Planning Your Visit


What to Expect & What to Bring

Arrival in Seattle

The first thing you’ll do upon your arrival at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is clear Passport Control and Customs and Border Protection. While visitors entering the US by air or sea no longer need to complete the paper-version of the I-94 “Arrival/Departure Record,” you will need to present the Customs and Border Patrol officer with the following:

  1. Your passport, valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected stay
  2. The DS-2019 “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status”
  3. The CF-6057 “Customs Declaration Form” (which you will have received and completed before landing)
  4. The Welcome Letter written by Dr. Charles Tung and emailed to you on May 13, 2017.

It is very important that your name is identical on each of these documents. For this reason, please make sure that we (the staff of SUSI@SU 2017) have your full name exactly as it appears on your passport.

We recommend that you keep all your travel documents together in an envelope and that you carry them on your person at all times. Do not check any travel documents in your baggage; if your baggage is delayed, you may be unable to enter the United States. It is also a good idea to make a photocopy of the picture page of your passport and leave this photocopy with a family member. In the unlikely event that you lose your passport while travelling, this photocopy can expedite the process of getting a replacement passport. For more information about admission to the United States, you can visit the website of US Customs and Border Patrol,, or jump directly to their page For International Visitors.  See also Arriving at a US Port of Entry.

After passing through customs—which normally takes 30–60 minutes—you will take a subway to the Central Terminal where program staff will be waiting to meet you in the Baggage Claim area (located on the lowest level of the main terminal).  International visitors will enter the Baggage Claim area via the escalator between carousel 7 and 8. We will be holding a Seattle University sign.  If for some reason we do not make contact there, please proceed to carousel 1 where you will collect your luggage.  If you remain in the area of carousel 1, we will find you.

If your port of entry to the US was a different city and you have already gone through the customs process, then please proceed to Baggage Claim #1.

If for any reason (unexpected delays, for example) you are unable to rendezvous with program staff at Baggage Claim at the scheduled time, please call any one of us (contact information below), and we will come collect you at the airport. As a last resort, you can take a taxi or rideshare to the Murphy Apartments on the campus of Seattle University, located at 1001 E James St. The telephone number for the Front Desk is (206) 398-4984.

Emergency Contact Information:

In the event of a major travel issue or emergency, please call or text one of the SUSI staff members:

  • SUSI Director, Charles M Tung: 206.288.9097
  • Associate Director, Ken Allan: 206.295.0580
  • Program Coordinator, Amber Larkin: 206.481.7968

This contact information contains the personal mobile phone numbers of the Institute Staff. It is provided here in the event of emergency.

Packing Tips

Carry by hand

  • Please carry all medicines, other necessary personal items, and all official papers with you on the plane. Do not pack these items in your checked luggage.  If you take prescription drugs, bring enough of your medicine with you to last for your entire time away from home.  Keep prescription drugs in their original packaging or in prescription bottles labeled by your doctor or pharmacy.  Also bring with you copies of your prescriptions in English, so that any lost medications can be replaced.

Carry-on suitcase

  • We ask that, in addition to your checked luggage, you bring a carry-on suitcase (with wheels). You will need this carry-on bag for our study tour (rather than a large suitcase).  Our study tour airline, like most major airlines in the US, requires that your carry-on luggage be no more than 22 x 14 x 9 in. / 55 x 35 x 22 cm in order to fit in the overhead bin.
  • In case your luggage is delayed en route, make sure to pack your carry-on with two to three days’ change of clothing, including something formal or dressy enough to wear to the welcome dinner.

Backpack or laptop bag

  • A backpack is highly recommended, not only for the study tour, but also for our local trips around Seattle.
  • AC adapter: If you bring a laptop computer or other electrical devices, make sure that you bring an AC adapter (110-120 volts), as well as a plug adapter for North America. The U.S. does not use DC electricity or the 220 voltage range used by most countries.

Checked luggage

  • We encourage you to pack light (for example, you will not need heavy winter clothing) in order to save room for souvenirs, gifts, and most importantly all the books you will receive and purchase during your visit! (We will be visiting some of the best used bookstores for literature, criticism, and theory on the West Coast!)
  • Bring an extra pair of glasses.
  • Bring a cheap umbrella.

Weather in Seattle and on the Study Tour

While the Pacific Northwest is famous for grey skies, weather throughout the academic residency is predicted to be mostly sunny with occasional scattered showers, with temperatures in the range of 21–27 °C. On the study tour, we’re likely to see temperatures ranging from 23-31 °C, with lots of heat and heavy rain in Washington, D.C.

A weather forecast for summer 2018


Planning for Communication Needs: Mobile and Online Options 

Upon your arrival, we can issue you a basic, inexpensive cell phone strictly for the purpose of coordinating with the SUSI group and the Institute staff while in the U.S. While you will be able to purchase phone cards in order to ring home, we recommend trying to set up Skype or Zoom for your family and friends in order to communicate with them. We will have computer help during the first several days in order to troubleshoot any difficulties you might encounter with this technology.

Alternatively, if you would like to use your own personal smart phone, then you can purchase a SIM card (a smart card that goes inside the mobile device) for use in the US. Importantly, for the SIM card to work, you must contact your carrier and ask them to “unlock” your phone, which will allow it to access mobile networks inside the United States. The price of a SIM card ranges from about $35 to $75 dollars, depending on what features of the phone you plan to use (voice, text messaging, data). These cards can be purchased online, but we recommend buying one at a physical location in the U.S. in order to ensure you receive the appropriate card for your phone as well as the communication features you prefer to use during your stay. During the orientation, SUSI staff can help you locate retail outlets where you can purchase a SIM card.

Online Resources for Planning Your Trip

Our Program

  • SUSI Website
  • CANVAS SITE (coming soon!):  Online academic resource for SUSI@SU 2017.

Our University

Our City

  •  Official tourism website for the City of Seattle, with information about popular activities for visitors such as sightseeing and shopping (Things to Do), recommendations of bars and restaurants (Food and Drink), a local news blog, more.
  •  Website of The Seattle Times, Seattle’s largest daily newspaper. A good source for Local News, its Travel section regularly features fun things to do in the city and around the region.
  •  Website of our city’s popular weekly newspaper, The Stranger, which is known for its excellent coverage of Things to Do around Seattle, including an extensive calendar of music, film, theater, and art events happening every day.


From the State Department

Official description of the SUSI program on the website of the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.


Overview of the Exchange Visitor Program, including J-1 Visa Basics and information for current Participants on J-1 visa rules, extending your visa, and similar topics.

Information on your legal Rights and Protections as a participant in an exchange program, what do to if your travel documents are Lost/Stolen, and more.


The SUSI Team