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International Services Office


  • Get to know your school
    Take some time to read through the resources available to you. The orientation website is a great place to start! !
  • What is a Social Security Number?
    A Social Security Number is intended to report your earnings to the federal government for taxation purposes and to receive social security benefits later in life. However, it is often used as a form of personal identification by other institutions. The only way non-U.S. citizens are eligible to receive a social security number is if they obtain legal employment in the U.S. Please note that students do not need a SSN to get a driver's license or open a bank account. However, landlords and utility, cable, and cell phone companies may request a SSN to do a credit history check to determine the amount of deposit they will require to secure housing or to activate services."
  • Is Southern California always sunny?
    Most of the time, yes. However, it does get cool and rainy during some seasons so bring some heavier clothes (sweaters and warm coats/jackets) as well. Students dress casually for classes, although you may want to bring a few formal items for the occasional dress-up event.
  • How do I find a school for my children?
    Private Schools
    There are private school options available in the Pasadena area (California Association of Independent Schools, Pasadena Area Independent Schools).Public Schools
    Your local address determines the public school your child will attend. The Pasadena Unified School District website will help you find your school. While public schools are free, private and religious-sponsored schools charge tuition and other related fees.PreSchools

    You will need to bring the following documents to enroll:
    - Proof of Residence (utility bill, rent/lease contract, etc.)
    - Passport and I-94 Form
    - Past school records (transcripts from middle school and high school)
    - Child's birth certificate and recent immunization records

  • What will I do about transportation?
    There are plenty of ways to get around Pasadena without driving a car. But if you plan on having a car, check out these tips for new Californians on applying for a driver’s license or ID card, vehicle registration and more. If you are legally present in the U.S. but ineligible for a SSN, you are exempt from the SSN requirement when applying for a driver’s license or ID card.
  • Where can I get furniture?
    We understand that you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on furniture that you will only use temporarily. Some budget-friendly options include ACTS Thrift Store, located at 1311 North Altadena Drive, Pasadena, CA 91107, for gently used items, or Ikea for new furniture at affordable prices. You may also find furniture for sale through flyers posted on bulletin boards near campus housing.
  • What is a "tip" and what is the appropriate amount?
    A tip can also be called a gratuity, and it is a voluntary extra payment made for service. Service industry employees will often expect a tip (taxi, airport shuttle, hotel, restaurant, hair salon). A 15% tip on the bill is typical at restaurants. A 20-25% tip is considered a generous tip for services you felt were above average. A $1-2 tip is typically given for luggage help or housekeeping at a hotel.
  • How do I get a cellphone?
    AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile all have branches near campus. Take your passport and a second form of identification.
  • Do I need an adapter for my electronics?
    Bring an adapter plug if you wish to use your small electric appliances such as an iron, hair dryer, or electric razor right away. If you forget, not a problem! You can buy adapter plugs here as well. U.S. electrical current is 110-115 volt, 60 cycle AC.
  • Where can I do my banking?
    To open a checking/savings account, go to the nearest bank of your choice to speak with a bank associate. Be sure to bring your passport and a second form of identification (California ID, home country driver’s license or ID card etc.) Please note that a SSN is not needed to open a checking/savings account, but is needed to apply for a credit card. Some popular local banks include:

    Wells Fargo Bank
    82 South Lake Avenue
    Pasadena, CA 91101

    Bank of America
    399 East Colorado Blvd.
    Pasadena, CA 91101

    U.S. Bank
    720 East Colorado Blvd.
    Pasadena, CA 91101