Study Abroad & Exchange

Arrival Information

We wish to make your initial days in the US pleasant and stress-free. However, one of the initial challenges our international students often face is finding an easy way to arrive in Chico. Most are surprised to discover that public transportation in the US is quite poor in comparison to their home country. Therefore, we suggest that you carefully consider your options before you arrive in the US.

The following page is intended to provide international students with practical information regarding the arrival method that best suits their needs and comfort level.  Please contact Chico State Study Abroad Office if you have additional concerns or a unique situation.

Arrival and Departure Dates

IMPORTANT:

All incoming international exchange students are NOT permitted to arrive more than 30 days prior to the start date of their program.  All incoming international exchange students MUSTleave within 30 days following the end date of their program.  Program start and end dates will be indicated in item number three (3) on the DS-2019 document included in you acceptance packet to CSU, Chico.

Fly to Sacramento International Airport RECOMMENDED

Weekend Before Orientation 

  • Free University Shuttle - the Office of International Education offers free transportation from the Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Chico the Saturday and Sunday before International Student Orientation.
    • Students will receive an online survey one month prior to Orientation to share their travel itineraries and to secure a seat on the University’s airport shuttle.

    • Students who desire the University Shuttle must arrive in the airport (SMF) no later than 5pm. It will take some time to collect luggage and walk to the meeting point in the Arrivals area. The shuttle typically departs at 6pm.

    • Students living in University Housing (UV, International House) will usually be dropped off at their residence hall.  Students in private housing will be dropped off in the city center and must call a taxi to travel to their final destination.

Week Before Orientation

  • Private Airport Shuttle - there are several private airport shuttles(opens in new window) with service between Sacramento Airport and Chico. Reservations are needed and there is often a pre-determined schedule for pickup and drop off.

  • Greyhound Bus to Chico - There is no regional bus station in the Sacramento Airport.
  • Amtrak Train to Chico - There is no regional train station in the Sacramento Airport.
  • Rent a car - The most common method for transportation to and from the airport is a personal car.  There are many rental companies, though you must consider which will allow a one-way rental.  Also consider that anyone under 25 may be charged additional fees or may be ineligible to rent.

Fly to San Francisco International Airport

Many students believe that this is the easiest option, though it is the most problematic.  We highly suggest that students reconsider and change their flight itinerary to arrive in Sacramento.  There are multiple flights to Sacramento Airport (SMF) from San Francisco (SFO).

BEWARE: safety is our primary concern and there are many reasons to avoid public transportation from San Francisco to Chico.  Some bus and train stations in the city are in unsafe neighborhoods with crime prevalent. Traveling alone at night with large luggage and attempting to navigate a new system in a second language makes international students an easy target!

  • Rent a car - The most common method for transportation to and from the airport is a personal car.  There are many rental companies, though you must consider which will allow a one-way rental.  Also consider that anyone under 25 may be charged additional fees or may be ineligible to rent.
  • Bus to Chico - There is no regional bus station in the San Francisco Airport.
    • The Greyhound station nearest the airport is in downtown San Francisco at 200 Folsom St.(opens in new window) The easiest way to reach the station is to hire a taxi.
    • Currently there are two buses per day with service to Chico. We do not recommend taking the night bus! 
    • There is a transfer at the Sacramento Greyhound station to complete the journey to Chico. Upon arrival in Chico, you must call a taxi to reach your private apartment or University Housing.
  • Train to Chico - There is no regional train station in the San Francisco Airport.
    • The nearest regional train station is across the San Francisco Bay, so this method requires multiple connections by subway, walking, commuter train, and often bus.
    • Bay Area Rapid Transit(opens in new window) “BART” (subway) departs San Francisco International Airport(opens in new window).  Take BART (there is only one line in SFO) toward Pittsburg/Bay Point. Transfer at the “19th Street Oakland” to the Fremont-Richmond line toward Richmond. Get off at “Richmond” station and walk 5 minutes to the Richmond Amtrak station(opens in new window).
    • Amtrak offers several itineraries for reaching Chico which may include: a commuter train from Richmond to Sacramento and then a regional train or regional bus from Sacramento to Chico.  In either case, you must transfer train or bus in the Sacramento station(opens in new window). Upon arrival in Chico, you must call a taxi to reach your private apartment or University Housing.