Moving to Kentucky

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.  

Review these issues before you arrive to Louisville. It is important to have a plan in place or arrangements made before any emergencies happen. It is important to have things like medical care, phone service, and banking figured out in the first few weeks of your arrival. 

The F-1 Student Handbook 2020-2021 also contains some advice. The City of Louisville also provides resources for moving to Louisville. Contact International Support with any questions. 

Housing

We encourage undergraduates to live on-campus, especially in the first few semesters, because the residence halls are a central part of social life at Bellarmine. Living on campus is also very convenient, as you are close to your classes and other campus resources; the campus dining plan also gives you flexibility between meals in the campus dining halls and on-campus eateries.

Graduate students or upperclassmen who want to find homes in the city of Louisville may do so, though younger undergraduates will need to apply for a waiver (contact Residence Life). You can utilize Bellarmine's off-campus housing portal or search for an apartment on your own. Many landlords use online sites such as trulia.com or zillow.com to list properties. 

Medical Insurance

In the United States, medical care is incredibly expensive without health insurance. However, insurance policies still require you to co-pay some costs and visit physicians who are in their policy network. Make sure you understand the coverage of your insurance and which doctors you are able to visit. 

Bellarmine University requires ALL internationals students and their dependents to enroll in a health insurance plan. The insurance must cover a variety of health services, including medical evacuation and repatriation benefits. Bellarmine works with an outside company, Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI), to provide an affordable plan that covers the basic requirements. If you plan to use a different insurance plan, you must consult with International Support to make sure it will meet the requirements. 

The CISI insurance covers the academic year, with optional summer coverage. The CISI health insurance plan is designed specifically for international students coming to the U.S. Plan details are emailed to international students before the beginning of each fall semester, or the first semester of their enrollment at Bellarmine. Dental and Vision Insurance is not provided under the CISI policy.

Medical Care

All students have free access to the Bellarmine Health Services Center, located in Newman Hall, 1st floor. Nurses are on staff and can treat basic illnesses, distribute some over the counter medicines, and refer you to a doctor’s office if needed. You can schedule an appointment or visit the office during the day Monday-Friday. All students also have access to telehealth appointments through video call with a medical professional through Norton eCare while in Kentucky or Indiana. We recommend you set up your Norton account immediately, so you are prepared. If you do not have a Social Security Number, reach out to International Support or Health Services for help. 

If you have an emergency on campus, call Bellarmine Public Safety at 502.272.7777; if you have a serious emergency off-campus, call 911. Ambulances and emergency rooms can be very expensive, and should only be used for true emergencies. 

If you need immediate attention after hours we suggest the following immediate care centers close to campus.

Norton Healthcare
2450 Bardstown Road (Located next to the Highlands Kroger on Bardstown Road)
(502)459-3991
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)
(502) 632-0984
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.

Banking in the United States

A bank account is a good idea in order to facilitate transfer of money since exchange rate charges can be expensive. Banks in the United States offer checking and savings accounts, which you can access with a debit card issued by the bank. Normally, a debit card will act as a MasterCard or Visa credit card when you shop (a debit card can only access money already in your bank account).

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:

  1. Your passport
  2. Your I-20 or DS-2019
  3. I-94 or Social Security Card (if available)
  4. Student ID

Nearby Banks
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.

PNC Bank
2901 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40205
(502) 212-6100
www.pnc.com

Fifth Third Bank
2000 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40205
(502) 456-5669
www.53.com

(Fifth Third Bank ATMs are located on the ground floor of Centro outside the Bookstore and in the foyer outside the University Dining Hall.)

Transportation in Louisville

Bellarmine University has a shuttle bus service on campus for all students. We are a ten-minute walk from Bardstown Road, a major shopping and recreational district of Louisville.

Uber and Lyft are operational in the city. In addition, there is city bus system in Louisville. 

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. Additionally, several companies operate scooter rentals in Louisville, which are very easily accessible. 

Kentucky Driver’s License

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 are moving to Kentucky from another U.S. state, you will need to convert your current license to a Kentucky license. 

Some countries have a one-year reciprocity agreement with the U.S. for driver's licenses. If your country is on this list and 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.. If not, you will need to get a Kentucky license immediately. Additionally if the license from your home country is not in English, then you need to get it translated and have this translation notarized.

It is required by law that your driver's license is valid and that you have car insurance before driving or purchasing a vehicle. The penalties for noncompliance are severe. 

To obtain 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:

  • Passport
  • I-94
  • 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. If you have never driven before, or have little experience driving, then we suggest you contact a driving school to get instructions and a great deal of practice. There are numerous driving schools in the area.

For more information please go to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet website.

Phone Service

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.