Kansas Women's Leadership Institute
What to Expect

What to Expect


Participants will be housed in University of Kansas residence dorms for undergraduate students on Daisy Hill. Each participant will be housed in two-person rooms. Your roommate will be a woman participating in our summer Institute who is from a country different than your own.

We will provide linens that include two bath towels, two sheets, pillow with a pillowcase, two blankets and two small soaps. You may exchange your towels once per week to be laundered, but you are responsible for all other laundry costs. A laundry facility with washers and dryers is housed in the basement of the dorm. Each load of laundry will cost $1.25 to wash and $1.25 to dry.

The residence halls are normally kept very cool. You will not be able to completely turn off the cooling system in your rooms as doing so may cause condensation and leaking, so you can expect the room to be a bit colder than you are used to, even on a low setting. Therefore, please bring a few extra sweaters or sweatshirts to wear until you become acclimated to the temperature.


Temperatures in Kansas will be warm during the summer months, and the humidity can be high in the Lawrence area. Expect temperatures ranging between 85 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit at night. You will want to make sure that you have clothing that “breathes” and dries easily, particularly since we will be moving back and forth between air-conditioned rooms and the hot and humid outside environment.

Dress and Protocol

During most of the Institute you can expect to wear casual clothing. A light sweater or jacket is recommended for cooler summer evenings. More formal clothing is appropriate for some events, such as various receptions and dinners, as well as some restaurants. Light dresses, shirts and blouses with short sleeves, and light skirts/dress slacks/short pants/jeans are all certainly appropriate for regular classroom days.

You may wish to bring one or two formal outfits for special events and site visits.

  • We will be joining the women from three other summer SUSI women’s leadership institutes in DC for a Cultural Festival that will allow the women from each country to share their traditions and customs; you are welcome to bring and wear traditional attire, along with other items that you would like to share which represent your county, its culture and customs.
  • While we are in DC we will again join with the other three SUSI women’s leadership institutes for a special leadership conference held at the U.S. Department of State; you may wish to wear business casual at this event as it will feature guest speakers and Department of State staff.
  • When you are at KU, the Institute will also host a cultural dinner, starring… you, your country, and your favorite dishes from home (yes, there will be cooking involved… so bring your favorite recipe!). You are encouraged to also wear any traditional clothing for this event in which you feel comfortable (and you can wear the same attire at both the Cultural Dinner in Lawrence and the Cultural Festival in DC).

For the majority of the Institute, plan to bring comfortable shoes as we will frequently be walking – in DC, around Lawrence, and on campus. And, do be sure that at least one pair of your comfortable shoes is “closed toed”, such as tennis shoes or sneakers, as some of the activities we’ll participate in during team building exercises will require such shoes.

Electrical Appliances

The United States relies on alternating current, 60 cycles, 110-volts. If you bring electrical equipment (such as a laptop computer or a hairdryer), be sure it is compatible or bring an adapter. Adapters are not cheap in the U.S. and surprisingly difficult to find in stores, so it is best to bring one with you.

Cellular Phones

Many participants arrive with a personal cell phone only to find they do not receive service in the U.S. If you are planning to bring a phone, you should talk to your service provider before leaving about “unlocking” your phone. Also, we have found that you cannot buy “an international chip” for foreign phones here in the U.S. We will hold a session during our orientation to give you specific information from our experts about service plans, costs, etc.

For the time that you are here, the Institute will provide you with a cell phone to use for domestic calls and texting only – you will be responsible for purchasing an international calling card for international calls. The dormitory and our campus buildings will all have wireless internet access, so you will be able to access that throughout your stay and therefore can email, Skype, etc.


There is NO smoking inside ANY campus building, including dormitory rooms. If you smoke in your room, you will be responsible for paying a fine. You can smoke outside of the campus buildings, but generally you will need to be a certain distance from the doors. There is also no smoking in any Lawrence restaurants, in University-owned vehicles, and in most areas of the airport.


The Institute will pay for your housing throughout your stay in Lawrence, and we will pay for your hotel rooms during all of our travel, such as in Washington, DC. The Institute will also cover regular meals during your stay, both in Lawrence and also when we travel. If you wish to use hotel room telephones, pay television, or other personal amenities during any of our travel, you will need to bring a credit card with you to guarantee your expenses. The Institute will ONLY pay for the cost of your room in the hotel and your meals.

Per Diem

The Institute will be providing you with a per diem – a specific amount of money – for each day that you are attending the Institute. This includes days that we are in Lawrence and days that we are traveling. This money is intended to be used for incidentals and other small expenses that you may incur while at the Institute. We expect to disburse your per diems weekly throughout the Institute. During our first orientation we will cover this in more detail. Please note that the per diem allowance is set by the Department of State and is similar across all programs. If you wish to have money for shopping expenses, please bring that with you from home.


Lawrence and the University of Kansas provide a relatively safe environment. However, individuals in our community still must take personal responsibility for their own safety by being aware and alert.


We will provide transportation to all program events. We will also arrange some time for shopping, but we must stress that it is only “some” time – please do not plan or expect to be able to go shopping during regular days we are in class, nor can we make time on all of our trips for shopping. For shopping and free-time excursions in Lawrence there is a city transportation system that we will introduce everyone to at the beginning of the Institute.

A related note about shopping: Often our participants find that their families place a great deal of pressure on them to shop extensively for family members while they are in Kansas and traveling. We strongly encourage family members to understand that too often the participants are unable to freely enjoy their experience at the Institute because they are overly worried about purchasing enough gifts – please understand that most of their time will be participating in Institute sessions and seminars and that only a short, limited amount of time will be available for shopping.

 Library and Computers

On our first few days of the Institute, we will introduce you to our library system and computer facilities. We will have a tour of the campus, including the library, and instructions on how and where to access the library databases.

Debit Cards/PayPal Accounts

We have learned that PayPal accounts are a good option for some students traveling abroad. Please research the availability of this option in your country. A PayPal account can be obtained at www.paypal.com. It is important to note that at this site you can request a personal credit card that will more easily allow you to access the amount available in your account while you are traveling.

If PayPal is not an option for your country, we strongly recommend that you research options for obtaining a debit card from your bank. Carrying a debit card or credit card is strongly encouraged, particularly if family members would like to send you money while you are traveling (they could directly put money in the account which is linked to your debit card). You are encouraged to be careful about the amount of cash you carry with you due to security reasons. We have had some participants leave their wallets while eating out and lose their money – therefore, please research carefully your options for traveling with your funds as safely and securely as possible. 

Family/Friends Visitation Limits

At no time is any participant able to leave the Institute to travel with or to visit any family or friends; therefore, if you wish to have someone visit you please speak with the Institute staff to schedule a time that is not disruptive to the Institute’s schedule. It has been our habit to schedule only one date for Family/Friends visitation when we are in DC – and we will ask that everyone respect that schedule. We will be sending the schedule to you shortly, and as you will see our schedule is booked and busy with educational activities and learning. Any visitors must contact the Institute staff directly to coordinate with our scheduled activities for the day. It will be important for you to help us communicate to friends and family that the purpose of your visit here in the U.S. is first and foremost to participate in this Institute (not to visit with family and friends).

A Final Note

Just a reminder that your time will go quickly. You are only here for a short amount of time, and we encourage you to let your friends know that you will be very busy, either in classes and educational sessions or studying and getting to know the KU campus and Lawrence area. Often our participants find there is an increased expectation that they stay up to date on Facebook/email/Skype, and unfortunately they sacrifice sleep and their own enjoyment of the moment at hand to try to keep up with friends at home. While we realize that you will likely want to do some of that, our experience proves that you must do so in moderation. It is not worth it to stay up all night on Facebook/email/ Skype as you will not be able to enjoy the next day’s activities at the Institute. Therefore, please prepare your friends that you will be very busy and that you will share all of your great stories when you return home!