Pre Arrival Travel information

Main Street Schoolhouse Language Institute

Welcomes you!


MSS Language Institute is an important hub for language learning in Southern Ohio, serving Hamilton, and the nearby towns of West Chester, Fairfield, Oxford, Middletown, Cincinnati, Mason, Maineville, and into Beavercreek, Dayton, and Northern Kentucky – the outer limits of our hub.

MSS Language Institute is an absolutely unique school, where students can reach their highest language goals in a home-like atmosphere, where the mission of the school is more important than the business, where the curriculum and teaching is designed to satisfy the student’s various learning styles and where the enrollment date is always open.

Being an international student at MSS Language Institute, you will have the opportunity to get to know people from many different cultures. I strongly encourage you to get involved in your new community and take advantage of opportunities as they are presented to you.

The purpose of this document is to assist you, as much as possible, in preparing to leave your homeland and to arrive in a new area. We want to make the transition as easy as possible. This information will assist you in arranging your travel to the United States and your education at MSS Language Institute. Please read it carefully and please let us know if you have any further questions!

Karen Cocina

Director / International Students Adviser

200 North F Street

Hamilton – OH – 45013

Phone: (513) 868 – 0999




Main Street Language Institute (Student office)

200 North F St





Phone: 513 -868-0999


School Hours: Monday – Friday: 9am to 9pm (it might vary in winter)

          Saturday: 12pm to 4pm

Office Hours:

International Student Advisors:

Monday – Friday: 6:00 pm to 9:00pm (earlier hours ONLY by appointment)

Saturday: 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Life Counselor: Only by appointment.

People you need to be familiar with:

Karen Cocina – Director / International Student Adviser


Claudine Recalde – International Student Adviser

Alicia Roberson – Life Counselor

Giulliana De la Torre – Student Services / General Info

Evelyn Sanchez – E-learning Student accounts

Gabriela Avramova – Transcripts Clerk / General Info

Ricardo Calles – Curriculum Supervisor

Nicholas Hines – Orientation Supervisor and Engrade Tech



Student Visa (F-1): After you apply for and receive your form I-20 from MSS Language Institute. Present the Form I-20 with your passport to a United States consular officer at United States consulate or embassy to obtain an F-1 student visa.

DO NOT make a visa appointment until you have received your Immigration Document!

Students who have the designation “Initial Entry” on their I-20 must pay the SEVIS fee ($200) before their visa appointment and take the payment confirmation paper with you.

IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT to take these and the other required original financial documents (bank statements, scholarship awards, award letters for assistantships, or an Affidavit of Support from a sponsor). It is also important to show strong business, career and family ties to your home country.

DO NOT pack your immigration documents in your luggage! You will have to use them to pass through the Port of Entry before you can collect your checked bags.

Per US immigration regulations you CANNOT enter the US more than 30 days prior to the start date on your immigration document.

DO NOT enter the United States on another school’s I-20. To do so and then enroll at MSS Language Institute would be a violation of US Immigration Service regulations.


You will be informed of any health and immigration requirements when you apply for your visa. A physical examination may be required.

Medical expenses in the United States are extremely high. International students and their dependents are not eligible to use any public assistance programs that are supported by the U.S. government.

Even though health insurance is optional at MSS Language Institute, we strongly recommend having it. We have some providers to help you to get yourself covered. For more information see Student Services office upon your arrival and “Medical Insurance” section on the Student Service button in the website.


It is a good idea to exchange foreign currency for US dollars before your departure, but you should not travel with large amounts of cash since there is too much danger of loss or theft. If you anticipate bringing large sums of money to the United States, ask a bank about the safest and most convenient means of transferring funds. MSS Language Institute and all local businesses accept only US dollars.

When you arrive in the US, you should have sufficient funds to cover your expenses during your anticipated stay in the US. The amount depends, of course, on your education plans and living expenses.

It is also advisable to carry a small amount of cash – at least fifty dollars in paper currency and two or three dollars in coins or “change”.  The lower denominations of US paper money are $1, $5, $10, $20; coins are 1 cent (penny, $0.01), 5 cents (nickel, $0.05), 10 cents (dime $0.10), and 25 cents (quarter, $0.25).


Be aware that state and local taxes – ranging up to 9% of the price, depending on the state, will be added to the marked priced when you purchase goods and services. Example: If a $10 item has a 9% sales tax its actual cost will be $10.90.


There are many circumstances in the United States when tipping is expected and, in fact, makes up a substantial portion of the person’s wages.

Ideally, tips are given to a person who performs good service. Of course, the tip is in addition to the bill. In some situations, tipping is so common that if you don’t leave one, people will frown upon it. Therefore, you should consider a tip mandatory in these situations:

To porters at airports and train or bus stations, $1 per piece of luggage

To bellboys who show you to your room and carry your luggage in hotels, minimum $1

To waiters or waitresses in restaurants, 15 -20 % of the bill.

To taxi drivers, 10 -15% of the fare.

To barbers or hairdressers, 10 – 20 % of the bill

*NOTE: Under no circumstances should you offer a tip to public officials, including police officers; this may be looked upon as an attempt to bribe the official and could have serious consequences.




During your flight to the United States, flight attendants will give you a CBP Declaration Form 6059B to complete. Air arrivals will be posted on an electronic I-94 arrival record available online after inspection is complete at

Always use your full name, exactly as it appears on your passport.

If you are using our housing service, report your address as: 200 North F St. Hamilton, OH 45013.

You will submit this form to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer at the first U.S. city in which you land. You will be asked why you wish to enter the U.S., and you should state that you will be a student at the MSS Language Institute.

You may be fingerprinted and have your photo taken by the immigration officer. This is a normal procedure and is nothing to be worried about.

When the inspection is complete, the officer will stamp your passport. You must be entered in the correct visa status (F-1). Check your passport to be sure it is F-1 status because sometimes the officer makes a mistake.



All new international students are required to participate in the MSS Language Institute’s Student Orientation. It is very important that you attend the orientation program to become familiar with the school and its resources, policies, advisers and other classmates. This is a MANDATORY process.


All incoming international students and students transferring to MSS Language Institute from another U.S. institution will receive an email from our academic advisers who will assist you with the registration process.


2016 – 2017

Spring Quarter (250 min classes)

Orientation: April 4th – 8th

Classes: April 11th – July 1st

Summer Quarter (300 min classes)

Orientation: June 28th – July 1st

Classes: July 5th – Sep 9th

Fall Quarter (230 min classes)

Orientation: Sep 12th – 16th

Classes: Sep 19th – Dec 16th

Winter Quarter (250 min classes)

Orientation: Jan 3rd – 6th

Classes: Jan 9th – March 31st

Try to begin classes on the Orientation as stated above, to gain the benefit of the complete session of lessons.  If this is impossible for you, speak to the student advisor to get another options.

Students will need to request a religious holiday if they want it. See “Absence Request” form on the school website. Otherwise, your vacations should be planned to be the same as the posted school holidays.  See the Student Handbook or the school website to view the holiday list.  



January 1st: New Year’s Day

January 18: Martin Luther King, Jr.

February 15: President’s Day

Easter and Spring break (usually 10 days, end of March or first part of April) See School Calendar

May 30: Memorial Day

July 4: Independence Day

September 5: Labor Day

October 10: Columbus Day

November 11: Veterans Day

November 24: Thanksgiving Day

December 25 (observed Monday December 26): Christmas

Christmas Break (15 or more days, starting before Christmas until New Year’s Day) See School Calendar

Two large holidays:

Easter – spring

Christmas – New Year’s


Cultural holidays are those days of public celebration where businesses are not necessarily closed.

Valentine’s Day (February 14)

Cards, flowers and candy in a heart shaped box are giving to the love ones.

Saint Patrick’s Day (March 17)

People wear green clothing and get together. This holiday was brought to United States by Irish immigrants.

Mother’s Day (Second Sunday in May)

Mothers are honored this day.

Father’s Day (Third Sunday in June)

Fathers are honored this day.

Halloween (October 31)

Today, it is celebrated as a day for children. Traditions include carving pumpkins with funny faces (jack-o’-lanterns), telling scary stories, and going door to door in costume to receive candy and treats from neighbors.

Hanukkah (8 days, usually in December)

It is known as the Festival of Lights and is celebrated today by the lighting of a menorah or candelabrum for 8 days.

Kwanzaa (7 days, December 26 through January 1)

African-American nonreligious celebration of family and community patterned after African harvest festivals.

Ramadan (9th month of the Muslim Calendar)

This celebration lasts a whole month during which Muslims fast during daylight hours and indulgence of any sort is forbidden. It is a time to worship.


How to get to MSS Language Institute?

200 N. F Street, Hamilton, OH 45013.

From Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport   

47 min (43.5 miles) via I-275 W

From Dayton International Airport

57 min (53.3 miles) via I-75 S

From Port Columbus International Airport

1 h 51 min (108.3 miles) via I-71 S

You will need to rely on friends to meet you at the airport and drive you to school or your new home.

MSS staff sometimes picks up new students from the Cincinnati airport, but you must call the school office to arrange this in advance. A taxi is another option, about $70.

If you have a smart phone you easily can download UBER and LIFT apps. It’s fast, safe and secure. The total amount of your ride is charged to your credit card if you haven’t had the chance to exchange to local currency. Usually they offer some good discounts in your first ride.

Weather in Ohio

Winter in the northern section of this region can be severe with blizzards and much snow, while summers in the southern section ca be quite hot with frequent heat waves and drought.

Weights and Measures

Few Americans speak of weights and measures in metric terms. Temperature is the exception, it is quoted in both Fahrenheit and Celsius.


Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, which also mandates a separation of church and state. The practice of religion is considered a private matter and a person’s religious preference may not be asked by employers, schools, clubs, etc.



Leaving home and travelling to study in a new country can be stressful experience, even though it may be something you have planned and prepared for. Many people are surprised when they experience the impact of culture shock, and it can be helpful to realize your experience is actually quite normal.

What is Cultural Shock?

Culture shock describes the impact of moving from a familiar culture to one that is unfamiliar. It includes the shock of a new environment, meeting lots of new people and learning the ways of a new country. It also includes the shock of being separated from the important people in your life, such as family and friends. You might feel depressed about it, and wonder “Why am I here?” but do not worry, this is a common process to most international employees and students coming to the U.S. as well as to U.S. employees and students going abroad.

Here are four stages that you might go through in your adaptation process:

  1. At first you are excited by the new environment and a few frustrations do not spoil your enthusiasm.
  2. A period in which cultural differences in behavior and values become more obvious. What previously seemed exciting, new and challenging is now merely frustrating. You may feel isolated and become withdrawn from life around you. You see security in the familiar.
  3. In the next stage you may reject what is around you, perhaps becoming opinionated and negative. You may feel that everyone is against you and that nobody understands you, but then you begin to re-assert yourself.
  4. Based on your successes in negotiating a variety of social situations and, maybe, increased language skills, your self-esteem grows. You can accept the negative differences and tolerate them. You may even feel a sense of belonging.

And here are some suggestions for how you can handle culture shock:

Get an “informant” (make friends with someone from the foreign-to-you culture).

This can be the most important thing for surviving another culture, especially if this person becomes a close friend. It’s like having a “local culture dictionary” – and can be vital for your sanity’s survival.

Get a same culture buddy (make friends with someone from your own culture).

This helps in having someone who either is going through or has recently gone through a lot of the shocks you are currently enduring.

Be a tourist

Plan time to do the cheesy touristy things that the locals wouldn’t be caught dead doing. It helps to be an outsider sometimes, because you can find wonder in things the locals don’t even notice anymore.

Do something that takes courage every day.

Taking courage can simply mean going to the market by yourself, but if you see it as an adventure, rather than a chore that will take you three times as long as it does in your own culture.

Do something familiar

Figure out how to make your favorite food and do so often. Watch your favorite movies. Listen to music that makes you feel good in your language.

Go for walks

Spend time exploring on foot. Take time in this new culture to figure out how the minutia of life gets done and being on foot helps you to notice the little details.

Ask for packages from home

It’s amazing how great it is just to get a little care package with a few of your favorite candies, spices, t-shirts, etc. If you don’t have anyone to ship them to you, then see if you can find a company that ships overseas. It may be pricy, but it’s worth it to have a few pieces of home every once in a while.


Understanding American Culture


American tend to be friendly, even when you first meet them. This friendliness does not always mean that the person is looking for a deeper relationship. Being polite is important in this culture, and sometimes they may keep being nice to you even if they do not wish to pursue a deeper friendship.

Personal Space

Americans are not comfortable if someone else is too close to them. Only close friends and family are allowed to get closer.

Do not touch people when you talk to them and only get close to them when you are invited.

Body Language

Holding the middle finger up by itself is considered insulting and vulgar. Americans smile a great deal, even at strangers. They like to have their smiles returned. Some Americans are known as “back slappers” they give others a light slap on the back to show friendship.


Americans love to talk. Avoid conversations about racism, foreign policies, gun control, and religion.

It is better to discuss these topics among friends.


It is an important trait to acquire. If you arrive late to an appointment, it will reflect badly on you. Try to arrive on time, or even a little early. If you know that you will be arriving late, you should call ahead of time to let them know of the delay.

Sexual Harassment

This is a very serious topic. Sexual Harassment consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other physical or verbal behavior of a sexual nature.


*Helpful Hints

It is considered rude to stare, ask questions or otherwise bring attention to someone’s disability.

Please and thank you are very important in the United States. Say “please” and “thank you” to everyone for even the smallest kindness.

Say “Pardon me” or “Excuse me” if you touch someone or even get close to someone. Americans also say this if they sneeze or cough or do not understand something someone has said.



Findlay Market

It is an old-fashioned public market in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood that has been in operation since 1855. Findlay Market offers a diversity of delicious fresh foods, handmade goods, entertainment and more.

Creation Museum

This one-of-a-kind museum brings the pages of the Bible to life casting its characters and animals in dynamic form and placing them in familiar settings. Designed by a former Universal Studios exhibit director. It also has a Special Effects Theater, Botanical Gardens and Petting Zoo and for an additional fee you can visit the planetarium, the zip line and the canopy adventures.

Newport Aquarium

Guests have the opportunity to touch a shark, play in the interactive frog bog and even pet a penguin during the Penguin Encounter. If you’re daring, take a stroll across the NEW Shark Bridge – the only suspension bridge in North America where guests can walk just inches above nearly two dozen sharks.

Ride The Ducks Newport

Ride The Ducks Newport is a 45-min amphibious sightseeing experience. View some of the region’s best loved landmarks from land and river. The Duck Captain will entertain through stories and jokes or by playing just the right song for the moment. It’s a one-of-a-kind tour.

BB Riverboats

Take a cruise with BB Riverboats, a staple of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky riverfront for more than 30 years, and learn about the history of the river. BB Riverboats offers lunch, dinner and sightseeing cruises.

American Legacy Tours and the Red Hall of Fame & Museum

This tour focuses on the events and activities surrounding the controversial 1919 World Series that matched up the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago White Sox.

Cincinnati is birthplace to not only the first professional baseball team but also the location of the National League and American League merger, the creation of the World Series, and home to a championship that changed baseball forever.

Escape The Room Challenge

Escape room adventures are the latest entertainment attraction sweeping across the nation, taking the popularity of the on-line video games in which players are trapped in a room and must find clues and solve puzzles in order to escape… all the while the clock is ticking!

The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show

America’s largest interactive murder mystery comedy dinner show! Solve a hilarious murder case while you feast on a fantastic four-course plated dinner. Just beware! The killer is hiding somewhere in the room, and you may find yourself as a prime suspect!

Cincinnati Cyclones Hockey

Cincinnati Cyclones hockey games are more than just a game! It is a non-stop event, affordable entertainment, and intermission activities. It is located at the Banks of the Ohio River at U.S. Bank Arena.

Lazer Kraze Mason

The Mason location is home to a Multi-level laser tag arena and indoor Trampoline Park. State of the art laser tag gear with integrated sound and scoring make for high tech fun. This location also has the area’s only Time Freak where players compete in a life-size hi-tech game of speed and agility.

Queen City Underground & Ultimate Underground Tours

Learn about Cincinnati’s hidden history on one of the Top Five Underground Tours in the U.S. (National Geographic,2012) Descend below the city streets to a hidden crypt where some of Cincinnati’s first residents were buried.

Carew Tower Observation Deck

Carew Tower is the second tallest building in Cincinnati; however, it is still the highest elevated building in the city. Visit the 49th floor Observation Deck for panoramic views of the region.

American Sign Museum

The American Sign Museum takes you through a half century of sign history, beginning with the fancy gold-leaf glass signs of the early 1900s, through the pre-neon era of lightbulb signs, to neon’s heyday in the 1930s-1940s, and into the plastic era of the funky ‘50s.

Entertainment Junction

Billed as the world’s only railroad – themed family entertainment center. It’s the largest indoor train display at 25,000 square feet.

Cincinnati Zoo Botanical Garden

The Zoo’s 75 acres house more than 580 animal species and 3000 plant varieties making it one of the largest zoo collections in the U.S.

FC Cincinnati

Cincinnati’s professional soccer franchise brings fast-paced European style futbol and the best fan experience that the United Soccer League has to offer.

Coney Island – Sunlite Pool

Coney Island features Sunlite Pool, the world’s largest recirculating swimming pool with over 2 acres and 3 million gallons of water, plus several water slides.

Newport on the Levee

Newport on the Levee is a multi-level urban retail entertainment center located on the south bank of the Ohio River in Newport, Kentucky, directly across from Downtown Cincinnati. It features delicious dining venues, the aquarium, a bowling center, stand-up comedy and the best of all, you can watch the gorgeous sunset over the Cincinnati skyline.

Boonybrook Farms

A beautiful 370-acre historic working farm with fresh air, room to roam and run, fishing ponds, woodlands & so much more.

Newport Gangster Tour

Explore the streets where the mob made their millions, gamblers lost their lives, and ladies of the night earned their reputations.

Contemporary Arts Center

Contemporary Arts Center was one of the first institutions in the United States dedicated to exhibiting contemporary art. The CAC provides the opportunity for all people to discover the dynamic relationship between art and life exhibiting, but not collecting, the work of progressive artists.

Scenic River Canoe Excursions

Scenic River Canoe Excursions invites you to relax on the river and enjoy a peaceful canoe or kayak trip on the Little Miami River, a State and National Scenic River long considered one of Ohio’s most beautiful waterways.

For more current events, places and activities you always can check:


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