Center for International Programs


Pre-arrival Information

Before coming to Arcata it is important that you are prepared and have all of the necessary materials to be successful at Humboldt State University. Please read the provided information carefully and contact the Center for International Programs (CIP) if you have any questions or concerns.

Prearrival Checklist
  • Tell the Center for International Programs Office you are coming (email international [at] humboldt [dot] edu)
  • Complete the Airport Pickup for Orientation Form if you are flying into the Arcata Airport

If you are sponsored
If you are sponsored by an organization, notify them of your plans. Your sponsor can assist you with many predeparture arrangements and provide valuable information.

  • What to bring - Avoid bringing excess items that can be purchased here and appliances that cannot be used in the U.S.
  • Make travel arrangements - Arrive on campus at least two days before International Student Orientation begins in case of travel delays or jet lag.
  • Make Financial Arrangements
  • Make copies - Copy medical records, x-rays, and prescriptions. Also, have prescriptions written in generic terms rather than brand names. A certified birth certificate translated into English may be required to obtain an California driver’s license.
  • Label your luggage - Label all luggage, inside and outside, with your name and address in Arcata.
  • Carry all legal documentation - Carry your passport, I-20, financial documentation and any other legal documents, on your person, not in your luggage! You will need these to clear Customs.
  • Check with the airlines - Ask about their luggage policy and reconfirm your flight reservations 72 hours before departure.
  • Leave a phone number with someone in your home country - Use someone you know in Arcata or your department. If you do not know anyone in the U.S. to use as a contact, please use the Center for International Programs Office phone number: 1-707-826-4142. Leave a message if calling after normal business hours (Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time) and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. If it is an emergency call after business hours or during a holiday, and there is no emergency contact information on the voice mail, please call 1-707-826-5555 so a staff member can be notified to assist you.

Class Fees
There are some student fees not included in the estimated cost of attendance and they can sometimes surprise students. You can check to see if there are additional fees attached to a class by looking up the class at the Humboldt State University class schedule Web site:

Make Financial Arrangements
Bring enough money to cover the cost of tuition and fees, health insurance, housing expenses, books and personal expenses. If you plan to live on campus, you will pay a deposit before arriving and will need to pay for the entire semester for housing and dining costs after your arrival. If you live off-campus, we recommend that you bring first and last month’s rent, plus damage deposit (approximately $1,500).

We also recommend that you bring money in traveler’s checks or credit card rather than cash. Foreign bank drafts can be used to open a bank account; however, you cannot withdraw money from this account for 30 days.

Sponsored Students/Scholarships: If you have a scholarship or are sponsored by a third party, you must bring a letter from your funding source addressed to Humboldt State University, which authorizes billing for tuition, fees, housing and insurance, if applicable.

Make Travel Arrangements
The Arcata Airport is a small airport located close to Arcata. There are no direct international flights to Arcata. Most students arrange a connecting flight to the Arcata airport from a major airport such as San Francisco.

What to Bring

  • Extra eye glasses or contact lenses and fluid
  • Frequently used or favorite books
  • Educational supplies (calculators, paint brushes)
  • Traditional or special medicines (packaged and wrapped)
  • Photos, slides, maps, flags, artifacts, clothing, and cultural items typical of your country or region which can be used to share your culture with other students and to display at the Intercultural Festival and International Education Week
  • Medical history from your home country physician (translated into English) for physicians at HSU and in the Arcata Area
  • You will need bedding and personal items, but it is best to purchase them after you arrive, as bed and pillow sizes vary by country.

What to Expect in Arcata

The City of Arcata

Arcata is a friendly community of about 17,000 residents. The Arcata population enjoys many of the same conveniences (coffee shops, art galleries, theaters, clubs, bookstores and bike paths) of a much larger community. Nearby, you will also find some of the best (and least crowded) sites for hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, surfing, and exploring on the north coast.

Visitors from around the world come to this beautiful part of California to see the pristine beaches, clear blue rivers and world-famous Redwood trees. Redwood National Park, located 60 km north of Arcata, is home to some of the oldest Redwood trees in the world. For city-lovers, San Francisco is just a 5-hour car ride away, or a one-hour flight from Arcata/Eureka Airport. Direct flights to San Francisco leave several times a day.

Transportation in Arcata

Whether you are travelling to class or just running errands, Arcata is safe and easy to get around. From the Humboldt County bus system to car rentals, there are plenty of transportation options to help you reach your destination. Arcata is a very bike friendly town, and students can walk everywhere.  Students can also use the Bicycle Learning Center on campus—it’s a student volunteer run program that provides tools and knowledge for learning to repair and maintain your bike.

Jack Pass

Humboldt State’s Jack Pass provides unlimited free ride access on the Humboldt County bus systems. Save car and parking expenses and help protect the environment at the same time. Simply slide your HSU student identification card through the bus fare box to receive a free ride.  Please go here to view bus schedules.


An alternative to riding the bus, HSU’s two Zipcar rentals offer students another way to run errands or simply get around. For a small fee, students can rent a car for as little as an hour or for multiple days. Gas, insurance, reserved parking spots, up to 180 miles of driving per day and roadside assistance are included in the hourly and daily Zipcar rates.


Arcata has a moderate climate year-round, so you’ll never have to worry about being too hot or too cold. Our average low is 4 C and our average high is 14 C.   We are on the coast near the ocean, so we do get some rain year round.  An umbrella and rainboots are good to have for walking around campus.  Our campus is also known as Hills and Stairs University – so bring good walking shoes.

 For more information about Arcata and Humboldt County:

Center for International Programs
Humboldt State University
1 Harpst Street.
Arcata, CA, 95521-8299 U.S.A.

Telephone: +1 (707) 826-4142
Fax: +1 (707) 826-3939