This is a very basic check-list. Some items may not apply to you, or there may be items that apply to you, but are not listed here. Use your judgement and don’t hesitate to ask any of the SP Officers for assistance.
- Check-in at the Front Desk (70 Pacific Street, Cambridge MA 02139)
- Call your loved ones to let them know that you arrived safely.
- International students: proceed immediately to International Students’ Office, Building E18, room 219 (E18-219), and sign up for an ISO orientation session (you will not be able to do anything else before completing this session)
- Get an MIT ID Card: Student Center (W20), basement level
- Obtain a parking sticker for your car, also W20 basement level
- Obtain an Athena account (if you don’t have one already). Athena is the MIT computer system (http://ist.mit.edu/support/accounts).
- You should have received a letter with instructions on how to open an Athena account. If not, go to the MIT Student Services Center (11-120) to get your initial password for your Athena account (allows you to use the computing facilities, get an e-mail address, and get your file-storage space).
- After your account is active, get an MIT Personal Certificate (http://ist.mit.edu)
- Set-up your SP “My Account” (http://s-p.mit.edu)
- Upload a photo of yourself for your safety and so you may borrow items
- Open a bank account (if you don’t already have one at a local bank)
- Get a phone card or phone plan (see Phone section of this guide)
- Get a computer or get to know the SP computer lab
- Activate your MIT ID card for use at campus sports and fitness facilities
- Cancel MIT Health Plan enrollment if you already have suitable health insurance
- Get a “COOP” card at the MIT Coop (for extra savings and rebates) Decide what courses you want to take (http://student.mit.edu)
Other Useful Information
The closest supermarket for grocery shopping is Star Market (on the 2nd floor on Green St, between Sidney and Landsdowne St). The closest mall is Cambridgeside Galleria.
Handy hints before arriving
Furniture in S-P
Rooms in Sidney-Pacific come with standard furniture (twin extra-long bed, desk & chair, dresser, wardrobe, bookshelf, side chair). You can see pictures of the standard furniture at http://s-p.mit.edu/about_sp/furniture.php. Please be aware however, that there is NO storage space in S-P, so all the furniture provided with the apartments will have to stay within the apartment.
Bed sheets (linens): American size twin extra long (“Twin extra long” is also known as “extra long single.” It is 3 feet 3 inches wide and 6 ft 8 in long (39 in x 80 in) or 100 cm wide and 203 cm long.)
Be sure to look out for information on our SP-MORE program when you arrive. Residents have donated furniture and household items that will be available to new residents free of charge! [Note: SP-MORE is only for fall orientation]
Handy hints on banking for international students
The most interesting part of the MIT FCU is their credit service: You can get uncomplicated and reasonable small loans to buy a computer or a car.
For international students, you may have a hard time getting a credit card since essentially all banks require some “credit history” in the USA before they can give you credit.
The Visa card office of the MIT FCU offers 2 possibilities to work around this problem:
- You can ask your bank back home to give you a credit history or
- You deposit a certain amount on your savings account at the MIT FCU. This amount is equal to your credit card coverage. It serves as your security and you cannot touch it for a few months (while it is earning some small interest though). Once you have paid your credit card bills regularly for a while, you can ask MIT FCU to give your money free again.
Admittedly during the first month it is not really a “credit” that you get with your credit card, but after this you have built a “credit history” and better chances to get higher coverage or successfully apply for other credit cards.