programs and hardware devices, such as printers and scanners. Also, the university has a free rental program through the Office of Student Productivity Services. Students can check out equipment for a certain period of time, such as computers, video cameras, projectors, etc. at no cost. For more information on checking out equipment, click here. The Library also has a laptop loan program.
The United States uses 110-112 volt electricity. The electrical outlets require two flat-pronged plugs, which are different from the outlets most used in other countries. Unless your appliance is dual voltage, you need to use a "converter" or a "transformer" to change the 110-volt electricity into 220-volt electricity in order to use a 220-volt appliance. If your appliance is dual voltage, you can use it in the U.S.without a "converter", but you will need a plug adapter. The plug on the appliance used in most countries won't fit into the U.S. outlets. Therefore, you will need a plug adapter in order to plug your appliance into the U.S. outlets. Most laptop battery chargers and AC adapters are dual voltage. Because they are dual voltage, they can be used with only a plug adapter for the U.S. The plug adapters and/or converters can be purchased in the U.S. if you don't have one already.
Hammond has many grocery stores, a few large supermarkets, as well as a Mall. Some of the stores are Guy's, Dollar General (both within walking distance from the university), Wal-Mart, LeBlanc's, Winn-Dixie, Albertsons, and Save-A-Lot. Hammond Square Mall has large department stores such as JCPenney, Dillard's, Sears, and Target. Target also carries a large assortment of groceries.
On campus residences offer laundry services at different locations. International students who live off campus can take advantage of Free Laundry Program coordinated by Friends of Internationals (click here to contact them). People from the community have kindly donated a washer and dryer for international students to use.
A hurricane is a very strong storm with heavy rain and winds. Louisiana is an area that is always on alert during hurricane season (June1 - November 30). In case of a hurricane threat, Southeastern Louisiana University has procedures already in place to ensure the safety of students and employees. For more information on Southeastern campus safety in the event of a a hurricane, click here. To visit the National Hurricane Center page, click here.
Southeastern has a program called Emergency Notification System. In case of any type of emergency students and employees of the university can sign up to receive emergency alerts through email and/or cell phone. To sign up for emergency alerts visit Emergency Notification System page.
We recommend the purchase of a temporary pre-paid mobile plan until you can become familiar with long-term plans. There are several companies that offer pre-paid plans, including AT&T, Verizon, Boost Mobile, T Mobile, and more. Walmart along with Best Buy, located in the Hammond Square Mall, sells pre-paid phones from all of these providers.
The university's academic calendar provides a detailed list of important dates that you should be aware of. The calendar can be accessed by clicking here.
How can I get my drivers license?
Please see the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles website for information on obtaining a Louisiana drivers license.