Montana State University
International Programs > Training and Special Programs > LEAP > Life in Bozeman, MT

Training Programs

Janelle Rasmussen, Director

Tel: (406) 994-7602
Fax: (406) 994-1619

MSU Office of International Programs

Montana State University
P.O. Box 172260
400 Culbertson Hall
Bozeman, MT 59717-2260

Life in Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman, MT

Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman was founded in the mid 19th century as a rest and trade stop on the trail to the gold fields of western Montana.  Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, just 90 miles north of Yellowstone National Park, it is today a thriving, safe, and hospitable community of approximately 50,000.  While retaining a small town feel, Bozeman prides itself in offering community activities and programs typically available only in larger, metropolitan areas.  Amenities include a major airport, excellent health care, a burgeoning high-tech industry, symphony, ballet, and opera companies, as well as world-class dining and entertainment venues.  Because of its Rocky Mountain location, Bozeman is also popular with outdoor enthusiasts, who come for skiing in the winter and fishing, hiking, and camping during the warmer months.



Montana State University

Tracing its roots to 1893, MSU is a comprehensive, doctoral-level, research university and is one of the United States’ premier Land-Grant universities. It has seven colleges: Agriculture, Arts and Architecture, Business, Letters and Science, Education, Health and Human Development, Engineering, and Nursing. MSU offers baccalaureate degrees in 51 fields with many different options, master's degrees in 41 fields, and doctoral degrees in 18 fields. Last year, the University conducted more than $80 million in sponsored research. MSU has a student body of approximately 12,000 (10,700 undergraduate and 1,300 graduate and continuing education).



Living in Bozeman


While in Bozeman, LEAP participants will live in an apartment located on the MSU campus. The apartments are managed by MSU's Family and Graduate Housing Office. Most LEAP participants in the past have lived in either Peter Koch of Nelson Story tower. Each apartment has a kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom, plus cable TV and Internet access. Laundry facilities are also available in each building. The apartments are approximately 15 minutes walk from the OIP and ACE offices and all classrooms.  Participants can request a roommate, if they wish.  LEAP staff encourage this option, as sharing an apartment with a native speaker is a great way to improve English skills.  If they prefer, they may also live alone. Before moving into the apartments, LEAP participants will receive a full orientation from housing office and MSU LEAP staff.  LEAP staff will also provide them with kitchen wares (cooking pots and pans, eating utensils, etc.) and other household items.

LEAP participants will have full access to the MSU campus and facilities during their stay, including use of computer labs, gymnasium, library, and health services.  They will also receive bicycles, helmets, and locks for use in getting to and from classes and in exploring Bozeman.


A number of former LEAP participants have purchased cars for use during the program. Having a car can be expensive but greatly advantages freedom of movement, nice when exploring Montana's wide-open spaces. LEAP staff will advise and assist program participants who are interested in purchasing a car. You will need a driver's license to drive in the United States. You can use an international license purchased in Japan before arriving, or apply for a Montana license after you've arrived.  To receive a Montana license you must pass a paper test, pass a driving test, and pay a small fee.  U.S. driver's licenses are valid only as long as your stay in the United States.

You should plan to pack clothing for all seasons. Spring, summer, and fall weather in Bozeman is nearly always beautiful and sunny. However, the temperatures can vary greatly and quickly throughout the course of the day. The key to dressing appropriately for Montana’s variable weather is to bring clothes that can be layered. In the spring and fall, a typical Montanan might dress in a short-sleeved T-shirt, covered by a long-sleeved button shirt, covered by a sweater. Layering clothing in this way allows you to adjust as the temperature changes. You will also want a light coat for days and evenings in spring and fall. A rain jacket or umbrella is also a very good idea. Winter clothing, such as a heavy coat, hat, and gloves or mittens, are recommended, as well, as many of the LEAP practicum sites are located in cold climates. You may choose not to pack these items, however, as they can be inexpensively purchased once you know where you are going.

At the university, dress is decidedly informal, especially during the summer. Professors, for example, seldom wear jackets or neck ties, while students frequently wear short pants and t-shirts.


If you require any prescription medications, please bring these with you. If you are under doctor's care for any condition, you might want to bring a letter from your physician describing your condition and treatment regime in case you need to see a doctor while you are in the United States.