A-Z International Students

Academic Resource Center

  • The academic resource center has a variety of academic support services available to help students reach their potential including tutoring services. Follow the link below to learn more about the services available to help you succeed: stfrancis.edu/student-services/academic-resource-center


Clubs on Campus

  • There are numerous clubs on campus that anyone can join! The more involved you become on campus, the more friends you will make and the more you will learn about life in the US. There are clubs dedicated to everything from math to dance, you will have no trouble finding one that interests you. stfrancis.edu/student-services/clubs-organizations-honor-societies



  • The university provides computer labs throughout campus. Labs are located in all residence halls, Tower Hall 2nd floor, St. Albert’s, and the library. Computers are available for student’s to use for free. There is a cost for printing and it is automatically deducted from your student account.
  • Each student will be assigned a University of St. Francis email address. It is important that you check this email address frequently because this is the email address your teachers and other staff members will use for communication.


Cultural Activities on Campus

  • There are a variety of cultural activities that you can get involved in during your time at University of St. Francis. Some groups and activities include the International Club, The Black Student Association and Unidos Vamos Alcanzar (United We Will Achieve.) Throughout the year the International Club plans trips to cultural events in the Joliet and Chicago areas. Make sure to check the University of St. Francis International Programs Office Facebook page (facebook.com/USFIPO) to stay up to date on all of the cultural events going on!


Culture Shock

  • It is very normal to experience cultural shock during your first weeks and months in Joliet. Symptoms of cultural shock can include homesickness, sadness, loneliness, aches and pains, insomnia or excessive tiredness, anger and resentment to your host country and lack of confidence.
  • If you find that you are experiencing serious culture shock, please inform the International Programs Office as soon as possible so they can direct you to the proper assistance.


Grocery Shopping

  • There are a number of grocery stores throughout Joliet, but we recommend that international students who are living in the residence halls shop at the CVS located on Plainfield Rd. CVS has everything that you might need including health and beauty supplies, snacks, soft drinks and bottled water. Since you will be eating a majority of your meals in the cafeteria it isn’t necessary to shop at the larger supermarkets. But if you decide that there is something you need that you cannot buy at the CVS there is a Jewel-Osco and Walmart not too far from campus.



  • University of St. Francis has a Health and Wellness Center that is available for students, located in Tower Hall S213.
  • If you feel like you need to speak with someone about personal issues, you can contact the Counseling Center at 815-740-3598 or visit the center in the Motherhouse, C310.
  • Any questions you have about health insurance are answered at the following link: stfrancis.edu/admissions/intl-students/health-insurance-immunization-2



  • Residence On Campus: The IPO staff recommends that international students, at least for their first year, live on campus. There are three residence halls to choose from, Marian or Tower Hall or the historic Motherhouse. Find out more information here: stfrancis.edu/admissions/freshman/residence-halls
  • Residence Off- Campus: After your first year, if you decide to live off-campus, the IPO can help you secure a residence. If you are interested in this option, please contact the International Programs Coordinator.



  • The library, the Laverne and Dorothy Brown Library, is a great resource for all students. Follow this link: library.stfrancis.edu to learn more about the hours it is open and what services are available.


Life in Residence Halls

  • Living in a residence hall is different than living on your own or with your family because you will most likely have a roommate. Living with a roommate requires that you not only take into account how you feel about your living space, but also how your roommate feels. It is important to communicate with your roommate about anything that might be bothering or upsetting you. If you are having difficulties with your roommate be sure to seek out your resident advisor for help.


Ministry on Campus

  • Both daily and Sunday Liturgies are held in the St. Joseph Chapel, which is located on the 3rd floor of Motherhouse. To find out more about Mass times, click the following link: stfrancis.edu/about/ministry



  • Your USF ID gets you a free membership at Inwood Athletic Club, located on Jefferson St. There are a number of classes available that are free of charge at Inwood, including yoga, pilates, kickboxing, Zumba and more.



  • Anytime you go shopping (except for grocery shopping) or eat at a restaurant, the price you see on the menu or the price tag does not include the tax. Tax is about 10% and should be considered before purchasing anything.



  • The cheapest way to make international phone calls by telephone is by buying a prepaid cell phone.
  • Another option for making international calls is Skype, all you need is a computer, an internet connection and a credit card to load money onto your account. Go to skype.com/intl/en-us to download it to your computer.



  • Most professors require that you purchase a textbook at the beginning of the semester. These textbooks can be found in the student bookstore in Tower Hall. The bookstore staff will be able to help you find all of the books you need. Just be sure to bring your class schedule with you.
  • All international students (even if they were not employed) are required to file Federal and Illinois state income taxes by April 15 each year for the previous year (January-December). The only exceptions are students involved in short-term programs or brand new students. Most students end up receiving a tax refund. USF partners with Sprintax which is an affordable service that helps international students through the entire tax filing process. Please visit sprintax.com/stfrancis for more information or contact the International Programs Office at internationalprograms@stfrancis.edu.


Tipping Etiquette

  • In the United States it is common to tip your servers at restaurants and bars, even the bartenders. It is customary to leave between 15% and 20% of your total bill as a tip. If the total of your bill was $40 you should leave a tip between $6 and $8 if the service was good.



  • There are a number of options available when it comes to getting yourself around campus and to Chicago. Below is a list of the different options available. To learn more, visit their websites for fares and schedules: Pace Bus System | Taxicabs | Metra Train | Chicago Airports – Midway and O’Hare | USF Shuttle | Peoria Charter


Work on Campus

  • Every international student is eligible to work on campus up to 20 hours a week. When school is not in session; for example summer break, thanksgiving break, etc students are eligible to work up to 40 hours on campus. International students are not eligible for Work and Study Program. Therefore, finding a job on campus is very challenging. Students can start working on campus 30 days before their first day of classes (their first year of school). Click here for more information.


Weather/Winter Clothing

  • Illinois has four different seasons; winter, spring, summer and fall.
Month Average High Average Low Mean Average Precip.
Jan 31°F/-1°C 24°F/-8°C 24°F/-4°C 1.80in./45.7mm
Feb 36°F/2°C 29°F/-6°C 29°F/-2°C 1.79in./45.5mm
Mar 47°F/8°C 38°F/-2°C 38°F/3°C 2.25in./57.2mm
Apr 61°F/16°C 50°F/4°C 50°F/10°C 3.49in./88.6mm
May 71°F/22°C 60°F/9°C 60°F/16°C 4.08in./103.6mm
Jun 81°F/27°C 71°F/16°C 71°F/22°C 3.88in./98.6mm
Jul 84°F/29°C 74°F/18°C 74°F/23°C 4.33in./110.0mm
Aug 82°F/28°C 73°F/17°C 73°F/23°C 4.16in./105.7mm
Sep 76°F/24°C 66°F/13°C 66°F/19°C 3.01in./76.5mm
Oct 64°F/18°C 54°F/6°C 54°F/12°C 2.84in./72.1mm
Nov 49°F/9°C 41°F/1°C 41°F/5°C 3.06in./77.7mm
Dec 35°F/2°C 28°F/-6°C 28°F/-2°C 2.20in./55.9mm