About Missoula, Montana

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.  

Missoula Montana

John Steinbeck in "Travels with Charley" said it best:night scene of winter on the oval

"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…" 


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:


Kayaking in Glacier Park

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 fishing



International students in native costumes

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:


Most shops in the US are open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, but supermarkets are generally open later. Check out all the places to shop in Missoula

When entering a store, you may be asked to leave bags, backpacks or large purses, etc. with a store clerk behind a counter.  Remember your parcels when you leave.


Waiters and waitresses at restaurants and hotels, taxi drivers, and  barbers/beauticians expect tips. Fifteen percent (15%) of the bill is the usual figure for a tip. You do not tip gas station attendants, people who carry packages in stores, or restroom attendants in stores.

Living in Missoula

There is a variety of housing available throughout the Missoula area.  Before you attempt to move off-campus you should check with the Residence Life office on campus regarding whether you are permitted such a move.  

There are many housing options in the Missoula area, from large houses to apartments and rooms in private homes.  You may want to visit the Off-Campus Renter Center in the University Center for assistance with your search. 

Lease Agreements and Rental Contracts
A lease agreement or rental contract will list the terms of the monthly rent, payment dates (including deposits), and how to terminate the agreement.  Before signing a rental contract or lease, consult with the Off-Campus Renter Center.  They will review your lease agreement before you sign it.   Once you have a lease, if you are having difficulties with your landlord or rental agency, you should contact ASUM Legal Services in the University Center. 

If you are renting a house or apartment, you may be responsible for utilities. Utilities include water, electricity and gas (used for heating and sometimes cooking), garbage, and cable. The landlord or rental agency will tell you whether these will be included in the rent, or if you must contact the companies directly.  They will also tell you which companies provide service in your area.  You will need to call those companies to have service put in your name.  A deposit may be required.

Ask the landlord for an estimate of your utility bill, or with his/her permission, contact the utility offices to look up the previous year’s bill. In most areas around Missoula electricity and gas service is provided by Northwestern Energy: 1-888-467-2669.  For water service, residents in Missoula contact Mountain Water Company: 406-721-5570.  Most residents have garbage service provided by Republic Services, Inc.: 406-543-3157