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ISP Student Handbook

About the Office of International Short Programs and its partners 

International Short Programs (ISP)
For 20 years, International Short Programs (ISP) has provided short, on-campus intercultural education experiences for visiting international students and professionals, first as a part of the Applied English Center, and now as a unit under KU International Affairs. We have designed and delivered 23 unique programs for more than 1,600 participants, with many sending cohorts multiple years. Current programs range from 3 weeks to 9 months. A number of our programs are a result of grants awarded to us for federally-funded and bi-national initiative programs. We also work directly with international partner universities to develop customized programs, including the 29-year Kanagawa University program (Hiratsuka, Japan). Additionally, we provide support to KU faculty who bring groups of international students to campus for a customized, short program in their discipline.
Our mission is to design and facilitate comprehensive, well-run short programs with rich academic and intercultural components. This includes providing comprehensive, people-focused services and program logistics from before arrival through the program’s end to ensure participants a soft-landing into a new culture. It also includes creating the space for participants to engage with others, experience life on campus and in the community, and to reflect on what it means to live in another culture.
For more information about International Short Programs and the types of programs we provide, please see our homepage at: http://isp.ku.edu/.
The University of Kansas

Founded in 1865, the University of Kansas (KU) is a comprehensive research institution with more than 200 fields of study and 2600 faculty members.  The university has the most highly developed international programs west of the Mississippi River, with four National Resource Centers focusing on Latin American Studies, Russian and East European Studies, East Asian Studies, and African Studies.  The university welcomes students and scholars from around the world.  Nearly 2,400 international students and scholars from more than 100 countries study and conduct research at the university each year.

KU has one of the most beautiful college campuses in the United States.  It sits on Mount Oread, a scenic, tree-covered hill in the center of the city of Lawrence.  The university is home to several nationally recognized museums and has one of the best public research libraries in the US.  The campus has an exciting cultural and social life, including lectures, films, concerts, art exhibits, theater, and athletic competitions.

See https://www.ku.edu/ for more information about the University of Kansas.


University of Kansas Academic Departments

International Short Programs works with various academic departments to develop short-term, discipline specific programs for groups of international participants. To see more about an individual department, please visit their website.
For a list of schools and departments at the University of Kansas, please visit: https://ku.edu/schools-departments.
For a list of fields of study available at the University of Kansas, please visit: https://ku.edu/fields-of-study.
The Applied English Center
As a component of many ISP programs, students take English classes through the KU Applied English Center. The Applied English Center (http://aec.ku.edu/) was founded in 1964, making it one of the oldest university programs in English as a second language in the United States.  The Center’s mission is to provide courses in English as a second language to international students admitted to university degree programs, those admitted directly to the AEC as special students, and participants of ISP groups.  In addition to teaching English as a second language, the Applied English Center assists international students in making successful adjustments to American campus life through its orientation and advising programs. The AEC has a staff of international student advisors who are available to discuss student academic, social, and personal problems, and share information about the AEC, the university, and the community. The AEC also works closely with the staff of the Office of International Support Services and other offices to ensure its students have the help they need to succeed as students at KU.   
For more information about the Applied English Center, please visit: https://aec.ku.edu/. To get contact information for particular AEC teachers or staff, please visit: http://aec.ku.edu/faculty and http://aec.ku.edu/administration.
International Short Program Contacts
Departmental Emergency Contact Phone:                    785-864-5944 
To contact ISP for urgent matters using a phone app, please use the following:
  • ISP departmental LINE account:                             kuisp
  • ISP departmental WeChat account:                             KU_ISP
  • ISP departmental WhatsApp account:                        KU_ISP        
International Short Programs Staff
    International Short Programs departmental e-mail: isp@ku.edu
Mindy Van House, Education Program Coordinator
Office Tel: 785-864-1496
Geri Lamer, Senior Education Program Coordinator
Office Tel: 785-864-1321
Aaron Huerter, Assistant Director
Office Tel: 785-864-5316
Margaret Coffey, Director
Office Tel: 785-864-1307
To learn more about ISP staff members, please visit: http://isp.ku.edu/people.

Life at the University of Kansas

Kansas Memorial Union
The Kansas Union is located at 1301 Jayhawk Boulevard near the northeast corner of campus. The Union serves as the center of the KU community. Throughout the Union you will find places to sit and eat, relax, or study as well as several shops and services.
The KU Bookstore and Jayhawk Ink are located on the 2nd floor of the Union. You can buy your class textbooks, school supplies, computers and computer supplies, and KU gear at the KU Bookstore. Jayhawk Ink offers printing services as well as selling popular books, magazines, and newspapers.
On the 3rd floor of the Union you will find The Market, where you can find food kiosks that sell food such as soup, salad, burgers and fries, sandwiches, pizza, sushi, Mexican style dishes, and various beverages and snacks. Just down the hall from The Market you can find the KU radio station, KJHK 90.7 FM.
From Jayhawk Boulevard you will enter the Union on the 4th floor. On that floor you will find a small retail store selling snacks, a Roasterie Coffee kiosk, the KU Card Center, a KU Info desk, and Commerce Bank. Numerous activities and events occur on the 4th floor of the Union.
The 5th and 6th levels of the Union are primarily rooms for meetings and events.
Student Union Activities
The Student Union Activities Board (SUA) is a student organization committed to planning free and low cost events for KU students. Most of these activities happen in the Kansas Union but some happen in other locations around campus or in Lawrence. There are even occasional activities in Kansas City! Some of the events SUA sponsors are Tea @ 3, International Nights, dancing, karaoke, talents shows . . . the list of activities is long and varied! These activities are a good way to get out and meet KU students of all backgrounds and have a little fun. Keep an eye on SUA’s events calendar at http://suaevents.com.
Accessing money from home
The easiest and safest way to access money from home is to use a debit, or ATM, card to withdraw money from your bank account in your home country. However, there will likely be fees from both your home bank and the bank that owns the ATM. On-campus ATMs are located in the Kansas Memorial Union, Wescoe Hall, Ambler Student Rec Center, and Lewis Hall.
It is not common for banks in small to medium sized towns in the U.S. to exchange currency from other countries. However, if you do bring some cash in your home currency, you can exchange it in Lawrence at Intrust Bank, located at 901 Vermont St. Please note that this can sometimes take a long time to complete. Expect a fee to be charged when you exchange money.
Commerce Bank
Commerce Bank, a regional bank, has a location in the Kansas Union here at KU. It is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. There is also a branch at the Dillons store located just south of campus at the corner of 23rd Street and Naismith Drive. Commerce Bank has on-campus ATMs in the Kansas Union, Wescoe Hall, Ambler Rec Center, and Lewis Hall. If you are here for a longer program, we will help you open an account at this bank.
Beak’Em Bucks
Beak’Em Bucks is cash alternative that you load onto your KUID card.  Beak’Em Bucks are needed to print on campus. They can also be used for purchases at the KU Bookstore, on-campus food courts such as the Market (3rd floor, Kansas Union), the Underground (1st floor, Wescoe Hall), or the Burge Union. They can even be used at certain off-campus restaurants and retail locations in Lawrence.  To see a list of where you can use your Beak’Em Bucks off-campus go to https://kucard.ku.edu/off-campus
You can purchase Beak’Em Bucks online using a credit card (see http://kucard.ku.edu/recharge-online for how to do this) or with cash. To purchase Beak’Em bucks with cash, take your cash and your KUID card to the cash to card machine, which is located on the 4th floor of the Kansas Union between the bank and the KU Card center. Beak’Em Bucks are not refundable if unused, so make sure to only purchase what you need. Black and white copies cost $0.08 per page (1 sided) and color pages are $0.48 (1 sided). 
You will have access to free wireless internet on the KU campus. All visitors to campus can connect through the KUGUEST network. Once you set up your KU online ID, you can connect to the more secure JAYHAWK network. For instructions on how to manually configure your device for this network see http://technology.ku.edu/configure-wifi.
There are computers that you can use in Anschutz and Watson Libraries. Using the computers is free but printing is not.  In order to print on campus, you will need to purchase Beak’Em Bucks.  For more information, please see the International Short Programs handbook section on money.
If you are enrolled in Applied English Center classes you may also you the LEO lab.                 
Located at 226 Fraser Hall:
Open Mon. - Fri. 8 am-5 pm
Go To:  http://aec.ku.edu/leo-lab for more information about what the LEO Lab offers.
PLEASE NOTE:  In case of illness or injury that is not an emergency, you should first contact International Short Programs staff. You may call us at 785-521-5944, e-mail us at isp@ku.edu or contact us using one of the apps listed in this handbook under “About”.
Watkins Student Health Center
1200 Schwegler Drive
The campus health clinic, Watkins Student Health Center, provides care for most of your health needs. You should go to Watkins Health Center for immunizations, doctor’s visits for minor problems such as a cold or flu, and counseling. If Watkins Health Center is not open, contact ISP staff to help you decide the best course of action and provide transportation and assistance, if needed.  Do NOT go to the hospital unless you have talked to ISP staff, have a referral from the Student Health Center, or have a serious medical emergency.  It will be expensive, and the insurance company may not reimburse you. Lawrence Memorial Hospital is located at 4th and Maine for serious medical emergencies.
As a student in International Short Programs, you will be eligible for the full services offered by the Watkins Student Health Center at KU.  You must provide your KUID number to receive medical treatment.  Your enrollment fee includes a required health fee. This fee covers many services:  medical evaluations and examinations, most treatments for illnesses and injuries, most lab tests for outpatients, dietary advice and the first visit for physical therapy and mental health services.  Prescriptions filled at the Student Health Center are not free, but they are less expensive than at other pharmacies.  Dental care is not available at Watkins. NOTE:  There may be charges for some services, including medications, x-rays and minor surgery.  You or your health insurance company must pay these charges.
As part of your enrollment at KU, you receive the KU student insurance. This insurance will pay for most of your medical costs at Watkins or other preferred providers, but you will have a “copay” for some things. If you go to Watkins Health Center, be sure to tell them you have the student health insurance so they can complete the billing process correctly. If you need to go to an off-campus medical provider, be sure to bring a copy of your KU student insurance card with you. See https://iss.ku.edu/plan-details-id-cards and follow the directions to print or save a copy of your card.
Walk-in Clinic: If you need to see a doctor but have not made a regular appointment, you may use the Walk-in Clinic.  However, it is recommended to schedule a regular appointment as you will likely have to wait longer for walk-in appointments than you would with a regular appointment.
Hours at Watkins Student Health Center changed based on semester. It is generally open Monday through Friday between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm. It MAY be open a half a day on Saturdays, depending on the time of year. For accurate information on hours, please see the Watkins Health Center webpage at https://studenthealth.ku.edu/.
Important telephone numbers at Watkins Student Health Center
Automated Main Line         785.864.9500  
Appointment Line               785.864.9507
Pharmacy                           785.864.9512
Nurse Helpline                    785.864.9583
Safety Information
Advice from the KU Public Safety Office:
  • Don’t leave belongings unattended in public places. Most thefts on campus happen in residence hall cafeterias, student union cafeterias, Watson Library, and Robinson Gymnasium.
  • Lock the door to your room or apartment, even if you’re only going down the hall for a few minutes.
  • Keep valuables such as jewelry in a locked drawer.
  • Go places in groups. Don’t walk alone on campus late at night and always walk in well-lighted areas. Know where emergency phones are located on campus.
  • Call the police if you see someone doing something suspicious. Or call Crime Stoppers (864-8888), a KU program that takes anonymous information. In an emergency call 911.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and social situations in which you could be put in danger.  And look for emergency phones (poles with a blue light and a yellow phone box) around you. Emergency phone locations can be found on your campus map. For a list of emergency phone locations visit https://publicsafety.drupal.ku.edu/emergency-blue-phones
In general, Lawrence is a safe city.  However, you should try to stay in groups and do not go new places by yourself.  DO NOT GET INTO THE CAR OF A PERSON YOU DO NOT KNOW — that could be very dangerous. Be smart and stay safe!
KU Recreation and Gyms
Facilities are located at Robinson Recreation Center and Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center and are free for KU students. A KU student ID opens the door to a world of sailing, rock climbing, martial arts, swimming, racquetball, basketball, and weightlifting.  KU’s Ambler recreation facility is located south of Watkins Health Center. You can use the fitness center as often as you wish and you can use your KU ID to check out sports equipment. This facility contains aerobic fitness and martial arts areas, a suspended track, two racquetball courts, a climbing wall, a free weight/cardiovascular gym area, outdoor basketball and volleyball courts, easy access parking and a food/vending area. Hours vary by semester, please see http://recreation.ku.edu/facilities for details.  Student recreation hours at Robinson Center pool and recreation gyms also vary by semester and are subject to change, please check https://recreation.ku.edu/robinson-center for details.
On the first floor of Ambler Rec Center is the Outdoor Pursuits office. There you can rent bikes, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, tents, sleeping bags and other equipment for camping and water sports. See https://recreation.ku.edu/equipment-rental for more information and rental prices.
KU Libraries and Museums
This is the oldest and largest library at KU. It includes material from the social sciences, humanities, education, journalism, and social welfare. You can use your KU ID to check out books and materials. Computer workstations and study areas are available at Watson.
Mon.-Thurs., 8 am-2 am on the following day; Fri. 8 am-8 pm; Sat. 10 am-8 pm;
Sun. 10 am-2 am on Monday
Anschutz Library focuses on materials in the sciences, social sciences, and some medical areas. It also houses a collection of government and international documents as well as a map collection. Anschutz has numerous computer workstations as well as a café with coffee, tea, and snacks.
Open continuously from 10 am Sunday until 8 pm Friday (24 hours Mon.–Thurs.);
Sat. 10 am-8 pm.  Please Note: Holiday and break hours may be different.
The Point, the AEC’s own independent learning center, is located in room 425 of Anschutz Library.  If you have a specific question about your AEC classwork, or you just want to work on a special area you can go to the Point to get help from AEC instructors. To schedule an appointment go to the Point webpage at http://aec.ku.edu/point.            
Other Libraries
More information about the KU libraries can be found at https://lib.ku.edu/locations-hours


The KU Natural History Museum is located in Dyche Hall next to the Kansas Union. The Natural History Museum is home to four floors of exhibits designed to help you learn more about animal and plant life of the planet, North America, and Kansas.
Mon. Closed; Tues – Sat. 9 am - 5 pm; Sun., noon - 4 pm
The Spencer Museum of Art is the only comprehensive art museum in the state of Kansas. It has more than 40,000 art objects in its collections of African, American, Asian, Contemporary, European, Latin American and Caribbean, Native American art, and other special exhibitions.
        Mon. Closed; Tues., Fri., & Sat. 10 am–4 pm; Wed. & Thurs. 10 am–8 pm; Sun. noon–4 pm
Those interested in politics and public service may want to visit the Dole Institute of Politics. Dedicated to former Kansas Senator Bob Dole, the Dole Institute is home to the Robert J. Dole Archive and Special Collections as well as a small museum gallery.
                Mon.-Sat. 9 am-5 pm; Sun. noon-5 pm



KU on Wheels

KU on Wheels is the bus system run by the university.  Bus stops include the residence halls, the KU campus, downtown Lawrence and other destinations. These buses are free to everyone. These bus lines do not operate on weekends, during Summer Semester or during KU breaks.

Lawrence Transit System (“The T”)

You can also use the Lawrence city bus system.  The bus is free to ride with a KU ID.  The “T” runs all over town with numerous routes, some routes also include on-campus stops. Please note that buses do not run on Sundays or holidays.  For more information and schedules, pick up a “transit guide”, available on any bus, or visit http://lawrencetransit.org/.  You can also download the “My Bus Lawrence” app from iTunes or the Google Play store.  See http://lawrencetransit.org/mobile-tools for more information.

Taxis in Lawrence

Although there are taxis in Lawrence, they may not be what you are accustomed to at home. You will need to call ahead to get a taxi as it will generally take at least 20 minutes for a taxi to pick you up. If you know you will need a taxi at a certain time, it is best to call several hours or several days in advance to request that a taxi pick you up at the designated time. You can find taxi companies by searching for “taxis” on www.yellowpages.com

Airport Shuttles

There are several companies that offer shuttle service between Lawrence and Kansas City International Airport. These shuttles will be less expensive than taking a taxi to the airport but will need to be booked in advance. Check with ISP staff for information about the shuttle companies we use most often.


UBER service exists in Lawrence and can be another possibility for you to get around Lawrence or get into Kansas City. Please see https://www.uber.com/cities/lawrence for more details.

K-10 Connector

The K-10 Connector is a bus service run by RideKC, the Kansas City transit service. The K-10 Connector bus runs between Lawrence and Johnson County Community College (JCCC) in Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City. The K-10 Connector only costs $3.00 per ride, however, the K-10 Connector is primarily a commuter service and only operates Monday – Friday from about 6 am until 6 pm, with a couple buses Monday – Thursday evenings. Service during the summer is more limited and service during school breaks and holidays is even more limited. See http://ridekc.org/routes/510-k10-connector for a route map, the bus schedule, and more information about the K-10 Connector. The Carlsen Center transit center is located at JCCC, which is the end of the K-10 Connector route. This will allow you to get to other places in Kansas City. See http://ridekc.org/locations/jccc_carlsen_center for information on buses that stop at the Carlsen transit center.

Enterprise Car Share 

Enterprise, a national car rental company, has recently set up a Car Share service on the KU campus. There are three cars on the KU campus which can be rented by anyone over 18 years of age who has a valid driver’s license from any country. You must also have a major credit card in your name to rent the car. Application, membership, and hourly rental fees apply. See www.EnterpriseCarShare.com/ku for more information on the Enterprise Car Share service at KU.



Eating On-Campus

Dining Halls

If you live in Naismith Hall or a KU residence hall, you will be required to have a dining plan. Your dining plan will determine how many meals you can eat in the dining hall each day (Naismith) or how much money you can spend each day (KU Dining). While you are in the dining hall, you may eat as much as you want without paying an additional cost. Each time you enter the dining hall you will swipe your KU or Naismith ID card and another meal or the designated cost for the meal will be taken from your daily/weekly meal count or from the money you have remaining in your KU Dining account.

KU Dining Halls

If you live in a KU residence hall, you will have a meal plan that allows you to eat at one of the following dining halls. For hours of operation, see http://union.ku.edu/ku-dining-locations-and-hours.

  • South Dining Commons located between Oliver and Downs Halls on the south side of campus
  • Mrs. E’s located in Lewis Hall in the Daisy Hill residence area
  • North College Café located in Gertrude-Sellers-Price (GSP) residence hall on the northeast corner of campus.

Naismith Dining Hall

If you live in Naismith Hall you will have a meal plan that allows you to eat at the Rock Chalk Café in Naismith Hall on the south side of campus. For more information go to http://naismithhall.com/.


On-campus Retail Dining

KU students, staff, and visitors may choose to eat in one of the many retail dining locations on campus. At these locations you must pay for each item you want with cash, credit card, Dining Dollars, or Beak’Em Bucks. The items at these locations are not included in your meal plan. For hours of operation, see http://union.ku.edu/ku-dining-locations-and-hours.

The Market Located on the third floor of the Kansas Union, The Market features numerous options: cold and hot sandwiches, burgers and fries, soup and salads, Latin Cuisine, pizza, breakfast items, and a variety of snacks and drinks. See https://union.ku.edu/menus to check out the variety of items available at the Market.

The Underground If you´re in the center of campus, explore The Underground, located on the first floor of Wescoe Hall. The Underground offers multiple options such as soups, salads, sandwiches, samosas, and pizza. To see what is available at the Underground, go to https://union.ku.edu/menus.

Jay Break There are various Jay Break locations around campus. They are great when you need something to eat but don’t have much time.

The Studio Café The Studio Café is located in Hashinger Hall. To see the Studio Café menu, go to https://union.ku.edu/menus. The Studio also includes a convenience store where you can purchase small food items, snacks, and health items. Another feature of the Studio is a small stage for live music and open mic nights.

The Courtside Café Located in the new DeBruce Center at Allen Fieldhouse, the Courtside Café offers breakfast items, BBQ, and a variety of sandwiches and sides. Go to https://union.ku.edu/menus to view the menus available through the Courtside Café.

The Impromptu Café The Impromptu Café is a full service restaurant located on level 3 of the Kansas Union open at lunch time when classes are in session. Your Beak ‘Em Bucks won’t work here so bring cash or a credit card.


Eating Off-campus

If you don’t want to eat on-campus, you have a number of possibilities.

For menus and information about the following restaurants and others, look at: http://lawrence.com/eating_out/



**Most of the following restaurants require a minimum $10.00 (before tax) purchase before they will deliver food and many have a delivery fee too.**

Chinese food               Jade Garden              843-8650             

                                     Peking Taste              749-4788

                                     TryYaki                       842-6688, 842-6683

Pizza Delivery              Domino’s                    841-8002

 Papa John’s               865-5775

Papa Keno’s               841-7272

Pizza Hut                     843-2211 (6th St. location), 843-3000 (23rd St. location)       

                                    Pizza Shuttle               842-1212

                                    Rudy’s                        749-0055

Sub Sandwiches       Jimmy John’s              841-0011 (Mass St. location)

                                  331-2222 (Kasold & 6th)

                                  838-3737 (23rd & Naismith)

                                    Mr. Goodcents            841-8444 (Kasold & 14th)

                                                                      856-2368 (Louisiana & 23rd)

                                     Yello Sub                   843-6000          

Other                      India Palace              331-4300             

                               Jason’s Deli               842-5600                     

International Supermarkets 

If you want to cook for yourself or hope to find familiar snacks, you can find international foods at several locations in Lawrence.

    Au Marché (931Massachusetts, near 9th)  European specialty market, good for cheese and imported foods

Checkers (2300 Louisiana, at 23rd)  Large supermarket with a good variety of produce and cheese not found in many other supermarkets.

    J & V Oriental Market (711 W. 23rd St, Suite 29)  A variety of oriental food.

    Mediterranean Market (3300 15th St. /Bob Billings Pkwy, near Kasold) Imported, freshly prepared Mediterranean food.  

    The Community Mercantile (901 Iowa, at 9th) Organically and locally grown produce and other organic food. 

Lawrence Farmer’s Market

Between April and November, Lawrence has a Farmer’s Market that starts in mid-spring and runs through mid-fall. This is a great way to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables if you will be cooking for yourself or if you want some on hand for snacks. Depending on the vendors, you may also be able to pick up meat, eggs, cheese, herbs, and baked goods among other items.

The Saturday morning Farmer’s Market takes place from 7:30-11:30 am every Saturday from mid-April to mid-November. It is located at 824 New Hampshire St.

There is also a Tuesday Farmer’s Market which runs from the beginning of May until end of October. This takes place in the parking garage of the Lawrence Public Library 725 Vermont St in the late afternoon and early evening.

For more details about the exact dates, times, and locations, see: http://www.lawrencefarmersmarket.org


The Lawrence area has many restaurants offering food from all over the world. Many restaurants are located downtown or on 23rd Street. However, there are many restaurants tucked away in places you would not expect. Ask other people for recommendations, go out and explore, or search online at http://www.lawrence.com/restaurants/search/.

Restaurant prices vary greatly. If you are unsure of whether you would like to dine in a restaurant, feel free to walk in the restaurant and ask the hostess if you can see a menu. This will allow you to make a better decision about whether you would like to eat there or not.


Coffeehouses have coffee, tea, juice, and soda.  KU students like to study or relax at these places. Here are some of the coffeehouses located in downtown Lawrence.

Alchemy Coffee and Bake House (816 Mass, between 8th and 9th)

Bourgeois Pig (6 E. 9th St., near New Hampshire)

Henry’s (11 E. 8th St., at New Hampshire)

House of Cha (21 W. 9th St., at Vermont) – this place serves bubble tea

Java Break (17 E. 7th, at New Hampshire)

La Prima Tazza (638 Mass, between 6th and 7th)

Signs of Life (722 Mass, between 7th and 8th)

Starbucks (647 Mass, between 6th and 7th)



Life in Lawrence


Adapting to Life in the U.S.