FIUTS connects students with local and global communities through programs that build international awareness, cross-cultural communication and informed leadership.
Packing, Banking, and Cell Phones
Pre-Arrival Email #7 of 8
Hello Again!

At this point you probably still have many questions about life in Seattle like what to bring, where to open a bank account, and how to keep in touch with your friends. This e-mail will hopefully answer some of those questions.

Want to get ahead, and start networking with fellow international students new to the UW this year? You can visit our FIUTS UW International Student Facebook group and the FIUTS website. We also have a lot of information and advice for you compiled by past international students and staff in our International Student Handbook on topics like housing, banking, phones, and more.

Don't forget: All students on F-1 or J-1 visas must complete immigration check-in with International Student Services (ISS) by attending their FIUTS International Student Orientation Session. Please update your U.S. contact information and submit your immigration digital document files at least one week before your scheduled orientation session, so that ISS staff can review your information.
Quick Links
Packing for Seattle
laptop computer is an important tool. There is free wireless internet on campus and in various businesses around the city. U.S. outlets have two prongs and 110 voltage, which means that you may have to bring/buy a converter or leave your appliances at home. In addition to any personal things that make you feel at home, you may want to bring some interesting items from your home country such as photos, candy, books, etc., to show your friends and host family and to give as gifts. 

The rumors you've heard about Seattle rain are true: it rains frequently throughout the year, and we often have grey, overcast days. Don't worry, we get plenty of sun, too!
Every Seattleite should have an umbrella, sunglasses, a warm jacket, walking shoes for all of the hills, and clothing for temperatures ranging from slightly below freezing in winter up to around 85 degrees Fahrenheit/30 degrees Celsius in summer. Seattle is a very casual city, and most students wear jeans and casual clothing to class. You will also want to pack a rain-proof jacket, both for wearing on campus and for enjoying the many opportunities to explore nearby beaches and mountains, including participating in FIUTS events and activities!  
Banking in Seattle
If you are staying in the U.S. longer than six months, living off campus, or planning to work in Seattle, then you should open a bank account at a local bank. You will need your passport or other official photo ID. Research the types of services different banks provide, the accompanying fees, and how to transfer funds from your home institution. You can read more about money and banking in the International Student Handbook

Banks compete for your business, so don't be shy about asking questions or shopping around. You should be able to open a student account for free at most banks. Every bank will give you a credit or debit card and checks once you open an account. Most shops, restaurants, and other businesses in Seattle will accept major credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard, as well as traveler's checks.

An important note as you think about your finances in the U.S.: Be cautious and do not share your personal financial information with anyone. When paying tuition at the University of Washington, please ensure that you do not allow anyone other than your parents or your third-party government sponsor to pay your tuition and fees. You should not allow anyone else to have access to your student account. It is very important not to share your MyUW login information, student ID number, or checking account number with anyone. This is confidential information and should not be shared with any other individual as it can expose you to fraud.

Information sessions on "Banking in the U.S." and "Managing Your Finances" will be offered by UW Student Fiscal Services in English and a combined session in Mandarin. Check your FIUTS International Welcome Weeks program when you arrive for times and locations. 
University of Washington has partnered with Flywire to make tuition payments easier for its international students. You can use Flywire’s secure and trusted service to save money when paying tuition via international bank transfer or credit/debit card as well as track your payment. Make your payment at today or learn more at!

Wells Fargo:
We understand that your financial needs as an international student attending school at the University of Washington are unique. Wells Fargo can help you manage your money while you’re at school. We also offer international banking services to help you send and receive money to and from your home country.
SelfScore helps deserving but underserved international students gain access to proper credit to help establish their credit history while they study.  The key difference between SelfScore and other lenders is, as our CEO Kalpesh Kapadia explains: “We are measuring potential, not just risk.” As a former international student who was denied credit himself many years ago, he understands that the return on investment in a promising individual can be invaluable.
Cell Phones
Cell phone companies charge different rates and offer different types of contracts and services. Plans can range from $30 - $100 per month depending on how many minutes you use and the data packages. Most companies require a minimum contract duration of one year, but some have special deals for students, and many contracts include a free phone.

Pre-paid phones are an alternative to contracts, but they are much more expensive if used frequently. To set up a contract service plan you will need a Social Security number (except for prepaid or "to go" phones), a state-issued ID, and debit or credit card with a Visa or Mastercard symbol. If you do not have a social security number or debit card, you may need to pay a large deposit of a couple hundred dollars. 

You can find a list of popular cell phone companies listed in our International Student Handbook. Representatives from several orientation sponsors will be available at various International Welcome Weeks events to help answer your banking and cell phone questions.
Cricket Wireless is bringing consumers more value with a simple, friendly, and reliable nationwide wireless experience with no annual contract. The power of Cricket is our nationwide 4G LTE network with easy and affordable plans and a great selection of phones customers love. Cricket International lets you can keep in touch with friends and family around the world for one low rate. Plus you can bring your own phone. Come see us today for details at Cricket Wireless, 22511 Highway 99 in Edmonds, WA (inside 99 Ranch) or call us at 425-599-7787. Learn more at Cricket, Something to Smile About.
Check out the International Student Handbook for more detailed information about Seattle media resources, what our city is famous for, descriptions of different neighborhoods, shopping, and more! If you are looking for short-term or long-term housing, visit our housing resources page.

Next week's final orientation email will have more information to help you get to know the city of Seattle. As always, contact us if you have any questions!
Amy Bergstrom
Manager of Student Programs
Join the FIUTS UW International Students Group on Facebook
Have you missed any of the pre-arrival emails? Review the archive on our website.
Contact FIUTS