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Current ISO Student News

Issue 15: April 15, 2015

 

 

Table of Contents

  1. Tax Forms Must be Postmarked by Today, April 15! (more)
  2. Update on H-1B Cap & Cap-Gap Extension  (more)
  3. Summer 2015 Intensive ESL Program (more)
  4. RGC Spotlight: 58th Annual Awards Dinner - Sunday, May 3 (more)
  5. Campus Focus: Free Flamenco Dance Workshop (4/18) & Balinese Percussion Ensemble (4/27) (more)

 


Tax Forms Must be Postmarked by Today, April 15!

Today is Tax Day in the U.S.!  In order to avoid late fees or penalties, all required tax forms must be in the mail no later than today, Wednesday, April 15.  The Postal Service will likely hold extended hours today, to allow late filers to meet this deadline.  To find out which branches will offer extended hours, you can call them at (800) ASK-UPS, or 800-275-8777.

If you are unable to complete your tax return and mail it today, you may want to request an extension.  “Requesting an automatic extension” means you send the government a form that will automatically grant you an additional 6 months to file your tax form without penalty for filing late.  You should send a separate extension request to both the Internal Revenue Service for your federal taxes, and to New York or any other state where you earned money in 2014.  However, all extension requests must also be postmarked by April 15!  This automatically gives you until October 15 to file your completed tax forms with the IRS and the state(s).  While most students will not owe any additional money for taxes, any money that you do owe may be subject to interest charges.  Instructions to file for an extension are listed below.  You should keep a copy of each form and enclose a copy with your tax return when you do file.  Please see Issue 14 of ISO Student News for instructions about how to file for an extension.

Reminder: International students must be careful to file the appropriate tax forms depending on their tax status.  Most tax software programs assume that the filer is a U.S. citizen, Permanent Resident, or Resident Alien for tax purposes.  If you are a Non-Resident Alien for tax purposes, the GLACIER Tax Prep software will calculate your taxes and prepare the correct forms.  GLACIER Tax Prep is your best resource for guidance through the non-resident alien tax process, unless you prefer to pay for professional services or prepare the forms on your own.  You should not use TurboTax, or other similar software programs, unless you are a Resident Alien for tax purposes.  As a reminder, your GLACIER Tax Prep record determines your current tax status.  It is considered fraud to file tax forms that are not appropriate to your status.  If you are a non-resident alien for tax purposes who has used tax software other than GLACIER Tax Prep in error, please contact our GLACIER Tax Prep consultant (rosemarie.eskes@rochester.edu) for information about how to amend your tax returns.


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Update on H-1B Cap & Cap-Gap Extension

USCIS received about 233,000 H-1B petitions during this year's H-1B filing period, which began April 1.  Due to this high number of H-1B petitions received within the first week of the H-1B filing season, USCIS held a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select H-1B subject cases for processing on April 13.  USCIS will now proceed to reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees.

Please note, an employer is the first to be notified of a successfully filed petition, via notice from USCIS.  This means that ISO will be unable to verify a successfully filed H-1B petition for a student in SEVIS without first receiving a copy of the H-1B receipt notice.

If an H-1B petition has been successfully filed on your behalf, please be sure to inform the ISO by using the online OPT reporting form and submit a copy of your H-1B receipt to opt@rochester.edu.  The filing of your H-1B petition may make you eligible for the cap-gap extension, which extends your OPT work authorization to the time when the H1-B will start on October 1.  Please see the ISO webpage about the Cap-Gap Extension for more information.

You can also find more information about the H1-B cap online.

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Summer 2015 Intensive ESL Program

The 2015 University of Rochester Summer Intensive English Program is offering an opportunity for students to practice and refine advanced practical English skills.  The program will concentrate on conversational speaking, pronunciation/accent reduction, pragmatics (cultural context and language), and classroom English.  The Summer Intensive English Program is unique in that it will offer a series of mini-sessions each with targeted language improvement goals.  The program may be taken on a full-time or part-time basis, depending on how many sections a participant chooses to take.  The full-time program consists of all sessions offered (listed below), or you may enroll in individual class sections.  For F-1 and J-1 students on their annual vacation term or who are already maintaining full-time enrollment, these classes will not impact your immigration status.  For F-2 dependents and others without full-time study permissions, you may want to consult with ISO before completing registration.  Fees apply.  Additional information may be found online: www.rochester.edu/college/osp/summer/esl.

American Culture and Communication for Speakers of English as a Second Language (ESL)
offered July 27-July 31, M-F, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm 
Description: This highly-interactive class is aimed at advanced speakers of English as a Second language and teaches strategies for navigating everyday work and life situations in culturally savvy and linguistically intelligible ways.  This class is designed  for professionals whose job involves extensive spoken interpersonal communication, such as medical practitioners and teaching assistants/instructors; linguistically and culturally challenging situations such as giving advice, relating disagreeable facts, making presentations, negotiating, networking, and interviewing for a job will be covered.

Advanced Conversational English Grammar (for ESL speakers)
offered August 3-August 21, M-F, from 9:00 am to 10:15 am 
Description: This class is designed for speakers of English as a Second language who are already familiar with English grammar rules, but still struggle to use them when speaking.  This class will systematically review grammar rules and then provide students with conversational activities and intensive instructor feedback to help correct fossilized mistakes.

English Pronunciation and Accent Reduction (for ESL speakers) 
offered August 3-August 21, M-F, from 10:15 am to 11:30 am 
Description: This class teaches the basics of how sounds are made with the mouth, and the “musical patterns” [prosody] of English.  Learners will have abundant, interactive opportunities to apply this knowledge to their own speech and become better understood by their listeners.

Conversational English Skills (for ESL speakers)
offered August 3-August 21, M-F, from 11:45 am to 1:00 pm 
Description: In this practical and highly participatory course, students will take part in interactive discussions, role-plays, and debates.  Subsequent to the speaking activities, the instructor will offer an explanation of student mistakes and areas for improvement, thus helping students to identify and address areas of weaknesses.  This course is an excellent opportunity to improve English speaking and listening skills in a supportive and fun environment.

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RGC Spotlight
: 58th Annual Awards Dinner - Sunday, May 3

RGC 58th Annual Awards Dinner
Sunday, May 3 at 5:00PM
The Rochester Club Ballroom

Rochester Global Connections will hold its 58th Annual International Awards Dinner on Sunday, May 3 at 5:00PM.  This evening will include entertainment by the Ukrainian vocal ensemble, "Malvy."  Please contact RGC for additional information.

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
: Free Flamenco Dance Workshop (4/18) & Balinese Percussion Ensemble (4/27)

The ISO would like to share the following event details:

Free Flamenco Dance Workshop
Saturday - April 18, 12:30 - 2:00PM
Spurrier Dance Studio, River Campus
The University of Rochester Program of Dance and Movement is offering a FREE Flamenco Dance Workshop this month!  This workshop will teach participants some of the basic rhythms and movement style in Flamenco.  After learning las palmas (rhythmic hand-clapping), the workshop will delve into braceo (arm-work) and zapateo (footwork), putting together numerous exercises to form a short choreographic combination.

Balinese Percussion Ensemble
Monday - April 27, 8:00PM
Kilbourn Hall, Eastman School of Music

As part of the Eastman School of Music's World Music Concert Series, Eastman's Gamelan Lila Muni will perform a Balinese Percussion Ensemble.  "Founded in 1993, Gamelan Lila Muni (Heavenly Sound) is a Balinese gamelan angklung orchestra.  This kind of ensemble, one of more than 25 distinct types found on the island of Bali, is traditionally played only for ceremonial and ritual functions.  In the 20th century, newer styles of composition transferred into the gamelan angklung repertoire.  This ensemble now commonly plays a large variety of music ranging from traditional, ceremonial music to modern secular dances."  Tickets may be purchased in person at the Eastman Theatre Box Office, by phone (585-454-2100), or online.

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Editor: Lena Ovcharov, International Student Advisor