Getting Started Information

Arriving at the airport

Eugene Airport

The Eugene airport is located 20 minutes from campus. If you signed up for the homestay program, your host family will pick you up at the airport. Be sure to communicate with them so they know when you are coming.

If you are planning to stay in a hotel, you can:

  • Take a taxi. Oregon Taxi is a popular service because, if you reserve by calling in advance, you can get a 20% discount.
  • Use Omnishuttle, a van service that is not too expensive.
  • Use Tour Transporter, which costs $18 – please call in advance to reserve!
  • Some hotels also provide free shuttle service from the airport. Please ask the hotel before you arrive to arrange transportation.

Portland Airport

The Portland airport is not very large and is easy to navigate. However, once you have picked up your suitcase, you need to be ready for more traveling, as Eugene is about 200km from the Portland airport. One of the most common transportation services is the Hut Shuttle, which will leave you very close to campus at the Phoenix Inn hotel. There are several other options for ground transportation that you can explore.

Mobile phones/cell phones

Commonly used mobile phone/cell phone providers include Verizon, AT&T, Virgin Mobile, T-Mobile, Sprint PCS and SIM card companies.

  • Most cell phone companies charge for all calls, outgoing AND incoming, though many have free calling within their network.
  • Some plans give you a set number of minutes per month. Additional minutes are charged at a much higher rate. Check your plan to see if weekend and nighttime minutes are free.
  • You can either sign a 1-2 year contract or buy a pre-paid phone and add minutes when necessary. Pre-paid deals tend to be more expensive than year-long contracts.
  • Ask about any special international calling plans.
  • If you don't have a US Social Security Number, expect to pay a deposit (the deposit should be returned at the end of the contract)
  • If you have an unlocked phone from your home country, check with the cell phone provider to see if it is compatible with their service.
  • Text messaging and Internet typically carries an additional charge. Ask about adding texting or Internet to your plan.
  • Ask specifically if you want to use your own phone.
  • Once a contract is signed, you will be obligated to pay for the entire contract period. Expect to pay a high fee if you break a contract.

Paying your tuition bill

The University of Oregon accepts the following types of payment: 1) International payments online with Flywire (wire transfers/credit cards) 2) online with Echecks, 3) cash, check or money order, 4) US credit cards.

For detailed options on how to make a payment, visit the Business Affairs office website. To make a payment, you must first register for classes. You will receive an electronic bill on your Duckweb student account. Please check your email for this bill and important information about the deadlines for payment. In general, the deadline for paying tuition is usually during the first week of classes.  

Opening a bank account

To open a bank account (checking or savings), you will need your passport, your UO ID card and money to put into your account. You do not need a Social Security Number to open a bank account. Here is a list of local banks close to UO:

Oregon Community Credit Union
Selco Community Credit Union
Bank of America
U.S. Bank
Wells Fargo

Getting involved

There are many student groups on campus from all over the world and with different interest areas. You can also get involved in the UO's student government.

Check out the International Student programs designed just for you. 

International Coffee Hour is every Friday from 4-6 pm in the Mills International Center. Free coffee, tea and refreshments are served.
The Meet is a great please to meet new and old friends on Thursdays from 5-7 pm. Learn more at youtube.com/UOMILLS.

Leadership Opportunities – There are many leadership opportunities at the UO.  Some popular choices are volunteering at International Student Orientation or running for office or a leadership position with a student group. Check out the Holden Leadership Center for other leadership opportunities. 

Explore Eugene

Parking and transportation

Bicycling is a popular method of transportation around campus and around Eugene. Consult the UO's bicycle map for route information. There are many easy-to-find options for purchasing both used and new bikes, with multiple bicycle stores near and around campus.

Register Your Bicycle on Campus to ensure the safety and security of your property. Any bicycle that you intend to use or park on campus must be registered (no charge) with the UO Department of Parking and Transportation.

Bike Rentals are available through the Outdoor Program. The program provides information and assistance about purchasing and/or repairing a bike, and renting a bike for an entire term.

Public Bus

Lane Transit District (LTD) bus service, is available to all students for FREE, this also includes all EmX buses. You must show your UO ID student ID card to the driver when boarding.

Driving in Eugene 

Every state in the United States has its own rules and regulations regarding driving and car ownership. In Oregon, the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Driver and Motor Vehicle Services (DMV) division is responsible for issuing driver’s licenses and, non-driver State ID cards.

You can apply for an Oregon driver's license or Oregon ID Card through the Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division, or DMV for short. There are two DMV offices close to the University of Oregon. 

Springfield DMV -- 204 N. 30th St, Springfield, OR 97478 

Eugene DMV -- 2870 W. 10th Place, Eugene, OR 97402

Parking on the UO Campus

If you intend to park on the UO campus, you must get a student-parking permit. Go to the Department of Parking and Transportation website for information about parking permits.

Getting a pet

Many international students are interested in getting a pet when they arrive. Before you get a pet, please think carefully about if you are ready for this responsibility.  Animal welfare, both care and neglect are taken very seriously in the U.S. and can result in criminal citations and fines if you do not care for your pet properly. Please think carefully about the following:

  • Does your housing allow it? Many housing complexes do NOT allow pets or require additional fees per month.
  • Will your roommate want a pet? Many roommates may not want a pet.
  • What will you do when you leave? As a student, you are in the U.S. for a limited time. Will you take your pet home with you? If not you will need to find a new owner or leave it at a shelter with no owner and limited space and care. ABANDONING YOUR PET IS AGAINST THE LAW.
  • Can you afford it? Pets can be expensive. You may have added housing charges, you will need to buy food and supply, and pay for medical care by a veterinarian.
  • Do you have time? How will your pet be cared for when you are gone all day or on holiday? Animals need daily attention. If you have a pet and want to travel in the U.S., you will not be able to leave unless you find someone to take care of your pet. If you cannot provide daily care, do not get a pet.

Please think carefully before adding a pet to your life. Having a pet is a major financial and personal responsibility. We advise against getting a pet unless you are prepared to properly care for a pet.

Social Security Number

A Social Security Number (SSN) is not a national ID number. You are eligible for a Social Security Number (SSN) if you have a job on-campus or approved off-campus work. If you do not have a job you CAN NOT get a Social Security Number. You do not need a SSN to open a bank account, apply for a driver’s license or to purchase a cell phone.

Bringing dependents with you to the US

Find more information about bringing dependents to the US.