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Pre-Arrival Info for ALCI Students

Now that you have your F-1 student visa, it is time to prepare for your life in San Marcos. The following information will help you get ready for life as an ALCI student. Download a copy of our Pre-Arrival Packet for new students. Contact the ALCI if you have questions.


You must make your housing plans before you arrive in San Marcos. There are several good housing choices for ALCI students. View the Housing page on our website for more details. Students who do not make housing plans before arriving in San Marcos may have to live in a hotel until they can find local housing. The ALCI does not have temporary housing nor can we reserve housing for students. You may not live with family or friends in Los Angeles. San Marcos is too far away from Los Angeles (about 100 miles/160 km). 

Airport Information

Make your travel plans early.  San Marcos is about 37 miles (60 km) north of the San Diego International Airport (SAN) and 100 miles (160 km) south of the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). We strongly recommend that you arrive at the San Diego International Airport. If you have to change planes in the U.S., you must allow at least three hours to go through immigration and find your connecting flight. 

Transportation from the Airport

You must make your own travel arrangements from the airport to San Marcos.  We recommend that you arrive at the San Diego International Airport. If you arrive in San Diego, and you are living in homestay, then you may reserve airport transportation with the homestay company. You may also reserve an airport shuttle from Los Angeles International Airport, but this can cost about $200 and can take 2 hours to get to San Marcos. Flights from Los Angeles to San Diego cost between $50 - $150.  You must reserve a shuttle or arrange your transportation before you leave your home country. The ALCI does not provide airport transportation.

The websites for companies that provide transportation from the San Diego (SAN) airport are:

Medical Requirements

You must provide proof of shots (immunizations) against measles (rubeola), rubella, Hepatitis B and COVID-19 vaccines. You must also provide documentation of a negative tuberculosis skin test. All students must have health insurance that meets ALCI requirements.

Money and Expenses

You must bring enough money to pay for your ALCI tuition, homestay or housing fees, health insurance, books, and personal expenses. Most businesses will accept Visa or MasterCard credit cards. However, you should arrive with enough cash to pay for food, transportation, and other expenses during your first days in San Marcos.

ALCI Office Location

The ALCI office is located on the California State University San Marcos campus in the Extended Learning Building, 5th Floor, Suite 588. Download a campus map.