Pre-arrival and arrival information
The English Language Institute provides pick-up service for new students when they arrive in Tuscaloosa or at the Birmingham Airport on official arrival days (the 2 days before the beginning of the session). If you plan to use ELI’s pick-up service, you must notify the ELI office of your arrival plans at least one week before your departure date. A Transportation Request Form is included in your arrival information. You should complete this form and send it to the ELI office by fax or email. You should be sure that you receive confirmation from the ELI office that your information has been received.
If problems occur while traveling and your arrival time changes, please call the ELI office at (205) 348-7413 as soon as possible. If the office is closed, call the ELI cell phone at (205) 454-8066. A card with the ELI phone and fax numbers is enclosed with your arrival information; please keep this card with you as you travel.
Airport arrival in Birmingham
Most students choose to arrive in Alabama through the Birmingham Airport (BHM), which is the closest airport to Tuscaloosa and The University of Alabama (one hour by car). There are three types of pick-up services from the Birmingham Airport:
ELI PICK-UP SERVICE (official arrival days only–see purple sheet sent with arrival information for dates)
Times: 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on each official arrival day
Cost: $30 per person
Meeting Place: Baggage claim area (1st floor of the airport)
You will be taken to the Super 8 Motel in Tuscaloosa or, if possible, to your assigned residence hall (students must have applied for and received a housing assignment and arrive in Tuscaloosa before 7:00 p.m.).
“BIRMINGHAM DOOR-TO-DOOR” SHUTTLE SERVICE
Birmingham Door-to-Door operates a shuttle service from the Birmingham Airport to Tuscaloosa. Students who do not arrive on the official ELI arrival days can use this service. Reservations are required and can be made at www.birminghamdoortodoor.com. The shuttle (van) is located just outside the baggage claim area of the Birmingham Airport, and it is very easy to find. The words “Shuttle Service” are clearly written on the side of the van. The service is available Monday – Sunday and all fees must be paid in full by cash or credit card. Travel from the Birmingham Airport to Tuscaloosa (any location) or from Tuscaloosa (any location) to the Birmingham Airport is $80 (plus tip). Important: If you make a reservation and your travel plans change, you should notify Birmingham Door-to-Door as soon as possible (telephone 888-349-1544 or 205-591-5550). You can make reservations starting at 4 A.M., up until 10 P.M.
TAXI SERVICE FROM BIRMINGHAM TO TUSCALOOSA
Although it is more expensive than the shuttle service, taxi service is also available from the Birmingham Airport to Tuscaloosa. The cost is approximately $100-120 (plus tip). Taxis are normally waiting outside the baggage claim area of the airport. You should ask the driver for the price and agree to the price before you get in the taxi.
If you need to stay in Birmingham overnight, you may wish to stay at one of the following motels which are located near the airport. All of these motels provide free transportation to and from the Birmingham Airport. There are free courtesy telephones located near the baggage claim area so that you can call the motel to ask for the free shuttle service.
Holiday Inn Airport/Birmingham
5000 10th Avenue, North
Birmingham, Alabama 35212
Phone: (205) 591-6900
Cost: Approximately $100
Birmingham, Alabama 35212
Phone: (205) 591-7900
Cost: Approximately $100
ELI pick-up service for arrival in Tuscaloosa
If you plan to arrive in Tuscaloosa by bus or train on one of the official arrival days, the ELI will pick you up at the bus or train station and take you to the Super 8 Motel (see information below). There is no charge for this service. If you arrive in Tuscaloosa on a different day, however, ELI pick-up service is not available. If you arrive during office hours, you should contact the ELI office to determine where you should go. If the ELI office is closed, you should take a taxi (see below) to the Super 8 Motel on McFarland Blvd.
Super 8 motel in Tuscaloosa
Some ELI students stay at the Super 8 motel for 1 or 2 nights when they first arrive in Tuscaloosa. If you stay at the Super 8, an ELI representative will meet you in the motel lobby at 7:45 AM on the first day of the session to take you to the ELI. After you arrive on campus, you will take the ELI Placement Exam that morning. In the afternoon we will assist you with on-campus housing and take you shopping.
Super 8 Motel (located near McFarland Mall)
4125 McFarland Boulevard East
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35405
Cost: approximately $40 per night (plus tax)
Taxi service in Tuscaloosa
If you need transportation in Tuscaloosa when the ELI pick-up service is not available, you may contact the taxi service listed below. The approximate cost from Super 8 Motel to the UA campus is $10 (plus tip).
Alpha & Omega Taxi Service – phone: (205) 242-8936
Everett’s Cab Company – phone: (205) 233-1777
Lee’s Taxi – phone: (205) 886-2923
Radio Cab Service – phone: (205) 758 – 2831
ELI departure service
The ELI provides transportation to the Birmingham airport on the day immediately following the end of each session. The van normally leaves from the University of Alabama campus at 8:00 am and arrives at the Birmingham airport no later than 9:30 am. The cost for this service is $25; you must register and pay for this service in the ELI office.
Please contact us if you have any questions. We hope you have a pleasant trip to Alabama, and we look forward to having you as a student at the English Language Institute!
The English Language Institute
The University of Alabama
Box 870250 / 101 BB Comer
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0250
Telephone: (205) 348-7413
Fax: (205) 348-9266
Cell: (205) 454-8066
General information – Living and Studying at The University of Alabama
Students at the English Language Institute are eligible to live in the same on-campus housing that is available to all students at UA. Information and applications for UA housing can be found here. We strongly recommend that you complete the housing application before you arrive, although you may still live in on-campus housing if you do not apply before arriving at UA.
One important thing to remember is that the housing application is also a contract. Dormitory contracts cover the time a student is enrolled from the beginning of the Fall 1 session through the end of the Spring 2 session. This means that students who sign the contract agree to live in the dormitory until the end of the Spring 2 session unless they are no longer enrolled as a student.
Payment/contract information for students who begin:
- Fall 1: Students sign the contract to begin in the middle of August and end around the first week of May. Students who plan to study both Fall 1 and Fall 2 will need to pay for the full semester (both sessions) of housing with their Fall 1 tuition payment.
- Fall 2: Students sign the contract to begin in the middle of October and end around the first week of May.
- Spring 1: Students sign the contract to begin around the first week of January and end around the first week of May. Students who plan to study both Spring 1 and Spring 2 will need to pay for the full semester (both sessions) of housing with their Spring 1 tuition payment.
- Spring 2: Students sign the contract for the Spring 2 session only. A new contract applies beginning with the Summer 1 session.
- Summer 1 and Summer 2: Students sign a contract for the Summer semesters only and pay their housing charges one session at a time.
NOTE: Students are released from the contract if they are no longer enrolled at the ELI or UA.
All students are required to pay $300 when they complete the online application (link) for on-campus housing. The $300 payment can be paid by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or Discover).
Payment of Tuition and fees
All tuition and fees must be paid on the second day of the session. Please plan to pay by money order, travelers checks, personal check, or credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover). Students can pay by bank wire before they arrive in the U.S. Bank wire payments must be received prior to the first day of the session. Please contact the ELI office for information on how and where to send bank wires. Bank wire payments should include required fees only, they should not include personal funds.
The University of Alabama requires all new students to have had 2 doses of a measles containing vaccine (Rubeola, MR, MMR) and a Menengitis immunization. If you are bringing an immunization record from your home country, documentation of the following vaccinations is required:
MMR = Measles, Mumps & Rubela
See the Capstone International Center’s Required Immunizations page for more details.
After you arrive, you will submit your immunization record to the Student Health Center for approval. If your immunization records do not indicate that these requirements have been met, you must be vaccinated upon your arrival to The University of Alabama. This immunization is available on campus at the Student Health Center. See the UA website for more information.
Tuberculosis Screening: All new students admitted to UA must be screened for tuberculosis (TB). Please note that in the case of TB testing, only U.S. test results are valid. This testing can be provided upon your arrival on campus at the Russell Student Health Center. International students will have a PPD skin test unless they have had a positive PPD skin test. In that case, a chest x-ray is required.
Note: You will be responsible for all immunization costs. Insurance normally does not cover these charges.
The University of Alabama requires that students have medical and hospitalization insurance. Students who do not have evidence of sufficient health insurance for the United States must purchase this insurance at registration.
An envelope labeled “IMPORTANT: Medical Insurance Information” is included with your admission packet. Please read this information carefully. If you want to be covered by your own insurance company, you must have the insurance company complete and fax the waiver form (pdf) to ELI prior to the beginning of the session.
Insurance and Medical Care: Click here for an overview of the US healthcare system for international students.
What to bring
Money: In addition to the funds you bring with you for your required expenses, we suggest that you have access to at least $300 more to cover the cost of one or two nights in a hotel (approximately $40 per night) and other personal items that you may need.
We advise students to get a check card or debit card that can be used at ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) in the U.S. This will give you easy access to your funds without having to bring large amounts of cash with you. If you choose to open a bank account after you arrive in Tuscaloosa, your family will be able to transfer money directly to your account by bank wire.
Personal Items: The items listed below are not included with campus housing. You should plan to bring them with you or buy them in Tuscaloosa after you arrive. You will have an opportunity to go shopping during the check-in process:
- pillow and pillowcase
- sheets for a twin (single) bed
- soap and shampoo
- towels and wash cloths
- alarm clock
Clothing: Tuscaloosa has a warm, temperate climate. The list below shows average temperature ranges in Celsius:
- Summer (June-August): 20° – 38°
- Fall (September-November): 10° – 30°
- Winter (December-February): 0° – 20°
- Spring (March-May): 5° – 27°
Cool, lightweight clothing is needed for summer, although when you are inside you may need a sweater because almost all buildings use air-conditioning. Sweaters and jackets are occasionally needed in the fall and spring, and a heavy coat will be necessary in the winter. Student clothing is casual; it is common for both men and women to wear blue jeans to class.
Other: You may want to bring some small items with you that are typical from your country. For example, typical clothing, some photographs or postcards, a map, and other materials or souvenirs that you could show to U.S. citizens to help them understand more about your country. Sometimes ELI students are given the opportunity to speak with elementary, high school, and university students about their countries and these items would help you to be prepared.
The University of Alabama observes several holidays when classes do not meet. Please see the purple form included with your admission papers. This form has the schedule for the first few days of the session on one side and session dates (including holidays) on the other side.
Campus housing will be available during holidays at no extra cost, although students must register with the Housing Office and may have to move to a different residence hall.
Campus meal plans are available through Bama Dining. You may choose to purchase a meal plan or simply pay for your meals on a daily basis. Be aware of the terms of any meal plan that you may consider purchasing. You may also choose to prepare some or all of your own meals. If you live on campus, your access to kitchen facilities will be determined by your housing assignment. A supermarket is located near campus (walking distance) and UA offers weekly shuttle service to a local shopping center.
You will need to establish a local mailing address (post office box or residence address) after you arrive. There is a branch of the U.S. Postal Service located in the student center on campus.