Pure Michigan

Life in Flint

Flint started with humble beginnings in 1819 as a trading post and later became known as a “carriage” town which soon grew into the birthplace of the automobile. Wherever you look in the downtown Flint area, you’ll be reminded of the leaders who built the automotive industry including Charles Stewart Mott, Alfred P. Sloan, William C. Durant, J. Dallas Dort and others. From historical homes to museums to art collections and estates, you’ll learn how these influential leaders shaped our community.

The arts are alive in downtown Flint! The Flint Cultural Center (FCC) is home to a group of nationally-recognized cultural institutions aimed at furthering the arts, sciences and humanities and anchors the downtown area. In addition, downtown Flint weaves together the talents and inspiration of local and international artists, visual and performing arts, museums, art galleries and theatre. As a student at UM-Flint, you are less than 10 minutes away from the FCC and a variety of shops, restaurants, and an efficient public transportation system.

The Crim Festival of Races brings racing enthusiasts from all over the world “to the bricks” in downtown Flint every August. In addition, the downtown area provides a scenic riverfront trail from Riverbank Park through the University of Michigan-Flint campus past the Flint Farmers’ Market to Kearsley Park and the Flint Cultural Center. Organized biking and walking events bring residents to downtown Flint as well as the social and sporting events held at Kearsley Park, one of the city’s oldest parks.

Important Information

Time Zones in the U.S.

The U.S has four different time zones: Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific. There is a one hour difference between the time zones.  For instance, if it is 12 noon in New York, NY, then it is 11 a.m. in Chicago, IL, 10 a.m. in Denver, CO and 9 a.m. in Los Angeles.  Flint, Michigan is in the Eastern Standard Time zone.

Weather and Clothing in Michigan

Michigan’s weather and climate changes with the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn/fall, and winter.  In spring, the temperature is normally quite pleasant with many warm days; however the months of March and April can be quite cool and may snow occasionally.  In June, July, and August the temperatures can be really hot, with temperature reaching 100°F (38°C) and it is also normal to have a high degree of humidity.

The fall begins slowly in October when the leaves are changing colors and the weather is cooling down a bit; however, there are still plenty of opportunities for some very pleasant and hot days at this time.  The winter months are December through February, and can be quite cold and snowy, so thick and heavy clothes are recommended if outdoor activities are on your agenda.

Temperature Conversion

To convert Fahrenheit to Celsius do the following:
Subtract 32°F from the temperature
Multiply by 5
Divide by 9

So, 100°F would convert to
(100-32)=68
68*5=340
340/9=37.8°C

Cultural Adjustment

Experts believe that cultural adjustment often occurs in three stages

  1. The Honeymoon Stage
    Excitement about being in the new country
  2. The Uncomfortable Stage
    Frustration, confusion, and negative feelings about the new culture, homesickness, illness.  This stage is often called culture shock
  3. Adjustment Stage
    Understanding many aspects of the new culture, making friends, and discovering helpful people at the University; ability to keep core values of the home country but operate within the values of the new country

Coping with the Adjustment Process

Understand that it is normal for anyone in a new country to experience some challenges when adjusting to the new culture.

  • Learn and experience the new culture
  • Meet people and make new friends, both from your culture and from other cultures, including Americans who will be able to help you better understand American culture.  Meet Americans by talking to them in the classroom or workplace or by joining clubs and organizations.  Find trusted Americans to talk to about cultural questions
  • Respect differences and similarities
  • Maintain contact with family and friends back home.  Phone or write home, watch a video from your home country, eat in a restaurant that services food from your native country
  • Take care of yourself physically: get plenty of rest, exercise, and eat well
  • Get involved in an activity or with a group that you find interesting.
  • Work towards feeling comfortable in the new culture
  • Work on enhancing English skills, especially your conversational skills.
  • Enjoy nature.  Walk around campus.  Occasionally eat lunch outside in the courtyards

The International Center is here to help students with the adjustment process into U.S. culture and lifestyle. If you need additional help, please contact the International Center at 810-762-0867.  All information that you give us will be kept confidential.

  • Tips on cultural adjustment from other international students:
  • Do not stay alone in your room every night.
  • Go out with a friend to see the city or shop.
  • Get involved with nationality clubs or other organizations on campus.
  • Laugh at yourself if you make a mistake.
  • Do not be afraid to try new words or practice your English skills.

Health Care

International students and scholars are automatically enrolled in the UM-Flint International Student/Scholar Health Insurance Plan. However, if you have waived your UM-Flint sponsored health insurance plan, the type of medical/health services you seek depends greatly on your health insurance policy. Please make sure to read through your health insurance policy carefully and know what your plan covers and does not cover. For international students and scholars who are enrolled in the UM-Flint International Health Insurance Plan (Aetna Student Health) please visit our Health Insurance Section for more information.

Nearby Hospitals

Hurley Regional Medical Center
One Hurley Plaza
Flint, MI 48503
810-257-9000
McLaren Regional Medical Center
G-3235 Beecher Rd. Suite B
Flint, MI 48532
810-342-1100
Genesys Regional Medical Center
One Genesys Parkway
Grand Blanc, MI 48439
810-606-5000

Health Emergencies

Calling an Ambulance

For emergencies that require an ambulance, dial 911

Emergency Room Visits

For emergencies in which you are able to drive to the hospital, you can also visit emergency rooms of the hospitals listed above.  The emergency area of the hospital is clearly marked

Mental Health Emergencies

If you have psychiatric emergency please go to the emergency room of the hospitals listed above

Poison

If you have a poisoning emergency, call 800-222-1222 (available 24 hours).  If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call 911.  The Poison Control Center urges all households to have syrup of ipecac on hand.

Care Providers

Urgent Care

These facilities provide walk-in treatment for non-life-threatening illness and non-traumatic injuries.  Go to the nearest emergency room or call 911 in any life-threatening situation.

Primary Care

Please contact your health insurance provider to ensure you are visiting a doctor approved under your plan.

Family Planning and Sexual Health

Your primary care provider can provide you with information birth control and testing/counseling for pregnancy, HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy termination.

Dental Care

Refer to the Dental Care section for detailed information on dental care resources

Vision Care

There are many private optometrists available throughout Flint area, but before you make an appointment with one, you should make sure you have vision coverage as a part of your health insurance coverage. Your insurance provider will be able to refer you to an optometrist or eye clinic that accepts your insurance.

For a complete list of area eye care professionals, please consult the Yellow Pages.

Telephones

Getting a Telephone

You will need to buy your own telephone when living off-campus. Inexpensive home phones are available at local stores such as Meijer, Target or Best Buy.

Getting a Local Telephone Service

Most people order local service through Comcast, but other companies also offer local phone service. To order local telephone service call a telephone company that provides local service to the Flint area. It is a good idea to review each company’s web site, which usually offer details regarding their service plans (different services offered for a certain price per month). This may help you decide which service you would like and may help when you call the company.

Local Service Providers

Comcast 800.266.2278
Verizon 800.483.4000

Long Distance Service

Long distance service can be arranged through SBC or separately. If you are going to call home often, you will want to choose the company with the best rates for calls to your home country. You might ask students from your home country for their opinions as to which company provides the best service.

Establishing Service

To establish long distance service, call the desired company directly after you have arranged for your local phone service. Verify that the carrier provides service to your home country or town. Sample carriers are:

Comcast 800.266.2278
Verizon 800.483.4000

Typically, long distance carriers offer different calling plans (i.e. plans that offer discount calling rates to certain countries during certain hours of the day or on weekends). There is usually a monthly fee for a calling plan. International calling plans to any country are also available.

Once you have called a carrier and chosen a plan, ask the long distance carrier to send you a written confirmation of the calling plan you have requested, which will describe the long distance rates you will pay. Keep the confirmation for your records. You can change your long distance carrier or cancel your calling plan at any time, for any reason.

Calling Cards

Calling cards are free when you sign up for service. The phone company provides you with a number that allows you to make calls from any telephone and will bill the call to your home telephone account. Please remember that calling card rates are higher than other services and/or pre-paid cards.

Pre-paid Cards

If you need to call home before your phone services are set up, or if you want to call internationally from other phones you can purchase a pre-paid international phone card. Gas stations and shopping centers such as Meijer and Wal-Mart sell phone cards. If you have a credit card you can also purchase calling cards on the internet, from web sites such as:

http://www.callingcardplus.com
http://www.comfi.com

Cell Phone

Some students choose to have a cell phone instead of, or in addition to, their home telephone. There are two types of cell phones, those with pre-paid minutes and those which require you to sign a contract. Contracts provide you with a certain amount of minutes per month for a specific cost. If you plan to stay in the United States for an extended period of time (at least a year) it may be cheaper to sign a contract.

Pre-Paid Phones

Pre-paid phones can be purchased from places such as:

  • Best Buy
  • Target
  • Most major cell phone carriers (such as Sprint, Verizon, AT&T)

General Information and other Telephone Services
International Long Distance Calls

To call another country, you must know that country's international access code. The code can be found in the International Calling section of the SBC phone book, or by calling your long distance carrier. Usually you have to dial 011 before the international access code, but refer to the phone book for exact details.

Dial-Around Services

These are services that require you to dial a special phone number for discount rates for your phone calls. You dial this number first to access the service, and then you dial the number you are calling. You can check web sites, such as http://1010phonerates.com/intl.html for more information, or ask other students for their opinions.

Information on the Web

For detailed information and resources about various long distance services, dial-around, answering machines, wireless telephone plans as well as cellular telephone plans, you can visit http://abtolls.com. Examples of web sites which offer competitive telephone services include:

http://www.zaptel.com
http://www.trac.org
http://www.workingassets.com (Donates portions of its revenue to non-profit groups)

Banking

Banks in Flint

Visit the International Center to receive a letter that is need to open a bank account at JP Morgan Chase.  Allow at least one day for the letter to be prepared. Click here to a list other local banks.

Banking Terms and Explanations

  • Automated Teller Machine (ATM)
    You can complete many transactions at an ATM, including cash withdrawals, deposits, and transfers between checking and savings accounts.  You can also view your account balance.  This is free at your own bank and its branches, but you may be charged a transaction fee when you use a different bank's ATM. You will need an ATM card or debit card to use the ATM machine.
  • ATM Safety Tips
    ATMs are conveniently located all around Flint and on the U-M Campus.  They are convenient, but you must be cautious when using one.  Thefts do occur, usually at night and in poorly lit areas.  You can protect yourself and your property by following these easy tips:
    • Stand directly in front of the ATM, so no one can see you enter your personal identification number (PIN)
    • Do not keep your PIN in your wallet or with your ATM Card.
  • Credit Card
    A credit card allows you to charge items without having to pay the costs immediately.  A monthly statement will show the charges made on the card and the amount you have to pay the credit card company.  If the full amount is not paid by the due date, fees and a high interest rate might apply
  • Credit Unions
    Credit Unions are different from banks because they may have lower fees and higher interest rates for checking and savings accounts.  They may also offer car loans and credit cards with lower interest rates than other banks.
  • Debit Card (also called a Check Card)
    A debit card is connected to your checking account and is used almost like a regular credit card (such as MasterCard or Visa), except that the charges made are deducted from your checking account immediately upon purchase.  Your debit card can also be used in the ATM machine.  There is no charge for the service, but there may be a limit on the number of transactions per month.  Check with your bank.
  • Direct Deposit
    Direct Deposit can be used to have your salary deposited into your bank account by your employer.  There is no charge but there may be a limit on the number of free direct deposit transactions per month.
  • Minimum Opening Deposit
    This is the amount needed to open a bank account.  You might have to pay a monthly charge if the balance drops below a certain level during the month.
  • Online Banking and Bill Paying
    Online banking allows you to visit a secure website and check your bank balance, transfer funds, et. Most banks offer online banking free of charge if you have a checking account with them.  Ask your bank about any charges for services.
  • PIN
    Personal Identification Number is needed for use at ATM machines and Visa Check services to verify your account
  • Statement of Account
    Every month you will receive a statement of account for your checking and/or savings account in the mail.  It reflects all activity in your account(s) and gives your current account balance.
  • Traveler's Checks
    Banks will cash your traveler's checks only if you are a member of their bank.  however, some banks will cash traveler's checks to non-members if they have a private agreement with the check company.