Preparing for life in Minnesota

Campus overview

The University of Minnesota, established in 1851, is one of the top public research universities in the United States. Our campus is located in the beautiful and exciting cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul (the "Twin Cities") in Minnesota.

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities stretches over 1,150 acres in Minneapolis and St. Paul, right on the banks of the Mississippi River. Students enjoy views of the sparkling Minneapolis skyline and of St. Paul's rolling lawns and historic architecture. Our campus is also close to several neighborhoods full of restaurants, coffee shops, and convenience stores.


Many people are attracted to Minnesota because of our diverse seasons. Summer, winter, fall, or spring, the Twin Cities area is the perfect place to savor the seasons. When it's cold, students enjoy winter activities like skiing or hiking, or stay cozy in our skyways and tunnels. When it's warm, students visit our sparkling lakes, miles of bike trails, and dozens of outdoor festivals.

Winters can be chilly, and international students should come prepared. Winter weather can be quite exciting if you are ready to embrace it and find new activities. However, it is important to have proper clothing and to know your own limits. (Staying outside too long in very cold weather can be dangerous.) Anything you need to prepare for winter weather is available in the Twin Cities area, and fellow students and staff will help you with this preparation.

Average monthly temperature:

Month Degrees Fahrenheit Degrees Celsius
January 11.8 -11.2
February 17.9 -7.8
March 31.0 0
April 46.4 8.0
May 58.5 14.7
June 68.2 20.1
July 73.6 23.1
August 70.5 21.3
September 60.5 15.8
October 48.8 9.3
November 33.2 0.6
December 17.9 -7.8


As a University of Minnesota student, you can choose to live in a campus residence hall or apartment. By living on campus, you will find academic and social support to help you be successful. Currently, about 80 percent of freshmen live in University housing. The community-centered environment of University housing provides you with opportunities to meet other students and participate in college life. Many students make lifelong friendships in our residence halls.

To learn more about on-campus or off-campus housing, visit Housing & Residential Life. Also, International Student and Scholar Services can help you with your housing needs both short-term and long-term.

Travel preparation

International Student and Scholar Services has detailed information about obtaining a visa for study in the United States. It is very important to enter the United States with the proper visa. It may take one month or more for you to obtain your student visa, so apply early.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) International Airport is located about 20 minutes south of campus. This major airport hub serves many airport lines and has easy access via taxi, bus, and light rail to the campus area. Cab rides to campus should cost approximately $25.

Safety on campus

University of Minnesota students enjoy a friendly campus community. The University of Minnesota has an independent police department. This department is dedicated to providing a safe and secure environment. Also, through the University's campus escort and security monitor program, any student can request a security escort to and from campus buildings. Visit for more information about safety and security in our community.

Health care

The cost of health care in the United States is very high. A short stay in the hospital can cost thousands of dollars. International students or dependents who are in the U.S. on temporary, nonimmigrant visas are not eligible for U.S. government assistance programs. You can protect yourself from the high cost of health care by obtaining health insurance coverage.

All international students at the University of Minnesota are required to purchase the student insurance plan offered through Boynton Health Service on campus. Exceptions may be granted for those who have comparable insurance (such as the University of Minnesota employee benefits program plan, Graduate Assistance insurance plan, or another employer-provided insurance plan). Hospitalization insurance costs are automatically added to your fees when your register as a full-time student.

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is the office dedicated to serving the University of Minnesota's international community. Its primary mission is to help you accomplish your goals. We strongly encourage you to visit their Web site for comprehensive information about life as an international student.

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