OrientationBear Beginnings: Transfer & Exchange Student Orientation

Winter Welcome is an orientation program that assists international students with their academic, personal, social, and cultural transition into the Washington University and St. Louis community.

Fall Orientation

Exchange students will be charged a $500 orientation fee billed to their WashU student account.

During Bear Beginnings, Exchange students will participate in several social and cultural programs including an immersive experience in St. Louis with a bus tour of St. Louis, riverboat cruise, and visit to the Gateway Arch. These students will also be provided with a meal card for food prior to the start of classes.


Tuesday, August 20

  • International transfer students & exchange students arrive in St. Louis and move into campus housing (if campus housing was reserved). 

Wednesday, August 21 

  • Ex-Tra Orientation for international transfer students and exchange students begins. There will be time for shopping, banking, and handling other logistics, as well as Transfer & Exchange Welcome lunch with Chancellor Martin for new transfer and exchange students.

Thursday, August 22 

  • Ex-Tra Orientation continues in the morning 
  • All transfer and exchange students will come together in the afternoon for specialized programming designed for the TX community. 

Friday, August 23

  • Transfer and exchange students will begin the day meeting with their academic divisions. 
  • Specialized programming designed for the TX community will continue in the afternoon, followed by a TX dessert mingle in the evening. 

Saturday, August 24 

  • Transfer and exchange students will participate in a St. Louis Immersive Experience throughout the day.

Sunday,  August 25

  • Transfer and exchange students will conclude Bear Beginnings by attending a Classes are tomorrow, get ready! session. 

Spring Orientation

Winter Welcome is a five-day orientation program that assists new Exchange students with their academic, personal, social, and cultural transition into the Washington University and St. Louis community.


  • Campus Maps
  • Request a U-Pass for free transportation around the St. Louis metro area. If you order your U-Pass before Wednesday, December 25, we will have it available for you to pick-up at the Winter Welcome events on Thursday, January 9.
  • Exchange students who plan on bringing a car to campus will have to purchase a campus parking permit for the spring semester. This can be done online ahead of time at the Parking & Transportation Services website. You may also stop by Parking Services office weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Washington University’s North Campus.

Optional Placement Exams

Any new exchange students who would be interested in taking courses or a tutorial to refine their English for academic and professional communication may sign up for a placement test with WUSTL’s English Language Programs (ELP). Although these tests are listed as tests for graduate students, undergraduates are welcome to take them. Information about how to sign up is available at the OISS Website.

Students are also welcome to contact the ELP at elp@wustl.edu to learn more about the ELP’s services. Contact the English Language Program at any time to get advice about which services would be most appropriate.