Practical Matters

International students at Suffolk University may need some help finding local stores and brands that remind them of home. Here's a starting list of resources that will get you on the right path.

Other Resources While You Adjust

The International Students Services Office (ISSO) can help you get your bearings both here on campus and throughout Boston in many ways. Check out some of our other helpful resources to help you navigate other situations you may come across while adjusting to your life in the U.S.

Students can use their Suffolk ID card (also known as a "Ram Card") to purchase food on-campus and at many off-campus locations. Once you add funds to your Ram Card, you can swipe your card as you would a debit card to purchase food.

Learn more about where you can use your Ram Card around Boston

Suffolk offers meal plans for resident and commuter students. Students who live in on-campus University housing are required to participate in a Declining Balance Meal Plan.

Get more information about meal plans.

There are several cell phone providers conveniently located near Suffolk. Shop around, compare rates and services, and consider several important factors before you decide on a provider. Refer to the questions below when choosing your cell phone provider:

  • Are pre-paid plans available and is this a good option for you?
  • What are the rates for calls, text messages, data transfers, etc. Keep in mind cell phones in the U.S. charge for both incoming and outgoing calls and texts. There is usually an additional fee if you want to include wireless internet on your phone plan.
  • Is a deposit required to sign a contract? Will it be returned in full at the end of your contract?
  • If you have to terminate a contract early, will you be charged a penalty or lose your deposit?
  • Are you able to use your own phone or required to purchase a new phone? If you plan to use your own phone, be sure to obtain the code needed to “unlock” your phone for use abroad.

443 Washington St, Winter St #8, Boston, MA 02111

350 Washington St, Boston, MA 02109

Verizon Wireless
340 Washington St, Boston, MA

Email: Suffolk University makes individual email accounts available to all students, faculty and staff. You can access your Suffolk University email account on the Web to send and receive email, and configure it to meet your personal requirements. Suffolk o365 allows access to accounts through most Internet browsers from on- or off-campus.

If you do not remember your password or your password is not working, or if you have other questions about your email account, contact the Tech Service Desk at 617-557-2000.

WIFI: Suffolk University's wireless network is available in all buildings on campus allowing; students, faculty, staff and sponsored guests to access network resources. Students with compatible laptops, smartphones, and other handheld devices can roam within a wireless network service area and have access to the Internet, network printers, and their email.

Arranging health insurance should be one of the first things you do. Because of the high cost of medical care in the U.S., in the case of a serious illness or accident in particular, the expenses could cause great hardship. Everyone, no matter how brief the visit, needs to have health insurance coverage at all times, so plan before you arrive and beware of any potential gaps in your coverage.


All students must comply with immunization requirements. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH) requires that all full time students, and all international students, submit certain required immunization records to their enrolled college or university. It is helpful to bring proof of immunizations and full medical records from your home country.

Suffolk Student Health Insurance Plan

The Suffolk Student Health Insurance Plan (SSHIP) is a health insurance plan that meets a specific level of benefits as required by Massachusetts. If you are enrolled in at least 75 percent of a full-time curriculum you will be automatically enrolled in the SSHIP, although if you are already covered under an existing comparable U.S.-based insurance plan you can waive the SSHIP enrollment online.

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students can live in Suffolk's residence halls or they can live off-campus. New first year and transfer students at Suffolk receive housing in Suffolk's residence halls by submitting a deposit with the Office of Undergraduate Admission. After that first year, a room selection process is used for students who want to live in the residence halls.

Learn more about Suffolk's Residence Halls.

Learn more about Off-Campus Housing.

Exchange Students

Exchange students can live in Suffolk's residence halls or they can live off-campus. In order to reserve a room in Suffolk's residence halls, exchange students must submit a $600.00 housing deposit with the Office of Undergraduate Admission.

Learn more about Suffolk's Residence Halls.

Learn more about Off-Campus Housing.

Graduate Students

There is no University housing for graduate students.

Learn more about Off-Campus Housing.

Law Students

There is no university housing for law students.

Learn more about Off-Campus Housing.

Your Suffolk ID Card (also known as a "Ram Card") identifies you as a member of the Suffolk University community. You should carry it at all times while you are on campus. You can pick up your ID card during orientation. You can also go to one of the following locations to get your Suffolk ID card:

  • Sawyer Lobby: 7:30 a.m. — 10:30 p.m. 7 Days a Week
  • Law School Lobby: 7:30 a.m. — 10:30 p.m. 7 Days a Week

Learn more about your Ram Card

In general, you should only carry a small amount of cash, in U.S. dollars, for the first week or two. Other than at international airports, it is often difficult and can be time-consuming to have foreign currency transferred to dollars, and the fees for such transactions are generally higher in the United States than abroad.

You should not carry large amounts of cash to pay for school tuition and fees, or at any time. Traveler's checks or credit/debit cards are much safer and almost universally accepted.

For other money purposes, you should open a bank account at a bank near Suffolk. The banking industry in the United States is highly regulated and very safe. Students often find that opening a checking account and learning how to use and write checks is the most suitable method of handling money and payments.

How to Open a Bank Account

When you go to a bank to open an account, make sure to bring the following documents with you:

  1. Suffolk ID Card (or acceptance letter)
  2. Passport
  3. Immigration Document (I-20 or DS-2019)
  4. Verification of local address

You do not need a Social Security Number (SSN). You will fill out a W-8, which is a statement of foreign residence in lieu of presenting a Social Security card.