Maximizing Services for International Students at US Universities After Enrollment | Best Colleges

Prospective international students probably know that they can turn to the International Student Services offices of American universities for help with immigration and orientation. But the services provided by the ISS offices do not stop there and can include activities throughout the year.

Here are some ways international students can plan to get the most out of their school’s ISS office after arriving on campus.

To advise. Although it is common for US universities to have academic advisers and advisers for both domestic and international students, some ISS offices offer additional advising services for current international students that deal with issues other than academics. immigration and visas.

Rick Lane, director of international student services at the University of Illinois at Springfield, explains that international students visit the ISS office in person or contact staff by phone or email with academic concerns, cultural, social and personal.

“They feel comfortable discussing this with us, both because of the wide range of international life experiences represented by our advisors and because we established a valuable relationship with them before they came to the United States. United,” Lane said.

The University of Washington offers counseling on topics such as taking classes at another school, travel, Social Security Number eligibility, and on-campus employment. The University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign has consultative appointments for spouses and families of international students regarding their cultural, social, and educational needs.

Jody Pritt, director of international student services at the University of South Carolina, said international students should make their school’s ISS office their first stop for advice.

“We advise on matters ranging from obtaining a U.S. driver’s license to obtaining health insurance, or identifying opportunities for them to engage in community service, not to mention personal needs like finding housing, vaccination requirements, setting up cell phone service and much more,” says Pritt.

Workshops. After enrolling, international students should plan to take advantage of workshops offered by their school’s ISS office on topics ranging from travel to financial management and more.

“I attended many of these workshops,” says Mustafa Al-Qadi, an Iraqi national, a doctoral student in electrical engineering at the University of Kansas.

For example, he attended “When Love Crosses Boundaries,” a workshop organized by the university’s ISS office and presented by the school’s student legal services office; he focused on how students who marry U.S. citizens can apply for U.S. citizenship.

Al-Qadi also participated in workshops titled “Optional Practical Training and Academic Training for International Students”, “Essentials of Car Ownership for International Students” and “Income Tax Workshop for international students”.

The University of Texas at Dallas also hosts workshops, such as “Study Abroad for International Students” three to four times a year, with the most recent taking place in June.

“Each semester, various sessions are held in coordination with multiple campus departments on topics related to student safety, health, transportation, and career readiness,” says Josephine K. Vitta, Director of Student Services. international students at the University of Texas. Dallas International Center. .

Pritt says the ISS office at the University of South Carolina hosts several employment workshops throughout the year, including one in which a local immigration attorney discusses immigration issues at consider after graduation. She says the school also has a workshop showing students how to use software to manage their taxes.

“These are some of what we consider to be the essential support services that we provide,” Pritt said.

Travel and activities. International students can also plan to explore their new community through trips and other activities organized by ISS offices throughout the year, including summer events at select universities.

“We have a regular series during the academic year that we call our Kansas City Trip Series. About three times a semester, we’ll plan a trip to an interesting place in Kansas City: the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. , the city market, a sporting event, a special show, or an exhibit,” says Charles Olcese, director of international student services at the University of Kansas.

Olcese says interested students should sign up for the trips and the school will arrange transportation. The activities are very popular, he says, and many married students with children enjoy trips to Kansas City.

Vitta says the University of Texas International Center at Dallas similarly organizes local trips to the Dallas area for sporting events, museums and other places for international students to experience culture and traditions. Americans.

And Pritt says the University of South Carolina’s ISS office offers students the opportunity to get off campus and learn about the surrounding community year-round.

“We’ve taken students to nearby cities like Charleston and Savannah for a day of exploration, but we’ve also found unique opportunities for them to attend cultural events like a NASCAR race, NBA game, or visit of a historic home,” says Pritt. .

Al-Qadi says some of his favorite activities include the International Trivia Nights, the Kansas City Trip Series and the Clinton Lake BBQ events hosted by the ISS office at the University of Kansas. He says the many services provided by ISS have helped him feel more welcome and involved in the community.

“It had a great positive impact on my academic, social and cultural experiences here at KU,” says Al-Qadi.