Search Search

International Student Orientation

Wednesday, September 19 - Friday, September 21, 2018

International Student Orientation is designed to help you feel comfortable in your new surroundings and to adjust to life in the United States and at Caltech.  Orientation is for degree-seeking students only.  Students' family members are welcome to join us for meals.

All programs will take place in Avery (building 99 on the campus map), unless otherwise indicated on the schedule.  Some programs are marked as optional, but all programs are oh so fun!

Wednesday, September 19
4:00 - 5:30 PM iBegin@Caltech - a resource fair for new international students
4:00 - 5:30 PM Dinner served concurrently

Thursday, September 20
9:15 AM Breakfast
10:00 AM Welcome by Ilana Smith, Director of International Offices at Caltech + JPL
10:05 AM Introduction to ISP
10:20 AM Cultural Adjustment by Dr. Charisma Agonoy Bartlett
10:40 AM Student Skit
11:00 AM Faculty Keynote, Dr. Domniki Asimaki
11:20 AM Coffee Break
11:30 AM Peer Panels
12:15 PM Lunch
1:30 PM Mission Impossible* (a game of chase on the L.A. Metro, optional)
7:30 PM International Dessert Night (required for Mission Impossible participants, but open to all new students)

Friday, September 21
9:00 AM Breakfast
10:00 AM Immigration Basics
10:50 AM Navigating the American Classroom by Voon Hui Lai, PhD Student
11:05 AM Faculty Keynote by Dr. Ali Hajimiri
11:25 AM Coffee Break
11:30 AM Peer Panels
12:15 PM Lunch
3:30 PM Caltech Scavenger Hunt, starts in the Center for Student Services Lobby (optional)
5:30 PM Dinner and Games Night at Tournament Park, located behind the Caltech Athletic Center (optional)

Saturday, September 22 | Meet Ups
(Bonus day of  optional, student-led activities!)

Orientation Leaders will take you to some of their favorite locations within walking distance from campus.  Sign-up sheets available throughout International Student Orientation.  These events are optional.  Bring your own money for Meet Ups, as needed.

  • Science Walk Caltech 9:15 AM - 10:30 AM
    Take a walking tour of some of Caltech's most remarkable spots, including the Nobel Laureate Honor Room, LIGO Lab, and Cahill's Cosmology & Space Science Center.
  • Huntington Gardens 10:00 AM | $29 admission price
    Enjoy a 20 minute walk from campus to the botanical gardens, featuring desert, Japanese, rose, and Chinese gardens.  Art collections, library, and museums complete your tour.  See link for ticket price and hours. Lunch is not included.
  • Tpump 1:30 PM
    Walk together to Lake Avenue's popular spot for fresh-brewed tea with your own special flavor combinations. 
  • Old Town Pasadena 3:15 PM
    Join us for a walk to historic "Old Town Pasadena." Over 200 specialty shops, over 100 restaurants, sidewalk cafes, coffee and ice cream shops. Along the way, we will visit the famous City Hall dome and other Pasadena landmarks.
  • Music Jam on the Caltech Campus 1:30 PM
    We'll walk to the on-campus Jam Room together. The room has equipment ready. Just bring your instrument, if any.
  • Intelligentsia Coffee House and Copa Vida Coffee House 5:00 PM
    Walk together to a local coffee house and just relax over a "cup of joe" and good conversation.
  • CISC: Caltech International Spouses Club Summer Party 4:00 PM
    Families of Caltech and JPL students and scholars (faculty, postdocs, staff) are welcome to join CISC's Annual Summer Party. CISC will provide main dishes and snacks. Participants are welcome to bring a small side dish (appetizer), dessert, or beverages. The party will be in Courtyard between The Beckman Institute buildings. To inquire or RSVP, please email or go to the gollowing link:

All Saturday Meet Ups begin from Avery Courtyard at the time indicated above. Paper Sign Up Sheets will be posted during International Orientation.

Monday, Sept 24 | 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM | ISP

  • Grad Student Check-In
    • Throughout the day, ISP and the Office of Graduate Studies will greet new graduate students.  If you have not yet provided your immigration documents to ISP, you must bring your passport and I-20 or DS-2019 on this day.
      ISP, Center for Student Services (building 86)
  • Undergrad Student Check-In
    • Visit ISP to complete your Immigration Check-In during the first week of classes (Don't worry about it until after Orientation ends).  Bring your passport and I-20 or DS-2019 with you.
      ISP, Center for Student Services (building 86)