Pre-Arrival Information


Seattle temperatures are moderate, rarely above 30°C (86°F) or below 0°C (32°F). During January and February, you will want to be prepared for cold weather and rain. It may snow once or twice during the winter. Temperatures average around 8° to 10°C (46° to 50°F) but can dip to 0°C at times. Summers are usually mild with the occasional heatwave.

Currency Exchange and Financial Arrangements

If you received an I-20 form then you have already provided us with documentation of sufficient financial resources for your first year of study. All students are expected to make full payment for the quarter by the tenth day of each quarter. The Student Financial Services office will meet with us during International Student Orientation to help you know how to work with them.

Currency exchange is available at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and at most banks. Traveler’s checks are commonly accepted in the U.S. and would be better than carrying large amounts of cash. You may wish to have enough in traveler’s checks to pay for at least your first week in the USA. There is a convenient bank on campus, and we will offer guidance in setting up an account as part of International Student Orientation.

Medical Insurance and Screening

All international students are required to enroll in the University student medical insurance plan each quarter. You can find more information about SPU's health insurance requirement here. Every international student must also complete a self-reported health record and provide an immunization record including a test for tuberculosis, or else receive the immunizations at the SPU Health Center. More information about insurance will be provided at the International Student Orientation.


Unfortunately, we cannot ensure airport pickup to all students arriving every day at any time of day, but if you let us know your plans we will be happy to help make your arrival smooth. Several transportation options from the airport will help you get to your destination.

  • Shuttle Express is an efficient way to reach your Seattle destination from the airport at any time of day.
    • You may make advance reservations at or call them at 425-981-7000 or email
    • You can find their attendant at the airport — cross the Skybridge to the third floor parking and follow the signs to “ground transportation.”
  • Yellow Cab Services
    • After you claim your baggage, you can go outside the doors on the same floor and there should be yellow taxis available to take you to your destination.
    • If there is no taxi available, you can also call and ask to be picked up at baggage claim. The telephone number is 206-622-6500.
    • Please note that gratuity/tip is not included in the fare for cab drivers.
  • Public Transportation
    • Seattle has good public transportation. However, you should note that it might take you a little longer to reach your destination.
    • You can plan your trip in advance according to your arrival time while you keep the transit schedule in mind.
    • You can either travel by bus, train, or the light rail from the airport. Details are available online here.
  • Uber car service
      • When requesting uberPOOL or uberX at the airport, follow the directions to ground transportation and the parking garage. Head to the third floor of the parking garage and look for the pickup zone, marked with a Rideshare/TNC sign.

      • Head to Terminal 1 Arrivals when requesting UberSELECT, UberBLACK, UberXL, and UberSUV


SPU housing fills up quickly, so if you intend to live on campus and have not submitted your housing forms and deposit, you should contact Housing and Meal Services immediately.

Housing and Meal Plan Services

Phone: 206-281-2188


There is limited on-campus housing for graduate students, but plenty of opportunities for housing exist near campus. You can find out more about on-campus housing opportunities at If you are interested in living off campus, you may check out the following options:

  • Craigslist
    • You can either choose the “rooms/shared” or “apt/housing” tab.
    • Please read the attachment about renting an apartment.

Living with an American family can be a good idea if you are single and new to life in the USA. A few local organizations coordinate international homestays. You may contact them directly for more information about their programs and availability.

Please note that this information referral is not a recommendation or an endorsement of the services they offer. This could also be a good option for school breaks during the year, while you have to move out of the dorms.

Pre-Arrival Checklist

  • I-20 Form.
  • Passport.
  • Documents from your sponsor if you are a government/corporate sponsored student.
  • Make financial arrangements – traveler’s checks, exchange currency to USD, etc.
  • Plan for arrival transportation from the airport.
  • Plan temporary accommodation at a hotel/homestay, if needed.
  • Plan for housing (on campus or off campus).
  • Register for the International Student Orientation.
  • Pre-register for classes.
  • Immunizations and insurance.
  • Computer/laptop.
  • Cellphone.
  • Reserved shuttle/taxi/Uber service from SeaTac Airport.