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Current ISO Student News

Issue 10: February 1, 2016

 

Table of Contents

  1. Tax Resources and Documentation for 2015 Calendar Year  (more)
  2. English Conversation Skills (ECS) Program – Sign Up February 2  (more)
  3. "Work After Graduation" Workshop for F-1 Students - Friday, February 19  (more)
  4. Campus Climate Survey - Due February 15! (more)
  5. Increase in International Student Fee (more)
  6. Surviving Crisis Abroad: A Support and Discussion Group for International Students (more)
  7. Become an International Student Mentor!  Applications due February 12 (Undergrads Only) (more)
  8. RGC SpotlightGeorge Eastman House Tour – Saturday, February 27 (more)
  9. Campus FocusCelebrating the Lunar New Year Event (2/12) & China Nite Show (2/13)  (more)


 

Tax Resources and Documentation for 2015 Calendar Year

International students who were present in the U.S. during any portion of 2015 must comply with Federal and State tax filing requirements.  All F-1 students in the U.S. for less than 5 years and all J-1 students in the U.S. for less than 2 years 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 2015 must also file tax forms for Federal and State earnings.  The ISO website has been updated for 2016 to assist you as you prepare to file your taxes.  Please see detailed information on our website and tax flyer

GLACIER Tax Prep (GTP): The GLACIER Tax Prep software program is now accessible through GLACIER.  GTP is a companion program to GLACIER and is offered free of charge to our international student population at the University.  This program will help you to identify which tax forms you need to file and will generate them electronically when available.  Stay tuned for an email from GLACIER with details on how to access GTP, delivered to the email address you currently have listed in system.  If necessary, you may request a reset to your GLACIER login online at www.online-tax.net.  There are certain documents you will need in order to complete your tax forms.  For a summary of any University of Rochester earnings, you may access your W-2 electronically through HRMS Employee Self-Service.  Forms 1042-S for 2015 have been released and are also available via GLACIER, if you indicated electronic delivery in the system.

If you are a Non-Resident Alien for tax purposes, do not use any tax software program other than GLACIER Tax Prep.  Other online and advertised tax programs do not usually satisfy Non-Resident Alien requirements, so GTP is your best option for filing your taxes correctly.  If you will need assistance with your tax forms via GTP, please do not delay in making an appointment with ISO’s GLACIER Tax Prep Consultant, Rosemarie Eskes.  Rosemarie will be available starting February 15th to help students in using GTP and preparing the appropriate tax forms.  Appointments are FREE for international students, but must be scheduled in advance via an online form: http://www.iso.rochester.edu/taxes/file/gtpappt.html.  Appointments are available on River Campus and at Eastman School of Music.  You may also email with simple tax questions: tax@iso.rochester.edu.

Warning: Be aware of financial scams!  Tax season can be stressful and confusing, especially if you do not know or understand exactly what is required.  Some people will try to take advantage of this confusion and may attempt to gain access to your personal and financial information for harmful purposes.  Please find recent examples on our website:http://www.iso.rochester.edu/taxes/file/scams.html.  When necessary, the U.S. government will only contact you in writing by regular mail.  Additionally, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), GLACIER or GLACIER Tax Prep software programs, and University offices will NEVER ask you to disclose your SSN/ITIN or other personal identification information by email!

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Free English Conversation Skills (ECS) Program - Sign Up February 2!


The Warner School of Education is again partnering with the ISO to offer a free English Conversation Skills (ECS) Program!  Classes will run for about 10 weeks, starting the week of February 8; there will be no classes held during the weeks of Spring Break from March 5 through March 20.  There are three available sections, a beginner level course and two practical conversation skills courses, so that you may choose 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, 3:20 - 4:20 pm (Practical Conversation Skills)

You may sign up for an English Conversation Skills course starting Tuesday, February 2 at 12:00 noon.  To sign up for a class section, please use the online reservation form:  http://goo.gl/forms/Rm3DSI1syh.  There are a limited number of spots available in each class, so don't delay in signing up!  If you have any questions, please email questions@iso.rochester.edu.

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"Work After Graduation" Workshop for F-1 Students - Friday, February 19

Work After Graduation & OPT Application Procedures
Friday, February 19 - 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
207 Schlegel Hall, River Campus

Immigration work permission for graduating students requires planning and preparation!  Join ISO for a detailed discussion of work options available to graduating F-1 students, including information on F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) and transitions to the H-1B Temporary Worker visa category.  We will also address common travel concerns and questions.  This program is open to international students from all UR academic divisions, both graduate and undergraduate.  If you will be graduating this May or June (or even earlier), this is the time to start planning!

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Campus Climate Survey - Due February 15

The Paul J. Burgett Intercultural Center is asking students to complete the Campus Climate Survey, a national survey that seeks opinions about your academic work, interaction with faculty and peers, participation in campus activities, perceptions of the climate on campus, and use of campus services.  Students in the School of Arts & Sciences, the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, and the Eastman School of Music will have received an invitation to participate by email today, and are asked to complete this survey by February 15.  Information obtained in this survey will be used to better understand and improve your experience as a student at UR!  As an international student, it is very important that you take this opportunity to share your experiences with UR because your feedback will help in the development and improvement of student services!

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Increase in International Student Fee

Upon guidance from University administration and comparison to peer institutions, it had been recommended that ISO increase the International Student Fee that is charged annually to full-time students enrolled throughout UR’s academic programs.  The fee had been $25 previously and is currently $50 for the 2015-2016 year.  However, rather than charging this fee once in the fall term, as we had in the past, the preferred method is to run billing twice per year: $25 in fall and $25 in spring (winter term for Simon School).  This allows us to better match our support services and programming with those who are currently enrolled and can utilize those resources.  These include English conversation classes, tax compliance assistance, online video tools, sponsored campus programming, and additional offerings that ISO continues to develop.  There has been some confusion with billing this term because students may not have been aware that the fee increased and the fall term charge was identical to last year.  We regret any concerns this may have raised but confirm that current charges are accurate.  If you have comments or concerns, please send us a message at questions@iso.rochester.edu.

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Surviving Crisis Abroad: A Support and Discussion Group for International Students

How do you study and stay focused when there is chaos and crisis in your home country or region and you are thousands of miles away? This discussion group aims to provide a safe supportive space to those students involved directly or indirectly by international areas in crisis (war, natural disaster, political strife, etc.). 

We imagine it being a challenge to navigate being in a competitive academic setting and at the same time being from or knowing loved ones from international areas in crisis.  The experience of being in group can also help you to provide support for others in similar circumstances.  We welcome undergraduate and graduate students to share their experiences as they service to balance very different contexts and realities.  The group will meet once a month during the academic year and will be co-facilitated by therapists from the University Counseling Center. 

Spring 2016 Semester Meetings:

12:00PM – 1st Thursdays of the month: February 4, March 3, April 7
Havens Lounge, Wilson Commons, River Campus

Refreshments will be served!  Meetings will be approximately an hour long.  This is an open group, which means that coming to one meeting does not mean you have to come every month.  You are welcome to come to as many meetings as you would like.

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Become an International Student Mentor (ISM)!  Applications due February 12 (Undergrads Only)

ISM Information Session
Wednesday, February 3 - 5:00 to 6:00 pm
Gowen Room, Wilson Commons

Gain leadership and mentoring experience while having a ton of fun and making new friends!  The College is looking for some very special students to serve as an International Student Mentor (ISM) for a group of 10-15 incoming international students.  Mentors will provide the personal attention and guidance required for new international students to successfully transition to UR and U.S. life. 

International Student Mentors (ISM’s) are responsible for assisting the professional and student Orientation staff with many aspects of the August Orientation Programs. Starting in June, ISMs are expected to be in communication with their group of international mentees in order to answer any questions they may have about their arrival to campus. ISMs support and work all events during International Student Orientation as well as function as Orientation Volunteers during the rest of Orientation Week. ISMs are expected to create and maintain a general atmosphere of welcome and helpfulness for incoming international students and their families.  In addition, ISMs are expected to assist in the development of small- and large-scale during the Fall semester to engage both international and domestic students through creative and innovative programming.

More details are available in the application.  Applications must be received by Friday, February 12 at 5:00 pm.  Apply today!  You can find more information and application materials online.  If you have questions about this program, please email Michael Dedes at michael.v.dedes@rochester.edu.

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RGC Spotlight: George Eastman House Tour - Saturday, February 27

George Eastman House Tour
Saturday, February 27
12:15 pm to 2:30 pm
900 East Ave, Rochester, NY 14607


George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film, the world’s oldest photography museum and one of the world’s oldest film archives, combines the world’s leading collections of photography and film with George Eastman's elegant mansion and gardens.  This private tour includes the photography exhibit and house tour by Docent, Josephine Perini.  Please look out for RGC’s online reservation form soon.  

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 most events and activities.  For more information about RGC, visit their website at www.rochesterglobalconnections.org.

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Campus Focus: Celebrating the Lunar New Year Event (2/12) & China Nite Show (2/13)

Celebrating the Lunar New Year
Friday, February 12
2:00 to 3:00 PM
Hawkins-Carlson Room, Rush Rhees Library

The River Campus Libraries’ URIC team will host an event – “Celebrating the Lunar New Year” on Friday, February, 12.  This event will showcase five Asian cultures on celebrating the lunar new year.   The countries and regions that will be represented in this event are China, Hong Kong, Korea, Vietnam, and Taiwan.

 

China Nite: Year of the Monkey
Saturday, February 13
7:30 PM 
Strong Auditorium
Celebrate the Lunar New Year at China Nite, hosted by the Chinese Student Association!  The show will feature traditional and modern Chinese cultural performances through song, dance, and other talents showcased in a play celebrating the New Year.  Tickets are available for purchase at the Common Market.  For information, contact the Common Connection at 585-275-5911.

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Editor: Lena Ovcharov, International Student Advisor