Help, assistance found through ISSO

Eric Debner

The fall 2012 semester signals new beginnings for many, including international students.

Every academic semester, students from all walks of life, both domestic and from across the globe, enroll at Iowa State for the opportunities it presents.

“During fall semester 2011, 3,424 international students were enrolled at Iowa State,” according to the International Students and Scholars Office’s website. “Over 700 international visiting scholars come to campus each year to teach and/or do research.”

The International Students and Scholars Office helps prepare prospective international students for their adventure at Iowa State.

Lana Seiler, administrative specialist for the International Students and Scholars Office, said there is a week-long orientation held for international students the week before every academic term.

“Some of the international orientation programs have duplicates of information from the domestic orientation, such as info about the police, campus tours and U-Bill. However, these orientations also provide a specialized sort of information tailored specifically to them,” said James Dorsett, director of the office.

These specialized programs include presentations such as U.S. Academic Environment and U.S. Culture to help them learn more about their new home and academic community.

“Domestic students don’t need to learn about immigration documents and U.S. culture because they already live here,” Dorsett said.

Nur Surya Abu, sophomore in journalism and mass communication from Malaysia, just began her first year in the United States and participated in the orientation, which began Monday, Aug. 13.

“On Monday, we went as a small group and the group leader showed us around campus — I didn’t know campus was so huge,” Abu said. “Our leader was helpful; she showed us where stuff was, like where to get a haircut.”

The following day, she said she learned how to set up a bank account whereas Wednesday the presentations focused on class experiences.

Incoming international students have a number of checkpoints to pass through in order to finalize registration and enrollment at Iowa State.

“International students flying in have their passports stamped at customs that we check for when they come here,” Dorsett said.

Dorsett said it is vital for international students to have their correct name and date of birth present on every document.

“In general, you want your passport, I-30 and I-94 document to have same name and birth date,” Dorsett said. “Problems arise if any information is incorrect on any document.”