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Your Arrival in Des Moines and Transportation

Your Arrival 
*Please plan to arrive in Des Moines between August 17-19, 2014 in order to attend International Student Orientation on Wednesday, August 20 and Welcome Week the rest of the week. See your welcome letter for more details.

All new students should complete the arrival form so that the International Center knows when you will be arriving in Des Moines and where you will be staying.  If you do not need a welcomer to greet you, please still complete the arrival form but notify Carlyn Marron ( that you do not need to have a welcomer arranged.  Students that wish to have someone greet them at the airport should refer to the information below.  Airport welcomers will have a packet of information for you when you arrive.  Among other things, the packet includes orientation and registration information, your room assignment (if you will live on campus), and an apartment listing (if you will live off campus).  If you are not greeted at the airport, you may obtain this packet from the International Center during office hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM.  The International Center is located in The Point at 1331 27th Street.

Notes about Traveling to Des Moines:

There are no currency exchanges at the Des Moines Airport, so you must have at least $200 US dollars with you when you arrive in Des Moines (in $20 bills or smaller) for meals and local transportation.  If possible, you should obtain some US dollars in your home country before traveling to Des Moines.  You may also exchange money when you first arrive in the US at your first Port of Entry (i.e. Chicago, LA, New York, etc).

Because of the large number of connecting flights students may have in order to reach Des Moines, it is not uncommon for baggage to get delayed en route.  We suggest you bring at least an extra day's worth of clothing and any essential personal items (medications, etc) with you in your carry-on luggage in the event that your luggage gets delayed.  Pack all of your immigration documents in your carry-on luggage as well.

Toll-free (in the US): 1-800-44DRAKE (ask to be transferred to the International Center)  
International Center Phone:  (+1) 515-271-2084
International Center Fax:  (+1) 515-271-4588
Business hours at Drake are Monday - Friday, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Arranging for a Welcomer at the Airport

The International Center offers a welcoming service for new students, which includes being greeted at the airport (or bus station) by a Drake volunteer.  To take advantage of this service we need to receive your Arrival Information form no later than two weeks before your arrival (but preferably 4 weeks in advance if possible).  Please use the "Airport Welcome" link at right to inform us of your arrival information.  You may re-submit the form or e-mail Carlyn Marron ( with any changes to your itinerary.

If for any reason you do not see a Drake greeter at the airport when you arrive, don’t worry!  Please take a taxi directly to the accommodations you have arranged.   The taxi queue is outside the baggage claim area of the airport. The cost should be about $30, including tip.  If you have difficulty, you may take a taxi to Drake Campus Security, located at 1221 25th Street (or contact them by phone at +1-515-271-2222).  The Campus Security office will be prepared to assist you or contact International Center staff if necessary.  The Campus Security Office is open 7 days per week, 24 hours per day.

Making Phone Calls from Pay Phones

Local calls in the US cost 35 cents (more in some places).  For local calls, deposit 35 cents and dial the seven-digit telephone number.  Long distance calls require several dollars in coins.  Deposit 35 cents and dial zero.  When the operator answers, your money will be returned to you.  Then follow the operator's instructions and deposit the coins required for the call you wish to make.


Buses are not recommended transportation from the airport due to infrequent schedules.  The International Center will provide you with Des Moines bus schedules after you arrive.


Des Moines maps are in every telephone directory.  You may download a copy of the Drake campus map here.  You will receive copies of both maps when you arrive.