General Information

This is a summary of useful information for new students at the International English Center (IEC), who may also be first-time arrivals in the United States. You'll find even more useful information throughout the Admitted Students section (see the links in the sidebar to the right or in the dropdown menu above).


Weather in Boulder is mostly sunny and mild throughout the year.  Colorado air is dry (not humid).  In the winter months, be prepared for the cold winter weather with boots, a heavy coat, and warm clothing.  Temperatures can change quickly.  Snowstorms can cover the campus with snow in as little as 2 hours. Because of the sunny weather, snow often melts quickly.  During the summer it can get hot and temperatures can reach 38 degrees Celsius. Please visit the NOAA website for more detail about Boulder, CO weather.


Boulder is a city of casual dress, and it is appropriate for you to wear casual clothing to class. Many students wear lightweight clothing during the summer months, such as shorts, t-shirts and sandals. During the winter, warm coats, thermal underclothing and waterproof shoes and boots are recommended. During the spring and fall, the weather is mild, and light jackets and sweaters are usually sufficient for the cooler temperatures in the evening. Colorado weather is know to change rapidly, so it's often wise to layer clothing, such as wearing a light t-shirt under a jacket.


You may want to open an account at a Boulder bank soon after you arrive. Many banks require a social security number (SSN), but not all do. Major US banks that do not require a social security number include: Wells Fargo, Chase, and First Bank. Here are two suggestions for transferring money from another country:

Check drawn on a US bank

Most banks in other countries have a US bank where they maintain correspondent (interconnected) accounts. A participant's local bank in Boulder may be able to arrange for the check to be drawn on that US bank. You should check with your bank in your country to see if this is possible and if there are any restrictions.

Wire transfers directly from your home bank to a Boulder bank

You should first open an account at a Boulder bank and then issue a wire transfer from the bank in your home country to your new bank account in the US.


Grocery stores

There are many grocery stores around Boulder and near the CU campus. Students can buy all of their fruit, vegetables, bread, rice, juice, milk and other food necessities there. Alfalfa’s is a short walk from the International English Center and sells natural, organic, local food. Sprouts and Natural Grocers also sell natural, organic food but at slightly lower prices. Safeway and King Soopers grocery stores are not far from the CU campus and they sell a wide range of food and drinks. They are national chain stores that sell most national food brands and they are generally less expensive than the local natural food stores. Also not far from the CU Boulder campus is Trader Joe's: another national grocery chain with its own line of products plus fresh vegetables, frozen foods, flowers, and more.

Specialty Markets

Boulder has some ethnic food markets that students can go to for their special food needs. The Asian Seafood Market provide ingredients for Asian cooking. The Mediterranean Market and Deli sells Middle Eastern food and ingredients. The Metro Denver area also provides a great variety of international food markets.

Farmer’s Market

Boulder has one of the longest running farmers' markets in the area.  You can visit the Boulder Farmers' Market from April through mid-November.  The market is open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesdays (May through October) from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. The market also has many local entrepreneurs who sell new food products and let you sample their product before buying.  Besides seasonal fruits and vegetables, you can buy fresh bread, tortillas, locally made cheese and yogurt and a variety of baked goods.  You can also visit the market to listen to music and enjoy a meal at one of the restaurant stands.  Please visit the Boulder Farmers' Market page for more information.


There are a wide variety of restaurants available to you in Boulder. People in Boulder love to eat out and enjoy locally owned restaurants.  While studying at the International English Center up on “The Hill” (our neighborhood), you can find many restaurants just around the corner.  We have sandwich shops, a pizzeria, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Indian and Thai restaurants all located near our center.  The university also has numerous places to eat.  One of the most popular places to eat is the Center for Community (C4C): a state of the art dining hall featuring eight restaurants and a bakery.

If you go to eat in downtown Boulder, a 15 to 20-minute walk or short bus ride away from the IEC, you can enjoy delicious food.  Downtown has restaurants serving many different types of cuisine, including Italian, Mediterranean, Japanese, Middle Easten, Vegetarian, French, and American. In other areas of Boulder, there are even more restaurants serving a variety of cuisine. 

Restaurants near the International English Center

  • On the Hill (where the IEC is located)
    • The food court (Korean, Thai, Indian, Mexican, and more)
    • Cheba Hut & Half Fast Subs (sandwich shops)
    • The Corner (salads, sandwiches and pastries)
    • Illegal Pete’s (Mexican, Tex-Mex)
    • Scrooge Maki, Sushi Hana on the Hill (Japanese)
    • 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria (pizza)
  • Downtown (Spruce, Pearl or Walnut Street)
    • Boulder Café, Cheesecake Factory, Ted's Montana Grill (American)
    • Chicago Pizza (American pizza)
    • Antica Roma & Pasta Jay’s (Italian)
    • The Mediterranean (Italian, Spanish, Middle Eastern, Greek)
    • Falafel King, Arabesque (Middle Eastern)
    • Sherpa's Adventurers (Nepalese, Indian)
    • The Kitchen & Salt (contemporary American)
    • Sushi Tora, Hapa, Japango, Amu, Sushi Zanmai (Japanese)
    • Leaf (Vegetarian)
    • L'Atelier (French)

Study Load

The Intensive English Program at the International English Center requires signicant effort from the student. For every hour that you have class at the IEC you should plan on studying an hour on your own time. Your teachers will give you homework assignments for you to do at your home after class. You are expected to complete all your homework assignments in addition to coming to class.

Many students do their written homework on computers at the IEC and on campus library computers.  Students also study at local coffee shops, at home and in study rooms provided by the University of Colorado.  For a list of places to study on campus, visit CU's Find Your Study Spot web page.

Free Time

As an IEC student, you will have many opportunities to explore the Boulder community and your new life in the United States.  You can take advantage of the many recreational facilities offered by the University of Colorado and the city of Boulder.  There are a variety of special events and excursions that are arranged for you and your classmates by the IEC. in addition, the University of Colorado Boulder has a vibrant community and hosts many extra-curricular activities, lectures and festivals throughout the year. Please see the events board near the front office for an updated list of events and activities.