We are glad you are considering to study a semester or year at Purdue University on an exchange through the Purdue College of Agriculture.
Before applying to a Purdue Agriculture exchange program, please make sure to discuss your plans with the international officer on your home campus. Only applications that have been endorsed by a designated international officer from a university with a current exchange agreement with the Purdue University College of Agriculture will be considered.
Life at Purdue
Purdue University is a world-renowned university with world class students. Purdue has a vibrant campus life, global reputation, great location, high-tech facilities, exciting courses and diverse students. Discover Purdue by studying abroad on exchange.
Purdue is located in West Lafayette, Indiana with over 40,000 students. By car, Purdue is two hours southeast of Chicago and one hour northwest of Indianapolis, the state capital. For students on a budget, the Lafayette area offers a cost of living below the national average. The map of Purdue will help you locate buildings, streets, and residences around campus.
While the weather is often unpredictable in the Midwestern part of the United States, expect hot, humid summer days and sub-zero (Fahrenheit) winter days with snow and ice. Generally, July and August are the hottest months while January and February are the coldest. September to early November Fall days are very nice with cool, sunny weather. It is also a treat to see the leaves in the trees turn from green to various shades of yellow, red, orange, and brown. The months from March to May are also beautiful as flowers abound and the first buds appear in trees. Warm clothes, such as heavy coats, scarves, gloves, and boots, are essential for the winter months of December through March.
Organizations & Clubs
Getting the most out of Purdue also means getting involved. More than 1,000 student organizations present a myriad of ways to find friends, develop new skills and serve others. Students can join a sports club, an academic organization, a professional or special interest organization, or an international student group.
Sports & Recreation
For students interested in maintaining their physical fitness activities while at Purdue, the Recreational Sports Center is free for full-time students. The indoor facilities include cardiovascular and weight training equipment, indoor track, recreation pool, basketball, racquetball, indoor soccer, and climbing wall. The outdoor facilities include tennis courts, sand volleyball, disc golf, and fields for soccer and softball. If students would rather compete than exercise, the sports center sponsors several club sports teams and intramural sports.
Purdue has several spectator sports including baseball, football, basketball, soccer, swimming, volleyball, and more. Each game is an experience to learn more about the game, hear the marching band, see the cheerleaders, encourage the team, and enjoy time with friends.
Arts & Entertainment
Purdue convocations brings in broadway shows, well-known speakers, musical concerts with great performances. The theatre department hosts four plays a year from students. The Purdue galleries has a variety of art exhibits throughout the year.
Events & Festivals
Special events and festivals take place at Purdue and in the Greater Lafayette area every semester. The Global Fest, Germanfest, Art on the Wabash, Feast of the Hunter's Moon, Christmas parade happen during the fall semester. During the spring, Purdue Spring Fest, International Food Bazaar, and Purdue Grand Prix are great events to attend. The International Center (IC) on the Purdue campus also organizes several social events throughout the semester.
Shopping & Dining
The university is within easy walking distance to bookstores, shops, restaurants, hair salons, banks, grocery stores and a movie theatre. Taking a bus to other grocery stores, shopping malls, and restaurants is best. Several bars are located near Purdue which requires an age of 21 years or older.
Employment at Purdue
Exchange students may be employed on campus up to 20 hours per week during the academic semester. Purdue has jobs at the residence halls, the Purdue Memorial Union, and the Purdue Libraries typically hire several student workers every semester. In addition, students may apply for "academic training." Academic training is employment in the field of your academic program. Exchange students may engage in academic training equal to the length of time they were registered as a student at Purdue.
Transportation around Purdue
The distance between the accommodations and classrooms can be easily traveled on foot or by bike. The City Bus provides reliable bus service around campus and within the West Lafayette/Lafayette community. Students ride free -- simply show a Purdue ID upon entering the bus.
Exchange students have the option to live in the Purdue Residence Halls or Apartments/Cooperative Housing. For Purdue Residence Halls students will apply online. Finding an apartment or a cooperative house requires some time and patience to search for what is available.
Students apply online after they are admitted. A nonrefundable processing fee is charged. Students should apply early or by the stated deadline since residence halls are in great demand. The housing contract is valid for the academic year. An exchange student at Purdue just for the fall semester can notify the residence hall’s main office after arrival to terminate in December. Spring semester or calendar year students will have housing contracts just for the spring semester. Once a housing contract is signed, students cannot get out of it and must pay. The campus housing charges will begin the day students check-in during orientation. Students pay their room and board fees directly to the bursar'’'s office according to the payment schedule chosen by the student on the housing contract. Residence halls are within walking distance of the academic buildings, offer meal plans so students do not have to cook, do not require additional payment for utilities, and offers countless opportunities to meet new people and participate in hall activities. Students living in residence halls are subject to residence halls rules and regulations, sometimes limited space, and may have to share a bedroom. Most residence halls also do not have kitchen facilities. Several housing choices are offered with each room being furnished with beds, desks, chairs, lamp, and closet.
Students who want to experience group living at a more reasonable price can pursue the Cooperative Housing option. There are five houses for men and seven houses for women. All twelve houses operate on the principles of cooperative living with all residents working together to manage each house for the benefit of each other. Cooperative housing is the least expensive housing system at Purdue. Each house has between 15 and 50 members who share responsibilities such as cleaning and preparing meals. Vacancies are occasionally available and exchange students can apply as boarders to any of the cooperative housing units.
There are numerous flats/apartments and rental houses near the Purdue University campus and within the cities of Lafayette and West Lafayette. Students can search for apartments that have short-term individual leases at the following websites:
Exchange students should search to sublease an apartment for the semester. Many apartments in the Lafayette area have a 9 or 12 month lease. When subleasing, you merely take over another student's lease. Try to find an apartment or rental unit that is within walking distance of the Purdue campus. Try to find an apartment that is already furnished.
Applications are completed online. The application instructions will be emailed to the interested student. Completed applications include the application form, university transcript, copy of passport, financial documents, and list of desired courses.
- Spring semester (January to May) – October 1st
- Calendar year - October 1st
- Fall semester (August to December) - March 15th
English Language Ability
International students must possess adequate English language skills.
The student's US immigration document (DS-2019) will be prepared after the exchange application has been processed. Typically this takes 4-6 weeks. The immigration document and a general information packet will be sent directly to the exchange program coordinator, who will forward it to the student.
Proof of Financial Support
Evidence of financial support must be provided. The original document needs to be dated no earlier than one year before the program start date. The document will be needed later when applying for a US visa. Acceptable forms of financial support include:
- Checking, savings, money market account statements (must include account owner's name) or letter from the students bank attesting to the financial savings of the sponsor
- Certificate of deposit (must include maturity date)
- Scholarship award letter (must include award amount)
- Student loan commitment (must show student is approved and should not include special conditions)
- Government sponsorship (must include award amount and description of coverage)
Students may choose courses numbered in the 100-500 range while at Purdue. The schedule of classes lists the courses that are offered each semester. It is suggested to look at the comparable semester one year earlier to see the course offerings if the term is not available yet. Students should choose courses only on the campus of West Lafayette.
Once the application is received, an immigration document is created. The immigration document (DS2019) is needed to obtain a visa. An email with the next steps in the process will be sent after students are admitted into the Purdue system.
Building upon historical strengths in engineering and agriculture, the West Lafayette campus offers over 5,800 courses in more than 400 undergraduate majors: Agriculture, Education, Engineering, Exploratory Studies, Health & Human Sciences, Liberal Arts, Management, Pharmacy, Purdue Polytechnic Institute, Science, Veterinary Medicine, and Honors College. Purdue is one of the leading research institutions with a reputation for academic excellence. Many academic departments continually rank in the top ten nationally.
To search the schedule of classes:
- Choose the semester you will arrive at Purdue in the Term pull-down menu. If that term is not available, choose the comparable term one year earlier.
- Select a Subject
- Choose Campus: West Lafayette. If you fail to do this, you will see courses that are offered at distant Purdue campuses that you cannot take.
- Courses numbered 49999 and below are undergraduate classes and 50000 and above are graduate-level classes. Exchange students are not able to take courses on the 60000 level.
After your acceptance to Purdue, the list of desired courses are sent to an academic advisor. The advisor will review the academic background, determine if course selections are appropriate, and email instructions on how to register. During the first few days at Purdue, it is suggested to meet with the academic advisor to evaluate the registered courses.
In the United States, class attendance and participation are normally considered course requirements. Daily or weekly homework assignments, frequent short tests or quizzes, and teachers keeping track of the number of times you participate in class discussions are common grades for courses. At the end of each semester, final examinations may cover the entire course content or only a portion of it.
Course weight or value is measured by "credits" and the amount of credit is based upon the number of hours the class meets each week. A typical 3-credit course might meet for 50 minutes three times a week, or for one hour and-fifteen minutes twice a week. Students spend two hours outside class for readings and homework for every hour spent in class. One unit of credit equals three hours of work per week. Exchange students are required to maintain full-time student status while at Purdue, which means a minimum of 12 credits every semester. Since most courses at Purdue are worth 3 or 4 credits, students generally take between 3 to 5 courses per semester.
University professors generally welcome classroom questions and discussions with students. Professors maintain regular 'office hours' times during the week when they are available to meet with students to discuss course topics, homework assignments, or any related subject matter in which students are interested.
Academic performance in each course is evaluated by the professor using letter grades of "A" to "F". The grading system used to evaluate a student's academic performance is based on a four-point scale. For exchange students, a transcript is mailed to the home institution at the end of the semester.
Credit cards and debit cards are widely used in the U.S. and are accepted by almost all businesses. The currency conversion will help find the current exchange rate to dollars.
Tuition and fees at Purdue, including the international student service fee are waived in accordance with the exchange agreement between Purdue and the partner institution. Some courses have special class fees which are not included in this agreement. Exchange students are responsible for housing, meals, supplies, personal travel and other miscellaneous expenses. These estimated expenses are around $7500 per semester. Room and board will cost around $5000. Books and supplies will cost between $500 and $800.
Exchange students may want to consider opening a local bank account. There are several banks near campus. To open a bank account you need your passport, proof of local residence, and student number. Students can wire money from their home bank to a local bank.
Cost of Living
Below is a sample of the average cost of several common items:
- Lunchtime meal at restaurant $10
- Combo meal in fast food restaurant $7
- 1 liter of milk $0.65
- 12 eggs $2.40
- 1 kg of apples $3.60
- 1 kg of potatoes $1.60
- 2 liters of Coca-Cola $1.90
- Bread $1.85
- Jeans $50
- Sport Shoes $75
- 1 liter of gas $0.60
- 4 rolls of toilet paper $3.00
- Toothpaste $1.50
- Movie ticket $10
Health & Safety
While at Purdue, exchange students must practice the same safety and health precautions they would at home. Some ways students can practice health and safety are:
- Use common sense
- Stay away from dangerous areas
- Do not travel alone
- Keep informed about the local news
- Inform others of plans to go to town or travel
- Be aware of surroundings
- Do not drink excessively
- Eat healthy
- Use caution interacting with strangers
- Avoid illegal drugs
- Be cautious in giving a phone number, address or email address
- Get enough rest
- Do not leave luggage, purses, book bags unattended
- Keep money and other valuables in a safe place
- Stay in well-lit, heavily traveled streets
- Accept responsibility for decisions and actions made
- Do not hitchhike
- Travel light
- Keep emergency numbers handy
Safety around Purdue
Purdue University and the greater Lafayette community are relatively safe. Most crimes that take place involve personal belongings. As in all cities, you are advised to be sensible and to walk accompanied rather than alone at night.
The Purdue police department provides information on safety and security initiatives, services on campus, local hospitals, and local media outlets. Purdue police protect and serve the university.
At Purdue, there are yellow emergency call boxes all over campus. They are regularly spaced yellow posts marked by a blue light on top. Students can call the Purdue police from these emergency boxes if the student is in danger or needs help.
Safety when Traveling
When traveling, exchange students should keep travel documents and money close. Keeping a photocopy of the passport separate from the passport is a good plan. Students need to take extra caution when traveling to a major US city.
Purdue University requires exchange students to have health insurance coverage effective during the entire time in the United States. Exchange students can complete an insurance waiver form if they already have insurance that meets the requirements. International students can purchase the Purdue University Student Health Insurance plan if they do not have insurance.
Culture shock is the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life or set of attitudes. For some people the bout with culture shock is brief and hardly noticeable. For most people, culture shock is something to deal with over a period of at least several months. To lessen the culture shock students should focus on goals being abroad, learn about the location beforehand, see new things, meet new friends, appreciate the difference, establish a routine, be flexible and ask questions.
Emergency Contact Information
In the US, people can dial 911 for an emergency. Dialing 911 will call the police, fire, or an ambulance for an emergency. The Purdue police number is 765-494-8221. The International Programs in Agriculture office phone number is 765-494-6876.
A valid passport and visa are required for all non-immigrant students. A passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the expiration date of the Certificate of Eligibility issued by Purdue University. Exchange students are responsible for maintaining validity of their passports throughout their stay in the U.S.
Certificate of Eligibility – DS2019
Once exchange students have been approved to study in the United States and officially admitted to Purdue University, a Certificate of Eligibility (DS-2019) will be mailed. The DS-2019 is valid for 30 days before and after the academic program. Exchange students can arrive in the United States 30 days before Purdue's semester begins and depart the home country 30 days after the semester ends.
Effective September 1, 2004, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires collection of a one-time fee to cover operational costs of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Students who receive their DS-2019 for initial entry to the U.S. must pay the SEVIS fee before they can apply for their J-1 exchange visitor visa.
After paying the SEVIS fee, take the SEVIS receipt, the Form DS-2019, valid passport, and evidence of financial support to the nearest US Embassy or U.S. Consulate to obtain a J-1 exchange visitor visa. When students depart for the US the above documents should be taken. A US immigration officer will review these items at the US city of arrival.
Arrival into the US
At the US port of entry, students pass through US Customs and Immigration. Immigration officials will check the passport, J-1 visa, SEVIS receipt, and Certificate of Eligibility and activate the Arrival/Departure record (Form I-94) that is filled out on the plane prior to landing. The immigration officer will stamp the arrival date and duration of status on the Form I-94 according to the dates listed on your Certificate of Eligibility.
Travel Outside the US
Before leaving the US for any reason during the exchange program at Purdue, check first with the Office of International Students and Scholars to make sure the travel documents are in order. A document needs to be signed to return to the US.
Exchange students should arrive by the date suggested in the acceptance email/letter. Prior to beginning classes students need to check-in with International Students and Scholars, obtain a student ID card, attend orientation, turn in forms, and meet with an academic advisor. International Programs in Agriculture has an orientation a few days before classes begin.
Arriving at Purdue
Typically, students fly into Chicago O'Hare International Airport or Indianapolis Airport. After arriving at the Indianapolis or Chicago O'Hare airport, students need to travel to Lafayette, Indiana or West Lafayette, Indiana.
From Chicago O’hare International Airport:
- Lafayette Limo to Purdue Memorial Union
- Reindeer Shuttle to Purdue Memorial Union
- Greyhound Bus to Lafayette, Indiana
- Amtrak(rail) to Lafayette, Indiana
- Rent a car to return to Lafayette/West Lafayette
From Indianapolis Airport:
- Lafayette Limo to Purdue Memorial Union
Pick Up at Purdue
Once students arrive in West Lafayette or Lafayette, someone from the International Programs in Agriculture office will be there for pick up. Email the travel plans before leaving.