International Family Orientation

Hope College is pleased to welcome the families of new international students and U.S. citizens living outside the United States.

It’s a privilege to host you and introduce you to the people who will support and mentor your child in the important years ahead. By the end of Family Orientation, you’ll have a new group of friends — at the college and around the world.

These special events and activities are planned with your family in mind. Some take place during students’ orientation activities and others involve your whole family. Saturday through Monday, August 20–22, students will participate in an off-campus program, “Explore Michigan,” led by the Office of International Education, while families are entertained in West Michigan and Chicago as described below.

We hope you can stay through New Student Orientation, but we recognize that other responsibilities might make this difficult.

As you plan your visit to Holland, please remember:

Wednesday and Thursday, August 17-18

Arrival and Housing

Students and families arrive in Holland. Hope will coordinate shuttle service to campus from Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) or the Padnos Transportation Center, where Amtrak trains run daily from Chicago’s Union Station. We’ll also help families transfer to Holland-area hotels.

Friday, August 19

Orientation Meetings – All Day

Students and families participate in orientation activities led by the Office of International Education. In the evening, students are together for their meal and activities while parents and other family members attend a welcome dinner.

Saturday, August 20

Meijer Gardens and American Baseball

Families will be our guests for lunch and an afternoon visit to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, followed by dinner and a professional baseball game with the Grand Rapids Whitecaps.

Sunday, August 21


Get ready for a full day of fun in Chicago! We’ll travel by train and experience the amazing Chicago Air and Water Show, have meals at Chicago restaurants, shop the world-famous Michigan Avenue and take a boat cruise on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.

Monday, August 22

West Michigan Magic

West Michigan is a well-known American vacation destination. We’ll start with lunch and shopping in nearby Saugatuck and enjoy a special sunset cruise on Lake Michigan in the evening.

Tuesday, August 23

Orientation and More Exploring

Parents will attend morning meetings led by the Office of International Education, followed by lunch, afternoon touring and special activities. An evening reception will introduce you to faculty and college leaders.

Wednesday, August 24

Orientation, More Exploring and Shopping

Parents will attend morning meetings led by the Office of International Education, followed by lunch, shopping, touring and a visit to Hope College’s new Kruizenga Art Museum.  Special attention will be given to activities requested and suggested by families. A special evening activity is being planned as well.  

Thursday, August 25

More Grand Rapids, More Lake Michigan

Families will experience another fun day in Grand Rapids, including lunch and one or two museums. We’ll return mid-afternoon and join students for a picnic sponsored by the Office of International Education at beautiful Tunnel Park.  

Friday, August 26 – New Student Orientation

Your Other Classmates Arrive

Throughout the day all other new students arrive and begin moving into their rooms. International students continue their orientation program in the morning and then transition to the activities planned for all students. Families have free time in the morning, then also transition to activities planned for all families.

Saturday, August 27

Full orientation program for all first time students and families.

Sunday, August 28

Morning worship and convocation program.