Moving to a new location, no matter the distance, requires research and an understanding of the local customs and the way business is conducted. Below we provide information on some of the more common issues you will encounter.
Bellarmine is committed to making your stay healthy and happy. Unfortunately, the unexpected does happen. In the U.S. it is best to know where to go for care to limit the expense. Health Insurance requires you to co-pay (pay part of the bill when you receive care). We suggest taking a credit or debit card with you to the doctor’s office or hospital so you will have the means to cover any expenses or fees that you may incur at the time of treatment. Since these issues often arise unexpectedly, it is a good idea for you to always carry:
- Your Bellarmine health insurance card, and
- An identification card (passport or driver’s license)
When you are sick or injured
- If you are seriously ill or injured and need immediate attention please call Bellarmine Security ext. 7777, if you are on campus and 911, if you are off campus.
- If you have a cold or a minor illness, we suggest that you first visit the Bellarmine Health Services Center, located in Newman Hall, 1st floor. They can distribute some over the counter medicines and can refer you to a doctor’s office if needed. They are open during weekdays and provide the following services:
- Physical assessment, including blood pressure, temperature, cholesterol, blood sugar, body fat, strep tests, etc.
- Referral to physicians and clinics for medical treatment if desired or necessary
- Over the counter medication, if requested
- Wellness, diet, exercise, health information and counseling
- Allergy antigen injections (specific physician orders are required, please contact the Director of Health Services in advance for complete details)
- Vaccines including: Hep B, tetanus, HPV, MMR (measles/mumps/rubella), meningitis & flu (fall semester only)
- Emergency response on campus
If you need immediate attention after hours we suggest the following immediate care centers close to campus.
2450 Bardstown Road (Located next to the Highlands Kroger on Bardstown Road)
Open daily 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. They will file insurance but they are EXPENSIVE.
The Little Clinic
2440 Bardstown Road (Located in Highlands Kroger)
M - F: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Sat: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun: 10:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
They will accept most insurance carriers but they can still be expensive.
If you are injured
If you incur a minor injury while playing sports or as a result of some other activity you may go to the BU Health Services or to the above listed immediate care centers. However, depending on the injury, you may need to go to the emergency room. Emergency room services in the U.S. are very expensive and you may have a long wait to be seen if your injury is not life-threatening. We only recommend going to an emergency room if it is a true emergency. Remember that you will need to take your documents with you so please keep your health insurance card in your wallet.
Bellarmine University requires ALL internationals students (except ISEP students) and their dependents to enroll in a health insurance plan provided through the Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI).
This insurance covers a variety of health services, including medical evacuation and repatriation benefits. International students can purchase health insurance in addition to this mandatory insurance if you feel it is not adequate to meet your needs, but this mandatory requirement will not be waived if you have purchased other health insurance.
Based on the length of time listed on your I-20/ DS-2019, Bellarmine will purchase health insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI). For degree seeking students and exchange students who will be at Bellarmine for two semesters, this includes coverage for the 9 month academic year. Students who remain in the U.S. during the summer vacation are required to purchase their own health insurance. The CISI health insurance plan is designed specifically for international students coming to the U.S., and it meets visa requirements. Plan details are emailed to international students before the beginning of each fall semester, or the first semester of their enrollment at Bellarmine. This plan does provide some coverage for athletes. Dental and Vision Insurance is not provided under the CISI policy.
A bank account is a good idea in order to safeguard your valuables and facilitate transfer of money since exchange rate charges can be expensive. Banks in the United States offer safe deposit boxes, and checking and savings accounts, which you can access with a debit card they will issue to you. Normally, it will act as a MasterCard or Visa credit card when you shop (the exception is you have to have the money in your account for the card to work). The banks also offer the best rates for currency exchange and have safe-deposit boxes for rent.
Each bank has slightly different rules, policies, and benefits. Make sure you understand the charges, fees, and other costs associated with the account. Normally, to open a bank account you will need:
- Your passport
- Your I-20 or DS-2019
- I-94 or Social Security Card (if available)
- Student ID
All banks offer similar services with minor differences in such areas as interest earned, types of accounts, and fees charged for services. You may wish to investigate these differences before selecting a bank.
2901Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40205
Fifth Third Bank (ATMs are available on-campus)
A Fifth Third Bank ATM is located on the ground floor of the Campus Center in Horrigan Hall outside the Bookstore. Another ATM is available in the foyer outside the UDH (University Dining Hall) entrance.
2000 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40205
Bellarmine University has a shuttle bus service for international students that is available on the weekends to take you to the local department and grocery stores. In addition, there is city bus, taxi, Uber, and Lyft available.
If you feel energetic, Bellarmine has created a Rent-a-bike program that is free to all students. All you need is to provide your Student ID and you are good to go. Lastly, Bellarmine is located near Bardstown Road, which is a gathering place for the Louisville community, with many restaurants, cafes, and shops in walking distance from the campus. Google Bellarmine and look how close it is to Bardstown Road; then execute a street view to see the eclectic collection of stores and shops from that perspective.
Both F-1 and J-1 student visa holders are eligible to receive a Social Security Number (SSN) to work in the U.S. This card is provided by the Federal Government’s Social Security Administration. Once you arrive on campus, we will help you obtain your SSN. For a preview of the process, go to the Forms section and download the SSN Letter for your visa category.
It is important to note, your Social Security Number is valid for your lifetime. Keep it in a safe place and do not carry it around with you. In the United States, this is the number used for credit and identity checks. For that reason, you should be very cautious about giving this number out to anyone without a good reason. Clear instances when you will be required to provide your SSN would be to your new employer and when filing your tax return with the IRS. In other situations, it is not impolite to ask why your social security number is required and what protections will be used to keep it safe. For more information, click here.
In the United States, the state governments issue the licenses to drive a vehicle. These state licenses are valid throughout all the states and in many countries for a period of time. Both F-1 and J-1 student visa holders are permitted to apply for and receive a Kentucky Driver’s License.
If you have an International Permit or a full, valid driver’s license from your home country you may use this license for up to one year from the date of admission to the U.S. provided your country is part of the Geneva Compact. If your license is from a non-Geneva Compact country then you will need to get a Kentucky license. Additionally if the license from your home country is not in English, then you need to get it translated and have this translation notarized.
If you have never driven before, or have little experience driving, then I would highly suggest that you contact a driving school to get instructions and a great deal of practice. There are numerous driving schools in the area.
For all other students who want to get a Kentucky driver’s license you must present all of your immigration documents to a Division of Driver Licensing office as well as supporting documents. These documents include:
- I-20 or DS-2019
- Employment Authorization Card (EAD) if you have approved OPT
- Social Security Card, tax ID number or ineligibility letter from the Social Security Administration (601 W. Broadway, Louisville, KY 40202 or 1-866-716-9671)
- Proof of address, such as a recent bill that shows your address
- A completed INS School Compliance Form
- A completed Non-US Citizen Application
Applications can be processed at the Buechel Station Shopping Center at 4109 Bardstown Road, Unit 105, Louisville, KY 40218 from 8:15 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Their phone number is 502-493-1477.
If this is your first time applying for a Kentucky driver’s license you will need to take a written and driving test. To study for the test download the Kentucky drivers manual here. This also includes contact numbers to schedule a driving test.
For more information please go to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet website.
Don’t forget that it is required by law that you have car insurance before driving or purchasing a vehicle.
You may find your home country phone service to be very expensive here in the United States. One option is to obtain U.S. phone service. There are two ways to get that service:
Prepaid: All major cell phone providers offer prepaid plans. This is a plan where the cell phone company agrees to provide a set number of minutes available to your cell phone and you prepay for those minutes at the time of the agreement. Once you use the minutes, you need to buy more in order to continue to have service. This type of plan is normally more expensive than the postpaid.
Postpaid Service: Not too long ago in order to have this type of service, you needed to sign a long-term contract. Now, most U.S. cell companies offer a monthly term for a set price. You are billed for this amount each month. You may have to provide a deposit to secure the service in lieu of proof of credit-worthiness.
Another issue you should consider is the type of service. Research which U.S. cell phone companies have service that is compatible with your existing phone. It is quite possible you will be able to switch out your SIM card and use your current phone handset. Some phones offer an extra SIM slot for a second number.