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International Law Student Welcome Letter

Dear New Student,

CONGRATULATIONS on your acceptance to the Drake University Law Exchange Program for Spring 2020!  We are looking forward to your arrival!  The enclosed information will help you prepare for your enrollment in January.  Please read it carefully.

Please plan to arrive by January 22 to attend the International Orientation on Thursday, January 23. Students who do not have a TOEFL or TOEC score need to take the TOEFL test provided during Orientation (time and date TBD)

Please submit your Arrival Information Form as soon as you have made your travel arrangements so we know when to expect you.  If we receive your information form at least two weeks before your scheduled arrival, we will arrange to have someone welcome you at the airport (or bus station).  If you do not need to be welcomed at the airport, please inform ISSS. 


Please note, there are no currency exchanges at the Des Moines Airport, so you should have at least $200 US dollars with you when you arrive in Des Moines (in $20 bills or smaller) for meals and local transportation until you move into your permanent housing.  If for any reason, you do not see a Drake greeter at the airport when you arrive, don’t worry!  Just take a taxi to the Holiday Inn Express at Drake (1140 24th Street) or your permanent accommodations if you have already made these arrangements.  Taxis are located just outside the baggage claim area of the airport. The cost should be about $30, including tip.  The hotel staff is prepared to assist new students until contact can be made with the International Center.

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. 

International Orientation for new international law students will be on  Thursday, January 23, 2020.  International Student Orientation will include information regarding immigration regulations, services at Drake, health insurance, and other helpful information to help you as you adjust to life at Drake and in the US generally.  If you have not provided TOEFL scores prior to arriving at Drake or if your scores are below Drake requirements, you will be asked to sit for the TOEFL exam during Orientation.

If you do not have an apartment reserved by the time you arrive, you must make your own hotel reservation or fill in the appropriate space on the Arrival Form to request a hotel room. The cost of the room is $112 per night. If you make your own housing arrangements, please tell us where you will be staying so we can contact you if necessary. If you plan to make hotel reservations, do so as soon as possible because Des Moines hotel rooms are in short supply at this time. For information about local hotels, see (please note that the Holiday Inn Express at Drake is the only hotel within walking distance of Drake). Information regarding finding an apartment was included in the welcome packet. If you need this information again, please contact ISSS. We urge that students who need to arrange off-campus housing research possibilities prior to arrival in Des Moines and make several appointments to see apartments in the days when you first arrive. Off-campus housing (particularly that which is furnished and within walking distance of Drake) is very limited. The International Center is unable to assist you in making housing arrangements.

Family members who travel with students are advised to use their travel agent to make hotel reservations. Family members who intend to travel to Des Moines should make reservations as soon as possible because Des Moines hotels are in short supply at this time. Individuals who stay at hotels other than those close to Drake will probably want to rent a car or use taxis to get to campus. Anyone visiting Des Moines for more than a night or two will probably also want to rent a car.

Depending on when you arrive, you may have some free time before Orientation. Use this time to find an apartment, open a bank account, find the International Center, plan your schedule, shop for things you couldn’t bring with you, meet new friends and recover from jet lag!

CLASSES BEGIN…Monday, January 27.  By then you should be well-oriented, well-rested, well-acquainted and ready to study!

We look forward to meeting you in January. Have a safe trip!


Stephanie Dana Ely, International Student Advisor

Kendra Hossain-Morehead, Director of International Student & Scholar Services

PS:  Please pack this letter in your carry on luggage so you have easy access to the following phone numbers you may need while traveling.

During Business Hours (8:30am-4:30pm):
International Center: +1-515-271-2084
Law Admissions: +1- 515-271-2782
Toll Free (in the US only): 1-800-443-7253 Ask to be transferred to Admissions, International Center, etc.

After Business Hours:
Drake Security: +1-515-271-2222