International Student Services

Frequently asked questions(FAQ)

Campus Life

  • How do I “Check-In” when I arrive to Missouri Western State University?
    • You will receive a check-in form via email when you arrive at Missouri Western. All students are required to fill out this form online to let ISS and the university know that you have officially arrived.
  • Where can I buy my textbooks?
    • Textbooks can be purchased either through the campus Barnes & Nobles bookstore (on campus or online) or through another online bookstore. The campus bookstore offers price match for books sold by Amazon.
  • How do I register for classes?
    • You will register for classes online with the help of your academic advisor. ISS will help you to coordinate a meeting with your advisor during International Student Orientation.
  • What is International Student Orientation?
    • International Student Orientation is a week-long event that helps incoming international students adjust to life in the United States and at Missouri Western. It is required for all first time students. ISO will include seminars on insurance, banking, American culture, academic honesty, public transportation, and more.
  • How will I receive important information from the university?
    • As a student of Missouri Western, you will be given a Missouri Western email address. You will receive much of your important information from the university and from ISS on that account. It is recommended that you check your Missouri Western email at least once every day.
  • How should you address your professors?
    • Professors in the United States are both friendly and professional. The professors at Missouri Western often invite students to come visit in their office hours when they need help. It is most appropriate to address your professors as Doctor, followed by their last name (Dr. Smith, for example).
  • Your class starts 9:30am. What time should you be there?
    • Classes at Missouri Western are designed to leave a ten minute break between classes. For example, a class will end at 10:50 so that you have time to walk to your next class at 11:00. It is recommended that you are in the classroom between five and ten minutes before the class begins.
  • I am interested in campus clubs and societies. How can I join them?
    • There are many clubs to be involved in on campus! Missouri Western has nearly one hundred clubs and organizations. The clubs include academic societies, sports groups, social interest clubs, and faith-based communities along with many others. Many international students choose to join the International Student Council.
  • How will I make American friends or International friends?
    • Each International student at Missouri Western is warmly welcomed by our “International Family”. The ISS office and International Student Council work together to host events for all students. These events are a great way to meet new people and make new friends!
  • What happens to the credits I have earned in my home country or in other U.S. colleges/universities?
    • It is possible to apply credits obtained from other institutions to your study here at Missouri Western if applicable. You must send the university a copy of your transcript from all previous institutions, and they will apply the credits possible.

American Culture and Lifestyle

  • What is the best/smartest way to have a functioning phone in the US?
    • Because you are international, a phone on contract would probably not be the option for you due to high rates from not having  
    • If you own a phone that is already unlocked, you could purchase a sim card from a phone company of your choice and go on with a prepaid phone plan with them
    • You could also purchase a cheap phone for the purpose of only making calls, texting and contacting your family overseas, and solely rely on wifi for your smart phone.
  • Are you allowed to attend off-campus parties/gatherings?
    • Yes! You are allowed to attend any events off of campus in and around the St. Joseph community, but remember to be safe and be smart!
  • I don’t have a car/ I do not drive. How can I commute around town?
    • St. Joseph has a city public transportation system that is free for all Missouri Western Students. The city bus comes to campus once every hour. There are also taxi services available in St. Joseph.
  • What are the norms for tipping in the U.S.?
    • If you eat at an off-campus restaurant in the United States, it is typical to leave a tip for the servers. It is customary to leave a tip of 15-20% of your total bill.
  • What is your favorite American Holiday? And How do you spend that Holiday?
    • Major American holidays include Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter. There are also many other holidays including Halloween, New Years, the 4th of July, and Valentine’s. Each holiday has unique traditions and celebrations. Most American holidays include spending time with the important people in your life and eating great meals together!
  • When may I take a vacation or holiday from my academic study?
    • Missouri Western has a week-long break each semester, which makes a great chance to travel. There is also a month of holidays over Christmas break between the Fall and Spring semesters.

Health & Safety

  • What should I do if I ever feel in danger?
    • If you feel in danger at any point, you should contact local authorities. Missouri Western has campus security that can be reached by calling (816) 271-4438 or you can contact St. Joseph police by calling 911 in case of emergency.
  • What kind of illnesses are common in Missouri?
    • Allergies
    • Respiratory Irritation
    • Cold and Flu
  • What should you do when you feel sick? Where and how do I receive medicine?

Work, Money & Banking

  • When do you need cash and change?
    • Most businesses and restaurants will accept credit or debit cards, but cash is sometimes necessary as well. It is recommended to only carry small amounts of cash at one time. You will also need quarters in order to do laundry in the dorms on campus. 
  • Am I allowed to work off-campus?
    • International students are not allowed to work off-campus under a J or F class visa. The university does offer opportunities for training and internships at off-campus organizations, but must first be approved by your academic advisor and the International Student Services office.
  • What types of jobs are available on-campus?
    • There are a variety of on-campus jobs. You can work in the library, fitness center, dining hall, food court, recreation services or one of the computer labs (just to name a few). If office work is more your style, most every office on campus hires student workers, including some professors and even the President.
  • How do I apply for jobs on campus?
    • All on-campus and off-campus student employment positions are managed by the Griffons4Hire system. Both on-campus and off-campus employment opportunities are posted to the site. Many of the on-campus positions require that students have Federal Work Study as part of their financial aid package. You can access the Griffons4Hire system through your Goldlink student portal.
  • Can I get a Social Security Number?
    • International students will be assigned a Social Security Number if they are approved for a job on campus.

Legal Requirements

  • What is the legal age to smoke? Where can you smoke on campus?
    • The legal age to purchase and use tobacco products in the United States is 18. However, possession or use of tobacco is prohibited at Missouri Western and will not be allowed on campus.
  • What is the legal age to drink alcohol? What do you need to enter the bar or buy a beer?
    • The legal age to purchase and consume alcohol in the United States is 21. Possession or use of alcohol is prohibited at Missouri Western and will not be allowed on campus. To purchase alcohol at a store or bar off-campus, you will need proper identification.
  • What are the legal requirements to drive?
    • To legally drive in the state of Missouri, you need to have passed a written and practical drivers test. These can both be done at the Driver’s Examination Department right here in Saint Joseph.