General Information for Participants

2016 U.S. Department of State Institute on Contemporary American Literature

General Information

Arrival in the U.S.

Please see the “Fact Sheet” on “Arriving at a U.S. Port of Entry . . . What an Exchange Visitor Can Expect.”You can find this fact sheet in the packet we are sending you, or on the worldwide web here.

Arrival in Louisville

You will be met at the airport as indicated in the enclosed official letter of greeting.If for any reason we cannot find you, first call the telephone numbers he has given you.If all else fails, take a taxi cab to the University of Louisville (Kurz Hall), 1900 South Fourth Street.The telephone number of the dormitory front desk is (502) 854-9011.

Phone Call Instructions

If you need to make a telephone call to the staff from your point of entry (for instance, to inform us of any delays or changes in your itinerary), you may wish to contact someone from your airline, explain that you are a foreign visitor, and ask for help in making the call.Any international airport in the US will have a bank for the exchange of currency if you need to make a call from a pay phone.The best number to call to reach the Institute staff are 502-681-8605 (Tracy Heightchew's cell phone). 

To make a local call from Louisville International Airport to the Institute staff, you may go to the Information Desk and ask the staff to place a call for you, or you may use a pay phone.Pay phone calls are $.50 (one-half dollar) if you choose not to call from the Information Desk.If you need to exchange currency, Fifth Third Bank’s branch office inside the airport is open Monday-Friday, 8:00-18:00, Saturday 9:00-13:00, and Sunday 11:00-16:00.

Weather in Louisville

For information on Louisville’s current weather, click here.

Weather in Louisville, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.  in the summer is likely to vary between warm and pleasant and hot and humid.However, weather in the San Francisco Bay area is likely to be significantly cooler, especially in the evening. You may want both a sweater and a jacket (or equivalent) in San Francisco.

The classroom where most of the Institute business will take place can get quite cool.Be sure to bring a light sweater to put on in case you feel too cold.

Packing Information

We highly recommend the following:

1)Please carry all medicines or other necessary personal items, and all official papers, with you on the plane.Do not pack these items in your checked baggage.If you take prescription drugs, bring enough of your medicine with you to last for your entire time away from home.Transport prescription drugs in their original packaging or in prescription bottles labeled by your doctor or pharmacy.Also bring with you copies, in English, of your prescriptions, so that any lost medications can be replaced.

2)In case your luggage is delayed en route, please carry with you one or two days’ change of clothing, including something formal or dressy enough to wear to the welcome dinner.

3)Pack light—you do not need heavy winter clothing.However, you will need some cool weather clothing for San Francisco—we recommend a sweater and a jacket, or something equivalent.

4)If possible, bring luggage on wheels.

5)Bring a backpack and/or a small suitcase so that you will not have to take a very large suitcase on the study tours.

6)Bring an umbrella.

7)If you bring a laptop computer, make sure that you bring an AC adapter (110-120 volts), as well as a plug adapter for North America.The U.S. does not use DC electricity or the 220 voltage range used by most countries.

8)Bring an extra pair of glasses.

9) There will be opportunities to swim, bring a swimsuit if you enjoy swimming.

10)If you have a credit card that can be used in the U.S., you will probably want to bring it.If you do not have a credit card, we recommend that you consider getting a reloadable prepaid card.If it is not available in your country, you may be able to get one after you get to Louisville.For more information, visit and review information on the Visa Reloadable Prepaid card or the Visa TravelMoney card.

Useful Web Sites


Housing Information

During the Summer Institute, you will be staying at Kurz Hall.You will have a large bedroom to yourself.There will be two beds and two desks in the room, because these rooms are usually occupied by two people; however, you will not have a roommate.Also, each room has its own sink with running water.There is a bathroom with a shower and a toilet for every two rooms.You can prepare meals and store food in the dormitory’s kitchen, although some group meals will be arranged.Should you choose to bring a laptop computer, your dorm room will have internet access.When you first connect to the Internet in the on-campus Residence Halls, the Cisco Clean Agent Access Client will guide you through the steps necessary to ensure that your machine is properly protected.This service will reduce the risk of infections, loss of data, and costly computer repairs.You will need your UofL ULink user ID and password to log on.Note: you will not have to go through this process when logging onto the computers in the lab.If you do not bring a laptop there will be computers with internet access in the dorm as well as in other areas on campus.

Passport, I-94, and DS-2019

The I-94 form is given to you to complete on the plane, and you must present it to a customs official upon arrival in the U.S.It is very important that the name given on this form accurately matches your name on your passport and DS-2019 (the State Department document used for the issuance of your J-1 visa).Your name must appear the same on all three of these documents.Please make sure that the Institute Staff has your full name as it appears on your passport.Be sure to keep all ID’s and records together in an envelope, and carry the envelope with you at all times.Also, we strongly suggest that you leave a photocopy of the picture page of your passport with a family member or close contact, in case of emergency.

Insurance Information

Your insurance is effective from June 10-July 23.We recommend you purchase extra insurance if you intend on lengthening your stay in the U.S.

Individual Research Projects

You are encouraged to have a particular individual project in mind during the Institute.However, the planned academic program is intense; do not be surprised (or dismayed) if you find that your time for concentrated work on your individual project is quite limited.

Receiving Mail

We recommend that you have your mail sent to you at the following address:

International Center

University of Louisville

Louisville, KYUSA40292


It is necessary that you obey all laws and regulations regarding smoking!Fines for violations of smoking rules can be very expensive, and if you incur such a fine, or if the Institute incurs such a fine because of you, you will have to pay the fine in full.  Smoking is not permitted in Kurz Hall.


Please be punctual for all group activities!Often, if you individually are late, you may delay the entire group, wasting the time of 20 people, and also throwing off the schedule of activities.


During the Summer Institute, you will be unable to travel anywhere outside the U.S.; it is highly unlikely that you would be re-admitted to the U.S. (even from Canada or Mexico)if you were to leave the country.

Friends or relatives may visit you during free time, but cannot participate in required Institute activities.