|Ok, you're going to have to give us the make/model of their modem. |
Technically speaking, you should be able to plug a network cable from your laptop into the modem and access the internet.
It's a much better idea to buy a SOHO Router for around $50 (USD) though, and connect the modem to it and your laptop to the router. If you buy a wireless capable router, you can connect either via wired, or wireless once you've set the router up.
It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.