About Missoula, Montana

International students hike the M trail above campus

Although there are several hypotheses on how Missoula got its name, it is believed that it originated from the Salish Indian language, meaning “near the cold, chilling waters,” “river of awe,” or “sparkling waters.” Missoula is a city of an estimated 73,340 people and combines small town friendliness and comfort with the entertainment and convenience of a big city.  

John Steinbeck in "Travels with Charley" said it best:

"I am in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection but with Montana it is love, and it is difficult to analyze love when you're in it…" 

 Weather and Climate

International Students pose for photo on the snowy UM quad

Missoula has four seasons, summer, fall, winter and spring. The average low temperature in winter is 25F/-3C. The average high temperature in summer is 84F/28C.

In general, University students dress informally for classes. In the warmer months you will see students wearing shorts, jean, trousers, t-shirts, blouses, sandals and tennis shoes. As the temperature get colder students begin to wear long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, long pants, jackets, hats, gloves and warm shoes or boots. You can plan to purchase your cold weather clothing in Missoula once the weather begins to get colder.

Check out the weather in Missoula right now! 


International Students at Glacier Park

The storied history of this part of the country is the stuff of legend. Countless generations of peoples have traveled to and lived in Western Montana. Some moved on after brief visits; others never left. All share a common sense of awe and wonder at the natural beauty of the area, but the people and their cultures make this, truly, the last best place. Below are some resources to help you discover Western Montana:


International Student fishing

Recreating in the great outdoors is a way of life in Western Montana. Travel times to blue-ribbon trout streams, world-class ski resorts, and wilderness areas are measured in minutes, not hours. Missoula is also regarded as a major destination for cultural events, concerts, theater, and festivals. The University of Montana attracts performances from world-class entertainers, such as the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Brad Paisley, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Daniel Tosh, just to name a few. Check out these resources to find places to play:

 International Student at Snow Bowl


UM International Students

Since first moving into the region more than 10,000 years ago, people have continued to adapt and live in the unique environment of the Rocky Mountains of Montana. Many of their cultural values, such as a sincere respect and appreciation of the environment and hospitality to visitors, have continued to influence those who live here today. Use the following resources to help you understand how you can become a part of our community: