Whether you are coming from Cambodia or Canada, Africa, Asia or Australia, the EU or South America or Scandinavia, we welcome you to the MSU community, and the WorkLife Office can help you land in East Lansing. The WorkLife Office can connect you with offices at the university, like International Studies and Programs, who provide visa support, volunteers to help you become oriented, and social events where you can meet other newcomers or experienced international faculty and staff.
We understand how different the details of a new community can be. We can help you find banking, real estate, utility companies and commercial resources like local markets and restaurants that offer international foods. We can help you find faith communities and information on schools and sports to help you get settled smoothly. We connect you with information on childcare, eldercare, health and well-being resources. Click on our Community Connections link to find more, or come in and meet us. We’d love to meet you!
Here are a few things you may want to know before you come:
Credit: You may not have a credit rating when you arrive in the United States, so check with your bank at home before you leave to find out what you might need to establish a credit card, loan or mortgage in the US.
Driver’s License – A Michigan driver’s license is very helpful because it serves as convenient photo identification for accessing the health care system, setting up utility accounts, renting cell phones or contracting cell service. A driver’s license can be easily swiped to confirm your identity in these systems, whereas a passport cannot be electronically swiped in the same way. You must also have a domestic driver’s license to drive a vehicle from the Michigan State University vehicle pool, which is much easier and more convenient than renting a car from a commercial rental agency. Note that you must have a Social Security Number and evidence of legal presence in the United States to obtain a driver’s license.
Social Security Number: You will need a Social Security number (SSN) to work at MSU, to obtain many services, and to provide a back-up check of your credit rating, when you get one. Social Security numbers serve as a general identifier in many situations, and you will often be asked for “your last four” – the last four numbers of your 9-digit Social Security number – to confirm your identity over the phone with banks, insurance companies, etc. You will be eligible for a Social Security number when you obtain your legal status; check with the Office of International Students and Scholars for details.
International Newcomer Mentoring Program: New international faculty or academic specialist are invited to participate in the MSU WorkLife Office International Newcomer Matching Program. Participants may be single, married, or have children. The goal is for the local volunteer family to assist the international newcomer and/or family settle into our community. The expectation is that the local family will meet the newcomer and/or family at least once for dinner out or host them and have contact at least once a month or as needed to provide information on MSU, the local community, things to do, etc. There will also be an orientation for the newcomers and the volunteer families. Learn more about this opportunity from the WorkLife Office.
Come and see us to soften your landing – have a chat and get answers to your relocation and community connection questions!