Welcome to the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions! We hope this information will help you navigate through life in the United States. You can use the sidebar to locate a specific topic..^ TOP
Upon your Arrival...
1. Check in with your department and academic advisor:
They will have your paperwork, including health insurance information,
Hopkins rules & regulations, identification (ID) badge procedures
and forms, and any other items necessary for you to begin your work. If
your department does NOT have this information, you must go to the
Registrar's office in your school (i.e. Nursing, Medicine, Public
2. Check in with the JHMI International Student, Faculty & Staff Services (OIS): The staff of OIS will handle your visa needs and matters related to immigration throughout your stay at Hopkins. The office is located on the 1st floor of Reed Hall. The phone number is (410) 955-3371 and their website can be found at http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/intlsvcs/.
3. Visit the Johns Hopkins International Society: The International Society can help answer questions about housing, transportation, schooling for children, cultural opportunities, social activities, and life in Baltimore and the U.S. Activities include a welcome reception and orientation programs, programs for spouses, discussion groups, cultural awareness programs, social gatherings, tours, international dinners and holiday celebrations. For interested individuals, referrals are made to English language classes and other ESL resources in the Baltimore area. JHIS publishes a bi-monthly newsletter to keep members informed about upcoming programs and activities at Hopkins and in the Baltimore area, as well as information regarding immigration issues from the Office of International Services (available online at http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/intlsvcs/jhis/). The International Society office is located in Reed Hall, Room 1126. The JHIS Coordinator, Dacia Gauer, can be reached at (410) 955-3371 or email@example.com.
4. Visit the JHMI Office of Student and Housestaff Services: This office offers many services, such as providing information about on- and off-campus housing, and coordinating social activities for students and housestaff. This office is located on the 1st floor of Reed Hall. For more information, call 410-955-6378.
When choosing a bank in the US, there are several things to consider:
o Bank Locations and ATM services (those listed below are mostaccessible to Hopkins)
o International Services (for wiring money)
o Banking fees (check cashing, ATM fees, other services)
o Customer services
of America is located across the street from the Johns Hopkins Hospital
at 1800 East Monument Street. They have branches throughout the city
and the United States. For Hopkins employees only they offer a no fee checking account if you use
direct deposit (meaning your paycheck is automatically deposited into this bank account). They will cash payroll checks with proper identification.
http://www.bankofamerica.com (410) 675-6262
Bank is located at 2008 East Monument Street. They have several options
for Hopkins affiliates and will set up a checking account with
identification (i.e. your passport). They can set up your account
before you get your social security number.
http://www.wachovia.com (410) 342-1054
Hopkins Federal Credit Union offers special services for qualified
Hopkins employees/affiliates. (Not all internationals will be eligible
to belong to the Credit Union, however.) They have special rates for
home financing, new and used automobile loans, as well as other
services. They are located at 2006 East Monument Street.
http://www.jhfcu.org (410) 955-6116
is an international banking facility, with branches all over the world.
They have a branch here in Baltimore with a multi-lingual staff. They
are located at 6 Saint Paul Street near the Inner Harbor.
http://www.citibank.com 1 (800) 926-1067
Gas and Electric Service
Gas and Electric Company is the power company for Baltimore residents.
To arrange to have service connected, or for inquiries about billing,
contact them directly. A security deposit, refundable, may be required
to initiate service.
http://www.bge.com (410) 685-0123 or 1 (800) 685-0123
Generally, only those who own property need to pay for the water. However, many apartment complexes have started requiring tenants to pay for their own water. Talk to your landlord. Should you need to contact your local Department of Public Works, please call The Johns Hopkins International Society at 410.955.3370 or refer to the Yellow Pages - see the section for your county or city government offices.^ TOP
Telephone Service and Area Codes
AREA CODES: Common Maryland area codes are 410, 443, 301, & 240. You must dial the area code followed by the 7-digit telephone number in order to make a call. All ten digits must be dialed (i.e. 410-955-3370). For long distance telephone calls, you must dial "1" followed by the area code and phone number (i.e. 202-555-9999).
TELEPHONE SERVICES: When preparing to have your phone service installed, expect to spend some time on the phone. Generally, there are numerous questions you must answer while speaking to a representative. Try to be patient. If you have trouble understanding the representative, you may patient. If you have trouble understanding the representative, you may wish to ask if there are any available employees who speak your native language. For those who speak Spanish, there is a special number listed below which handles the needs of the Spanish-speaking customer.
- Local Telephone Service (Verizon Telephone Company)
Telephone Installation (410.954.6230 or 410.954.6250 for Spanish)
- Directory Assistance
Inside area code (411) There is a fee for this service, usually about $10.
Outside area code (1.area code.555.1212. For example: New York City = 1.212.555.1212) For free directory assistance for business numbers call Google's Directory Assistance, 1-800-goog411
Directory Assistance for Toll Free numbers (1.800.555.1212)
- Long Distance Telephone Service
U.S. Postal Services
Johns Hopkins University and The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
have post offices on both campuses. The post office at The Johns
Hopkins University Homewood campus is located in the basement of Gilman
Hall. The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions has two post offices. One
is located on the 1st floor of the Hampton House Building, and the
other is located in the basement of the Bloomberg School of Public
Baltimore's main post office is located at 900 East Fayette Street, which is close to JHMI. For general information, call 410.347.4430.
Hours are generally 8 am - 4 pm Monday - Friday and 8 am - 12 noon on Saturdays. They are closed on Sundays and all federal holidays.
For more information, visit http://www.usps.com
Bookstores at Hopkins
The Johns Hopkins University and The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
have bookstores. Barnes & Noble, a national bookstore chain, runs
the bookstore at the University. This store has excellent Hopkins items
and a nice selection of books, cards, school supplies and snacks. The
bookstore is located at 3300 Saint Paul St. Their telephone
number is 410.662.5850.
The Johns Hopkins Medical Book Center, located at 1830 East Monument Street, 1st floor, sells a variety of medical and public health texts and other Hopkins items. They also sell phone cards and interesting gift items for young, budding scientists. Their telephone number is 410.955.3931.
For more information, visit http://student.med.jhmi.edu/content/bookstores.html.
If you or your family members ever experience an emergency and are in need of an ambulance, the fire department, or the police department, please call 911 immediately. Be prepared to provide the 911 operator with your specific location or address. Speak slowly and clearly so the operator will be able to direct help to you quickly.^ TOP
Health Services and Insurance
are available to those with the appropriate health insurance coverage.
Please call The Johns Hopkins University Health Service (UHS) at
It is mandatory that all students, fellows, their spouses and any dependent children purchase health insurance, available through the School of Medicine or the School of Hygiene and Public Health. Individuals can provide proof of equivalent insurance coverage. Please note that insurance based outside the U.S. is generally not accepted.The International Society has information about insurance companies that provide health coverage. If you have a question about your health insurance, please contact your benefits coordinator.
Housing Needs or Problems
Office of Student and Housetaff Services is located on the 1st floor of
Reed Hall (phone number: 410.955.3905). The office assists JHMI
affiliates with housing and other accommodations by providing apartment
listings, public transportation information, maps of the Baltimore
area, free phone service for your use, and information on tenant and
landlord relations. If you have any questions, needs or concerns,
please call this office. If you wish to reside in Reed Hall and
purchase a parking space, make your reservation early by calling the
In addition, all JHMI affiliates with a proper Johns Hopkins identification badge can use the Johns Hopkins University Homewood Campus Off-campus Housing Office facilities. The Homewood office number is 410.516.7961.
For more information, visit http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/housing/.
Immigration / Visa Information
you have questions concerning U.S. immigration law and the
rules/regulations which govern your stay in the United States, please
call The JHMI Office of International Student, Faculty, & Staff
Services at 410.955.3371. The office is located in Reed Hall, 1st
Floor. Since U.S. immigration law is constantly changing, you are
strongly urged to stay in close communication with the office for
Their website is located at http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/intlsvcs/.
The Johns Hopkins University and The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
have a General Counsel. For the office on the Homewood campus, please call
410.516.8128. For the office at the Medical Institutions, please call
For additional legal assistance:
- Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc., 2217 St. Paul Street, 410.243.6007
- Lawyer Referral and Information Service, 111 N. Calvert Street, 410.539.3112
- Legal Aid Bureau, 410.539.5340
- See Legal Assistance resources from the Maryland Office for New Americans
If you have any questions pertaining to U.S. taxes, you may call the following phone numbers for assistance. In addition, the Milton S. Eisenhower Library, located on the Homewood campus in basement of the New Engineering Building, has numerous publications and information on various treaties.
- JHU Tax Manager (410.516.8442)
- Milton S. Eisenhower Library Government Publications (410.516.8360/8352)
- Federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (1.800.829.1040) http://www.irs.gov
- Regional IRS Office in Baltimore (410.962.2590)
- State of Maryland Taxes (410.225.1995)
Getting a Driver's License
You can get a driver's license or an identification (I.D.) card (but not both) from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). The I.D. card is cheaper, but you cannot use it to drive. To obtain your Maryland driver's license, you must do the following:
For holders of international driver's licenses:
To obtain a Maryland driver's license, you will need to take the following steps:
1. Complete a 3 hour alcohol and drug education course - You must do
this BEFORE going to the MVA. After you receive your certificate of
completion, you can proceed to the MVA to continue the process.
2. Fill out the application form
3. Pass an eye exam
4. Present the following documents:
- a national, international, or out of state license.
- proof of residence in Maryland (i.e. lease, telephone bill, etc.).
- passport and visa or a birth certificate.
- Social security card (if you have one)
5. Complete and pass a law exam (computer / paper test)
6. Pass a driving test
7. Pay a fee: $45
For new drivers:
You will first need to complete a drivers education course. Please see the list of driving schools below.You will then need to go to the MVA to get a Learner's Permit, and then return after four months to take the driver's exam and receive your provisional license.
All information is subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, visit the MVA's website at http://www.mva.state.md.us/.
- Kenco Driving School / (410) 558-0090 / 1920 Fleet St., Baltimore, MD
- Pro-Drive Driving School / (410) 837-1667 / 832 E. Baltimore St., Baltimore, MD
- Friendly Driving School / (410) 788-8200 / 822 E. Baltimore St., Baltimore, MD
- All State Driving School / (410) 308-1374 / Baltimore, MD
- Accu-Apex / (410) 385-9666 / 16 S. Calvert St. # 703, Baltimore, MD
- B & R Driving School Inc / (410) 282-8940 / 6912 Holabird Ave., Dundalk, MD
- A-3a Method Driving / (410) 426-1836 / 3605 Evergreen Ave, Baltimore, MD
- Apex Driving School, Inc. / (410) 539-6990 / 1025 W. Baltimore St., Baltimore, MD
- Coppage Robert S / (410) 444-0078 / 2929 Bayonne Ave., Baltimore, MD
- Pro-Drive Driving School / (410) 433-6009 / 4662 York Rd., Baltimore, MD
- Pro Drive Driving / (410) 288-9430 / 40 S. Dundalk Ave. # 201, Baltimore, MD
- Ideal Driving School, Inc. / (410) 225-3838 / 1640 W North Ave., Baltimore, MD
- Skillful Drivers / (410) 426-8400 / 6657 Belair Rd., Baltimore, MD
- A B & E Driving School, Inc /410-321-9190 / 25 W Joppa Road, Towson, MD
Renting or Buying a Car
Renting a Car
There are many car rental companies in the Baltimore area. You will want to check with several companies to find out their rates and to determine which company best meets your needs. You can also check the Yellow Pages.
Buying a Car
A helpful tool to guide you in through the process of buying a new or used vehicle is the current Consumer Reports Annual Buying Guide. This publication provides important information on purchasing and maintaining new and used cars.
The following websites may also be useful:
- http://www.kbb.com -- The Kelley Blue Book is an objective guide to current market prices on used cars.
- http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/ -- The NHTSA is the federal agency responsible for testing the safety of cars sold in the US.
- http://www.cars.com, http://www.autobytel.com, http://www.carmax.com and http://www.ebaymotors.com are all sites that let you shop for cars online.
Insurance is MANDATORY for automobile owners in Maryland. Insurance can be difficult for internationals because the U.S. companies do not recognize previous driving records in other countries (except Canada). Therefore, your first 6 months to 1 year of car insurance will be more expensive.
Below please find a listing of car insurance companies. We advise you to call the insurance companies you are interested in and compare their rates and coverage. We cannot recommend any specific company.
- AAA (Automobile Association of America) / 410.728.4900 / http://www.aaa.com
- Admiral Auto Insurance / 410.462.4331
- Aigis (AIG International Services) / 1.800.452-4447 / http://www.aig.com/
- Allstate Insurance / 410.467.9600 / http://www.allstate.com/
- Gebco Insurance Associates, Inc. / 1.800.464.3226 / http://www.gebcochoice.com/
- Geico Insurance / 1.800.841.3000 / http://www.geico.com
- MetLife / 410.581.9977 / http://www.metlife.com/
- Nationwide Insurance / 1.800.642.3106 (NOTE: You may want to mention your affiliation with Johns Hopkins) / http://www.nationwide.com/
- Prudential / 410.551.3090 / http://www.prudential.com/
- Safeco Insurance / 410.728.4900 / http://www.safeco.com/
- State Farm Insurance Company / 410.727.4545 / http://www.statefarm.com/
If you are denied by two private insurance companies, you can contact the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund as a last resort. They may be able to set up a policy for you. 410.269.1680 or http://www.maif.state.md.us.^ TOP
and commuter public transportation in the Baltimore area is run by the
Mass Transit Authority (MTA). Their website is located at http://www.mtamaryland.com
and has information on fares and schedules. The JHMI Housing Office
also has a variety of printed bus, metro, light rail, and train
Johns Hopkins Shuttle Buses: Hopkins operates buses between many of its campuses.
Local Buses: The MTA operates a large network of buses in the Baltimore area. Refer to their website for more information.
Metro: The Baltimore Metro runs from the JHMI campus to Owings Mills, Maryland.
Light Rail: The Baltimore Light Rail runs from Hunt Valley south to BWI Airport.
MARC Commuter Trains: MARC train service runs between Baltimore and Washington. It is much less expensive than Amtrak, but its schedule is more limited. There are two lines, leaving Baltimore from Penn Station and Camden Station.
AMTRAK Trains: AMTRAK trains depart from Penn Station in Baltimore to points across the US.
Long-distance Buses: There are several long-distance bus companies that service the Baltimore area.
Greyhound: Has bus stations at the Baltimore Travel Plaza in East Baltimore (5625 O'Donnell Street), and the Downtown Bus Station (Fayette Street and Park Avenue).
Megabus: A new bus company that offers service between Baltimore and New York for as little as $1 per trip. The bus picks up passengers at the White Marsh Park and Ride.
Safety at Johns Hopkins
This handout is designed to familiarize you with safety precautions in order to improve the quality of your visit to the U.S. and to Baltimore. We want you to enjoy Baltimore and to embrace what this city has to offer. We also want you to be able to enjoy your stay and be safe.
To protect yourself at home:
- Keep your house and car doors locked at all times
- Do not admit strangers into your complex
- Close your curtains and blinds at night
- List only your last name and the initial of your first name in telephone directories, mailboxes, doors, and any other location where names may be posted
- Get to know your neighbors
- Report suspicious activities/individuals to security officers or management officials
- Lock windows and block sliding-doors with a pole placed in the bottom track
- Don't take the trash out alone at night
- Hang up immediately if you receive an obscene phone call
- Never give out personal information on the phone to a caller you don't know
- Keep emergency telephone numbers near the phone
To protect yourself while out and about:
- Pay attention to your surroundings
- Avoid walking alone, especially at night. Call for an escort, if necessary
- Walk at a steady pace with a self-assured stride
- Acknowledge a greeting but do not linger if you do not know the individual
- Avoid dark streets and alley-ways
- Do not hitchhike or accept rides from strangers
- If you are followed, move away fast, change directions, or walk into a crowded area
- Walk near the curb and avoid passing close to shrubs, dark doorways, or other potential hiding areas
- Carry your keys in your hand, ready to open doors immediately
- If a driver in a car asks you directions, do not get too close to the car
- Watch your dress and body language when going to a night club or fitness club
- Maintain a secure grip on your valuables and purse; preferably under your arm
- Be cautious when entering elevators and public laundry facilities alone
- Jog on an indoor or outdoor track, rather than in city streets; and jog with a friend when possible
- If you suspect trouble or confrontation, leave the area immediately
To protect yourself while driving:
- Keep car windows and doors closed and locked
- Never pick up strangers
- Check the back seat every time you get in your car
- When parking at night, select a place that is well-lit & check for loiterers before exiting your car
- Do not allow another vehicle to force you off the roadway
To avoid theft of property:
Most of the crimes reported on the Johns Hopkins medical campus involve theft of property. Be aware of your possessions and do not give someone the opportunity to steal your books, your passport, your wallet, your backpack, or your purse. You can help avoid theft by doing the following:
- Keep your personal items with you at all times and lock your valuables in a secure place
- Do not leave books or other personal items unattended
- Do not leave personal items (books, camera, bags, wallet) visible in a car; instead, leave them in the trunk
- Engrave valuables with your name
- List your name, and phone number in two different places in your books or notebooks
To help others:
If you do become a victim of a crime, you can help others by reporting the incident to local law enforcement officers or to campus security officers.
Children at Johns Hopkins
International children are a delightful addition to US communities. They bring diversity to playgrounds and classrooms and enrich the worldview of America's children. There are good resources for children in Baltimore to learn English, dance, art and music in the classroom and other places. Our museums and art galleries are child-friendly, and often offer classes for various ages.
In the US, public schools are free for your child. In general, the schools will welcome your participation as a volunteer. You are welcome also to talk with the school's administration and your child's teachers about your concerns.
To enroll your child in a public school, you must:
- Contact the Board of Education to find out which school your child should attend. Arrange a meeting with the Principal/Administrator of the school.
- Present I-94 form for the child.
- Present I-20 or DS-2019 form for parent(s).
- Present immunization records from home country/US. No child is admitted to school without up-to-date inoculations.
- Present proof of local residence/address. (lease, utility bill, etc.)
- Present child's birth certificate or passport.
- Present child's transcript/academic record from home country (including grades and attendance).
Several schools in Baltimore County are well-known for their ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) programs. One that is attended by many JHMI affiliate-children is the Wellwood International School, Smith Avenue, Baltimore, 21209, near Bonnie Ridge Apartments. The student body (grades k-6) is composed of children who speak 26 different languages. The school has before/after school programs as well.
Baltimore City Public Schools: 410-396-8700 / ESOL 410-396-8600 / http://www.bcps.k12.md.us/
Baltimore County Public Schools: 410-887-4554 / ESOL 410-887-2043 / http://www.bcps.org/
Howard County Public Schools: 410-313-6600 / http://www.howard.k12.md.us/
For a monthly listing of the activities of interest to families with children, get a copy of Baltimore's Child, available at no charge throughout the metropolitant area. Is is also an a excellent resource for investigating day care opportunities for working parents.
For younger children and their parents or caregivers, there is an International Play Group: Children of the World Co-Op, Inc. which meets near JHU Monday-Friday, 9:30-11:30 a.m. There are activities for the children and free English as a Second Language classes are available for the adults, as well as social events for the whole family (hayrides, parties, holiday gatherings and international dinners). For more information, call 410-377-5900 or visit the website at http://www.cotwcoop.org .
For additional information on child care, you may wish to contact the Johns Hopkins WorkLife Program. They provide information on nanny and au pair referrals, financial assistance, summer camps, parent education, discussion groups, tuition discount programs at day care centers, private, parochial and preschool information, sick, emergency & back up care programs, as well as other services. To contact WorkLife, visit http://www.hopkinsworklife.org, call 443-997-6605, or stop by their office located at the Johns Hopkins Eastern Campus (1101 East 33rd Street, Suite C100).
Johns Hopkins' Children's Medical and Surgical Center (CMSC) leads the world in the health care of sick children. 410-955-5680
To arrange for well-baby care, there are many excellent pediatricians in Baltimore. To locate a pediatrician, you must consider the type of medical insurance coverage you have, as well as the location of the doctor's office and the hospitals where the physician can admit patients. Contact the Baltimore Medical Society's Physician Referral Service at 410-625-0022.^ TOP
International Grocery Stores
There are many international/ethnic food stores in Baltimore and surrounding areas. Below are a few that visitors have recommended. Consult the Yellow Pages/ Phone Book for other options. Please let us know if you find a market that you think others would like to know about!
- Lotte Plaza
8801 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, MD
Large, very popular Asian food market. Hard-to-find fruits & vegetables available. Oriental meat department, frozen and prepared foods.
- H Mart
800 N Rolling Road Catonsville, MD. 21228
Large Asian supermarket. Huge fresh produce section. Also sells small kitchen appliances.
- Shyam Foods
1724 Woodlawn Drive (in Sam's Plaza, near Security Mall)
Indian staples - rice, beans, etc. - as well as produce not found in US grocery stores. Ready-made Indian foods, spices, and traditional Indian side-dishes.
- Tienda Rosita
119 South Broadway (Fells Point, near campus)
Foods from many Latin American countries - fresh, frozen, and canned foods, as well as staples & produce.
- Thai-Philipine Market
523 Gorsuch Avenue, Waverly (near JHU Homewood)
Asian, Jamaican, and food stuffs from other countries.
- Asia Food
5224 York Road, Baltimore
30-year old market. Traditional Korean, Chinese, and Japanese food and merchanidise.
- Edmart Delicatessen
1427 Reisterstown Rd, Pikesville, MD
Classic New York-style deli. Traditional Jewish and Eastern European foods, sliced meats and cheeses, party trays, specialty foods and baked goods.
- International Food Market
6970 Reisterstown Rd., Baltimore
Small supermarket with Eastern European - particularly Russian - food stuffs. Many bakery and deli items, including breads, soups, and borscht.
- Pastore's Italian Deli
8646 Loch Raven Blvd (near Joppa Rd.)
100 year-old Baltimore institution. Imported pastas, olive oil, and home-made tomato sauce.
U.S. Weights and Measures
In the U.S. the metric system is not the usual way of measurement. We use inches, feet, and yards, as well as ounces, pounds, and tons instead of the system of measurement used by most of the rest of the world. Understanding the U.S. system will help you when you put gasoline in your car or when you follow an American cooking recipe.
A complete guide to the U.S. Customary System can be found at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._customary_units.
The search engine Google can also be used to make quick conversions by typing "convert" followed by the quantity to convert and the unit to convert it to. For instance, "convert 12 pounds to kilograms" will return 5.4431 kilograms.