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New Resident FAQ

Thank you for your interest in living at International House!  We realize that choosing a place to live is an important decision and that you will have lots of questions as you make your final decision and as you prepare to make the transition to living at I-House.  Below you will find the answers to some of our most Frequently Asked Questions as well as a collection of links to other important resources that will help you understand more about residing here.

General Questions:

What's the occupancy at I-House during the Academic Year? What's the population of residents like?

We currently house 590 residents for the Academic Year.  Of these, about 65% are international students from all over the world including visiting scholars, researchers and Education Abroad Reciprocity students.  Most years, we have about 60% graduate students, post docs and visiting scholars and 40% undergraduates.  Visiting scholars comprise around 15% of our resident population. 

Do you accommodate special diets? Vegetarian?

Dining Services provides a variety of meal options, including vegetarian selections. Although not guaranteed, special diets can usually be accommodated within our facility. Residents can arrange a meeting with our dining staff to discuss any special dietary concerns or food allergies by e-mailing ihdining@berkeley.edu.

Can I transfer from I-House to a campus dorm or vice versa?

I-House is separate from the UC Berkeley dormitories, so you cannot transfer your residency to the campus dormitories. Each housing option requires a separate application and has separate policies.

When can I expect to receive a response once I submit my application?

For the 2012-2013 Academic Year, we will not begin processing applications until May 1st. Those applying before May 1st can expect a reply no later than May 15th. Those applying after May 1st can expect a response within 14 days of the date they completed and submitted Phase 1 of the application.

I have a question about my student visa / H-1 status, can I-House Admissions help with that?

The best resource for any questions regarding visas, H-1s, and work eligibility for international students is the Berkeley International Office (BIO).  You can learn more about their services at their website: http://internationaloffice.berkeley.edu/ or contact them directly at InternationalOffice@berkeley.edu or by phone at 510.642.2818.


Getting Ready:

How do I check in?

For the Academic Year, you may Check-in at the Front Desk after 5pm on your scheduled move-in date unless otherwise stated in your contract. I-House Resident Assistants are available to assist you and answer your questions.  You can reach them by dialing (510) 642-9490, 8am and 12am every day.  After midnight, we kindly request that you use that phone number for emergencies only.  Please bring a photo ID with you when you check in.

Can I arrive early?

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate any early arrivals (before the move-in date of 8/22).  Our house is at maximum capacity for the entire summer and we require the few days before the semester starts to prepare the house and rooms for incoming residents.

Can I arrive late?

Yes.  If you plan to arrive after the scheduled move-in date, please notify us in advance so we can ensure that we have your check-in package ready for you at the Front Desk on the day of your arrival.

Can I store my luggage at I-House?

We do have a very limited amount of storage space that may be available for a day or so prior to move- in.  This is available on a first come, first served basis. If you need longer-term storage, you can contact the Resident Service Center to inquire about availability of their storage lockers. They can be reached at 510-642-9459 or marthamc@berkeley.edu.

What should I bring for my room?

Very little. Your room is furnished with a regular twin size bed, a dresser, a desk, a desk chair, and desk lamp as well as ceiling light.  Each room is also equipped with a radiator, allowing you to control heating within your room.  Linens are available for rent and you can purchase a pillow at the Resident Service Center (RSC) in the Ground Floor Laundry Room. In addition, you may rent other items such as an iron, mini refrigerator, a microwave, or television from the RSC rather than bringing your own. Please see our What to Bring (pdf) for more information and a list of prohibited items.

Can I have mail or packages sent to me before I arrive?

No.  Due to the sheer number of residents moving in during our primary check-ins we are unable to accept packages until after residents have checked in.

What is my mailing address?

Your mailing address to receive mail is:
      Your Name
International House
2299 Piedmont Avenue
Your Room #
Berkeley, CA 94720-2320 USA

When you arrive, your Check-In envelope will include a card containing the combination to open your mailbox.  You may pick-up bulk packages by visiting the mailroom during the hours posted on the mailroom door and showing them the package slip that you will have received in your mailbox.

How do I get from SFO/Oakland airport to I-House?

BART goes directly from both Oakland and SFO to Downtown Berkeley, where you can take a taxi to the International House—about a 5 minute drive.  You may also use a shuttle service or a cab. Please visit the SFO or Oakland Airport websites for comprehensive airport transportation information.


Living at I-House:

How do I pay my Room & Board fees? When are they due?

There a variety of ways you can pay your fees. The preferred way is via wire transfer or direct deposit. You can pay your fees via cash, check or credit card (Visa or MasterCard) at our Cashier’s Window or online for credit card payments here. The fees for each semester are broken down into three equal installments, which are due at regular intervals throughout the semester. We will provide a detailed payment schedule upon your arrival. The first payment is not due until after our scheduled check-in. If you have specific questions about payment options (i.e.,  setting up direct deposit or wire transfer), please contact our Resident Account Manager,  Queenie Santos at qcs@berkeley.edu or 510-643-8316.

Are rooms/floors coed?

Shared rooms are not coed. Each floor is coed with the exception of the female only 8th floor.

Are bathrooms and showers shared? How many are there?

Bathrooms and showers are shared but are separated by gender. There are 2 bathrooms and 2 shower facilities for each gender on each floor with the exception of the 8th floor which is our Women’s Hall and only has a female bathroom and one shower facility.

Can I change my room or my roommate?

At this time, we are no longer granting any requests to change rooms or roommates. Two weeks after move-in, once we have confirmed who is here and what spaces we have available, we will have a room swap period. During this time, you can request to change rooms or roommates.  As we generally begin the school year with few or no vacancies, we are not always able to accommodate every request for a room change.

What parking lots/spaces are available?

Parking on the UC Berkeley campus is very difficult. Street parking at meters is free after 6 pm. In non-metered areas, parking is free for two hours and unregulated after 7 pm.  A limited number of permits are available through the City of Berkeley for an annual fee of $45, which exempts you from the two-hour limit.  Please see the City of Berkeley parking website for more information.  Meters are free with a California disabled placard.

How will the stadium construction impact me? When will it be finished?

I-House is adjacent to the University Stadium where construction of a state-of-the-art Student High Performance Athletic Center is occurring. Construction at that site takes place between 7am and 4:30pm weekdays and 9am-6pm on occasional Saturdays. I-House is working closely with Campus to minimize disruptions, but construction will generate noise and dust. This project is scheduled to be completed in September 2012.

Who do I go to if I have questions or concerns while living at I-House?

Do not hesitate to talk to the Resident Support Services (RSS) staff at the Front Desk. They are available to help you 24 hours a day, daily. You can also reach them by calling 2-9490 from your room phone. Concerns of a sensitive nature will remain confidential.

I-House Resources:

Where do I find more information about I-House, including its policies and procedures?

Please read our Resident Handbook located on our website under Residents > Resident Portal.  The handbook has a wealth of information pertaining to anything you need to know about I-House. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the handbook.

Is there a kitchen I can use?

We do have a small kitchen that is available for use by residents. The kitchen includes pots, pans, dishes, utensils and appliances.  Residents can reserve the kitchen in advance.  We require a $100 deposit for kitchen use, which is returned if you leave the kitchen in proper condition (clean with no items missing).  There is also a microwave conveniently located near the elevators in the laundry room, available for resident use at anytime.

Do you have a library or quiet place to study?

Our library is open 24 hours a day and features international newspapers and a variety of periodicals. It offers a congenial, yet quiet, study atmosphere.  Access is restricted to residents only.

Where can I print documents?

You can purchase pre-paid printer cards from the RSC that allow you to use the printer in the third floor computer lounge and the photocopy machine on the second floor at the back entrance to the library.  There is also a scanner available in the computer lounge, free of charge for uploading documents.

Do you have wireless internet?

I-House has its own wireless network which is accessible by residents throughout the house. Information for access to the network is available at check-in. The public and common areas on the ground and second floor, including the Café with its patios, are served by the campus-wide wireless AirBears network. It is maintained by the university. More information on AirBears.

I-House Policies:

What are quiet hours?

Creating noise that unreasonably disrupts residents or neighboring community members at any time is unacceptable. In addition, residents are asked to be especially considerate during the quiet hours from 11pm-10am on weekdays, and 1am-10am on weekends. For both the academic year semesters and for the summer sessions, around-the-clock quiet hours begin on the last day of instruction and continue to the end of the term. There are several resident lounges available for larger/noisier gatherings, please ask our front desk for more information.

Is smoking allowed at I-House?

Smoking is strictly prohibited inside I-House.  There are designated smoking areas outside the building.

Can I have a guest stay with me?

Overnight guests are welcome at I-House in accordance with our Guest Policy.  Each resident is allowed to have an overnight guest for a maximum of three nights per semester.   Guests are not permitted for more than three consecutive nights without a special exception.  An appeal for an exception can be submitted to the Director of Admissions.  For those residents with a roommate, you must have her/his permission prior to hosting any overnight guests.  In addition, you will need to notify the Front Desk that you have a guest.  Female guests will be issued a temporary key to the women's bathroom and showers. 

For a complete listing of all I-House Residential Policies, please review our Resident Handbook at http://ihouse.berkeley.edu/residents/handbook.pdf