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Current ISO Student News

Issue 9: January 15, 2015

 

 

Table of Contents

  1. Welcome and Welcome Back for 2015! (more)
  2. Reminder: Full-Time Registration Requirement (more)
  3. Free English Conversation Classes starting February 2 (more)
  4. ISO Employment Workshop for Graduating Students – February 20 (more)
  5. Getting Ready for Tax Season (more)
  6. Sign Up Now for the ISO Ski Trip! – February 21 (more)
  7. RGC Spotlight: Country Western Line Dance and Chili Dinner – February 6 (more)
  8. Campus Focus: Winterfest (1/30 to 2/1) & inspireDANCE Festival (2/5 to 2/10) (more)

Welcome and Welcome Back for 2015!

The International Services Office (ISO) would like to offer a warm welcome to the newest members of our international community at the University of Rochester!  To our returning students, we wish you a wonderful new year and a good term at UR.

As always, our staff is committed to helping you make the most of your academic program and life in the U.S.  Throughout the year, we hope you will feel free to contact the ISO with any questions or concerns you may have.  Currently, our office is regularly open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday.  You are encouraged to make an appointment to discuss any matters in detail by phoning the office at 585-275-2866.  A student advisor is available for short walk-in advising every afternoon, between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm.  Students at the Eastman School of Music may visit with an ISO advisor on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm.  You will also find extensive resources on our website and may request certain letters and services, as you need them: www.iso.rochester.edu.

If this is your first edition of “ISO Student News” please note the email address and subject line.  This is generally the best and most efficient way to keep our international students informed of important deadlines, new changes to immigration regulations, and upcoming social programs and events!!  Look for future issues of ISO Student News coming twice per month.

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Reminder: Full-Time Registration Requirement

The ISO is required to report every academic term whether all F-1 and J-1 students are maintaining a full-time course load.  Please verify that you are registered for the appropriate credits this term.  Full-time enrollment is 12 credits per semester, 9 credits per quarter, or equivalent registration (with certain courses or other academic activities such as a Teaching or Research Assistantship).  If you need to request an authorized Reduced Course Load, you will find the necessary form online.  If needed, please speak to an International Student Advisor before you drop below your required credits.  Unauthorized part-time enrollment is a violation of F-1 and J-1 student status.

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ISO Employment Workshop for Graduating Students – February 20

The ISO has scheduled an employment workshop in February.  If you are thinking about work options for after graduation, we encourage you to attend this session to learn more about your eligibility and the application procedures for the necessary work permission.  This workshop will cover work authorizations available to graduating F-1 students, including information on Optional Practical Training and the transition to the H-1B, extensions to OPT, unemployment, and travel.  This workshop will also offer detailed guidance on applying for OPT.

Work After Graduation & OPT Application Procedures
Friday, February 20th - 11:00 am to 12:00 pm
207 Schlegel Hall, River Campus

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Free English Conversation Classes starting February 2

The Warner School of Education is again partnering with the ISO to offer Free English Conversation Classes!  Classes will run for 10 weeks, starting February 2 and ending April 24.  Classes will not be held between March 7 and March 22 due to Spring Breaks.  There are three available sections.  Please choose the one that best suits your schedule and language needs.  Your class section options are the following:

Tuesdays, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm (Beginner Level)
Wednesdays, 5:00 - 6:00 pm (Practical Conversation Skills)
OR
Thursday, 3:00 - 4:00 pm (Practical Conversation Skills)

You may sign-up for an English Conversation class starting Monday, January 19 at 10:00am.  There are limited spots available in each section, so don't delay in signing up!  To sign up for a class section, please use the online form: http://goo.gl/forms/XPuuuj9MNq.  If you have any questions, please email questions@iso.rochester.edu.

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Getting Ready for Tax Season

International students who were present in the U.S. during any part of 2014 must comply with Federal and State tax filing requirements.  All F-1 and J-1 students who are categorized as Non-Resident Aliens for Tax Purposes must file a Federal Tax Statement (Form 8843), regardless of whether any income was earned.  Additionally, any student who has earned income while in the U.S. during 2014 may also need to file income tax forms for Federal and State earnings.

Over the next several weeks, you may receive important tax forms by mail from the University, off-campus U.S. employers, banks, or other financial institutions.  Do not discard these forms!  You will need to use them when preparing to file your 2014 taxes.

To help in understanding your U.S. tax obligations, several resources will again be available to UR international students.  The GLACIER software system can help to determine your tax filing category and will allow access to its tax preparation program beginning in February.  More details regarding additional tax resources, including the return of ISO's GLACIER Tax Prep Consultant, will be published in future issues of ISO Student News.  Please see our Tax Flyer for additional details.

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Sign Up Now for the ISO Ski Trip! – February 21

ISO Ski Trip
Saturday, February 21 - 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Swain Ski Resort
Take a day trip with the ISO to Swain Ski Center this upcoming February!  For students who are interested in skiing or snowboarding (standing upright, on two skis or one wide board), the price will be $110 per person and includes the following: roundtrip transportation, lift ticket, equipment rental, and a lesson.  If you are new to winter sports or not as comfortable in the snow, you may want to try snow tubing (sitting on a large rubber tube, like a sled).  The cost for this option will be $40 per person, which includes tube rental and roundtrip transportation.  If you want to do both, skiing or snowboarding AND tubing, the cost will be $115.  You may now sign up for your preferred choice in the ISO.  Accepted payments are cash or check only.  There are limited seats, so please book your spot early!  If you have any questions, please contact Stephanie Johnson at sjohnson@iso.rochester.edu.  Please see the ISO Ski Trip Flyer for additional details and an important note regarding the refund policy.

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RGC Spotlight: Country Western Line Dance and Chili Dinner – February 6

Country Western Line Dance and Chili Dinner
Friday, February 6 - 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Carmen Clark Lodge, Brighton Town Park, 777 Westfall Road

Please join Rochester Global Connections as it hosts its annual Country Western Line Dance and Chili Dinner on Friday, February 6!  The program will be held at the Carmen Clark Lodge at Brighton Town Park, 777 Westfall Road.  It will include a traditional western dinner of chili and corn bread, all free to international students, scholars, and their families.  Line dancing is a popular dance form for young and old, experienced and first-timers alike, with foot stomping and hand slapping done to traditional Country Western music and disco beats.  Dress casually – jeans and a t-shirt are fine – and wear comfortable shoes with a smooth sole (sneakers are difficult to dance in).  Please submit your intent to participate by using the reservation form online, and indicate whether you will need transportation: http://www.rochesterglobalconnections.org/events/line-dance-and-chili-supper1.  Please call Amy at RGC if you have any questions (585-275-8779).

Rochester Global Connections (RGC) is a community-based volunteer organization that provides services to international students and Department of State visitors in the Rochester area. The International Services Office (ISO) hosts RGC at the University of Rochester and co-sponsors all events and activities.  For more information about RGC, visit their website at www.rochesterglobalconnections.org.

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Campus Focus: Winterfest (1/30 to 2/1) & inspireDANCE Festival (2/5 to 2/10)

College Community Weekend: Winterfest
January 30 - February 1
University of Rochester

Enjoy the winter splendor that Rochester has to offer by hanging out with your friends roasting marshmallows around our fire pits or cuddling up to cute huskies.  Visit the Winter Wonderland for good eats, giveaways, games and more.  During the weekend don’t forget to get your groove on at the annual Step Show or get a belly laugh with our featured comedian of the weekend.  Also not to be missed are the Iron Chef challenge in Danforth, UR Idol and the Study Abroad Expo. All of these events are guaranteed to drive away the winter blahs.  For more information about Winterfest, contact the Wilson Commons Common Connection at 275-5911 or e-mail connect@sao.rochester.edu.

5th Annual inspireDANCE Festival
February 5 - 10
University of Rochester
The fifth annual inspireDANCE Festival will take place here on the UR campus over six days from February 5-10, 2015 with the inspireJAM featuring a Bboy and Bgirl Battle, hip hop, house and breaking workshops (February 6), and Doug Elkins Choreography Etc. performing a contemporary take on Othello set to Motown music (February 8 at 3:00 pm).  Festival events will also feature dance from cultures all over the world, with 30 dance classes/workshops, a UR student dance group Kickoff Concert called UR Dances (February 5 at 8:00 pm in Spurrier), and the Step Show (February 7 in Strong Auditorium).  Along with the entire faculty of the Program of Dance and Movement, a diverse pool of professional guest teachers will visit our campus to share a variety of dance forms and perspectives.  Workshops in Contemporary, Jamaican Dancehall, Caribbean dance, Bharata Natyam, Ballet, Hip Hop, House, Yoga, Capoeira, West African Dance, Middle Eastern Dance and more will be featured.  For more information, please visit rochester.edu/college/dance/events or call 585-273-5150.  

 

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Editor: Lena Ovcharov, International Student Advisor