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ISSS-BU NEWS FOR MONDAY, 05 May 2014


An electronic news service for international students and scholars, owned by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services at Binghamton University, State University of New York

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CONTENTS:
1. Traveling soon?
2. Tell ISSS About Your Spring Break!
3. Pursuit of Academic Success Group Meeting
4. MRC Speaking Up and Getting Support
5. Request for Pictures from Graduating Students
6. Spring International Student Graduation Reception Thursday, May 15
7. Planning to Work in the United States This Summer?
8. DISCO Career Fairs for Japanese-English Bilinguals
9. Leadership Volunteers Needed - Fall 2014 International Student Orientation
10. Become a Global Studies Minor
11. Did You Receive A Grade of "Incomplete" in Fall 2013?
12. Registering for Less Than a Full Time Course Load for Fall 2014?

 1. Traveling soon?

All BU international students are reminded to check their most recent SEVIS I-20 or SEVIS DS-2019 to be sure they have an updated travel signature from the ISSS. If the travel signature (on the bottom of Page 3 of the I-20, or in the lower right hand section of Page 1 of the DS-2019) will be more than 12 months old when you return to the United States to resume classes in the Fall, come to the ISSS for an updated signature BEFORE you travel.

 2. Tell ISSS About Your Spring Break!

Did you do something fun, different, adventurous, or educational over spring break? If so, ISSS wants to know about it! Send your 2014 Spring Break stories and/or photos to ltorrice@binghamton.edu. After review, select stories may be published and/or highlighted. Everyone that submits a story will be entered into a raffle to receive a gift card!

Questions? Contact Linda Torricelli, ISSS Programming Coordinator, at ltorrice@binghamton.edu.

 3. Pursuit of Academic Success Group Meeting

The Pursuit of Academic Success group assists international students in maximizing their academic achievement. Each week a different challenge or barrier to academic success is discussed. This group is a drop-in meeting and weekly attendance is not required. All international students are invited!

Week 12: Stress Management II

"Finals are next week!! Should I feel great? I feel overwhelmed. I cannot concentrate. I am easily irritated by nothing. I feel heavy and tense. It is becoming difficult to fall asleep."

Are you feeling this way? If so, please join us to discuss your stress and to learn about strategies for stress management. Stress management is important for achieving academic success. This is our last meeting of the semester. Please join us and share your successful semester!

Facilitator: Dr. Sangmoon Kim
When: Wednesday May 7, 2014 from 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Location: ISSS Conference Room (Hinman Commons Building, Room 120-B)

Questions? Contact Dr. Sangmoon Kim at 777-2772 or sakim@binghamton.edu

 4. MRC Speaking Up and Getting Support

The Multicultural Resource Center invites you to MRC Speaking Up and Getting Support at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 7, in UU-108. Join us for some fun activities and connect with students, faculty and staff who are interested in wellness. This event is free, and dinner will be provided. For more information, contact Mengchen Huang, MRC Program Coordinator, at mhuang@binghamton.edu or 777-6071.

5. Request for Pictures from Graduating Students

The Spring 2014 International Student Graduation Reception will be held on Thursday, May 15, 2014. Please help ISSS make this event extra special by sending ISSS 2 or 3 pictures of your time here at Binghamton. These pictures should be e-mailed to Linda Torricelli at ltorrice@binghamton.edu by Thursday, May 8, 2014.

6. Spring International Student Graduation Reception Thursday, May 15

Students who are graduating or completing their programs at the end of the Spring 2014 semester have been invited to attend the twenty-eighth annual Spring International Student Graduation Reception on Thursday, May 15, 2014 in the University Union Old Union Hall. Please click here to view official invitation and to RSVP.

7. Planning to Work in the United States This Summer?

International students in F-1 or J-1 status are reminded that all off-campus employment must be authorized! This includes summer internships and other forms of off-campus employment. Do not jeopardize your non-immigrant status through unauthorized employment. If you have any questions, please come to the ISSS, send an email to the ISSS employment team at intl.work@binghamton.edu or visit the employment section of the ISSS website.

8. DISCO Career Fairs for Japanese-English Bilinguals

DISCO International, is the organizer of the largest job fair for Japanese-English bilinguals. With opportunities to meet companies face-to-face, we encourage Japanese-English bilingual students to take advantage of these events. Travel scholarships are available for students and there is no fee to register or attend.

Tokyo Summer Career Forum 2014
June 28 & 29, 2014
Tokyo Big Sight (Tokyo, Japan)
http://www.careerforum.net/event/tks/?ref=201422&lang=E

Los Angeles Career Forum 2014
Oct. 4 & 5, 2014
Loews Hollywood Hotel, The Ray Dolby Ballroom (Hollywood, CA)
http://www.careerforum.net/event/la/?ref=201422&lang=E

Student will be able to apply for travel scholarships starting July 7.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at cfn@careerforum.net.

9. Leadership Volunteers Needed - Fall 2014 International Student Orientation

Are you interested in helping new international students during Orientation and adding Leadership and U.S. Culture Training experience to your resume? Then, sign up to be a Leadership Volunteer!

Leadership Volunteers are a select group of Binghamton University students, who join ISSS staff to welcome new international students during Fall International Student Orientation. Leadership Volunteer recruitment is now underway.

Leadership Volunteers engage in a 3-day training program to help prepare them for their role during Orientation. The training program is organized by the 5 goals of the Orientation program:

• Help New Students Feel Comfortable in a New Environment (Networking)
• Meet Students' Needs
• Share Important Information
• Learn about U.S. Culture
• Build Trust and Make New Friends

The Training Program includes activities that give all Leadership Volunteers the opportunity to:

• Become a Team
• Prepare Presentations for Small Group Activities
• Understand the Needs of New International Students

During Orientation, Leadership Volunteers greet new international students at check-in, welcome them during the introductory meeting, lead small group discussions, accompany them to all meals, provide reassurance and essential information, and most importantly contribute to a warm and sincere presence during the new international student's first few days on campus. Many new students tell the ISSS how important the Leadership Volunteers were to their initial experience at Binghamton University. Many Leadership Volunteers tell the ISSS how valuable the training was to their own professional and personal development.

Leadership Volunteer Training will take place Monday, August 18th – Wednesday, August 20th, 2014. International Student Graduate Orientation starts Thursday, August 21st – Friday, August 22nd, 2014. International Student Undergraduate Orientation begins Monday, August 25th – Wednesday, August 27th, 2014.

If you are interested in becoming a Leadership Volunteer, please click here to complete the interest form.

Questions? Contact Associate Director, Karen Keefe-Guzikowski at kkeefe@binghamton.edu.

10. Become a Global Studies Minor

Attention International Students: Turn your unique perspectives on the U.S. into a minor! Obtain more information by visiting the Global Studies Minor website or by e-mailing Suronda Gonzalez, Director at sgonzal@binghamton.edu.

Please Note: As an international student, you automatically complete the "international immersion experience" requirement!

Global studies minor

11. Did You Receive A Grade of "Incomplete" in Fall 2013?

The Office of International Student and Scholar Services would like to remind international students of a potential problem for those in F-1 or J-1 status who do not complete in a timely manner the required work for a course for which they have been issued an "Incomplete" grade. For example, a student who receives a grade of "incomplete" in a graduate or undergraduate course for the Fall 2013 semester has until the end of the Spring 2014 semester to turn in the required work so that the professor can issue the appropriate final grade. However, if the Fall 2013 course work is not completed, or if the professor does not submit a grade change form, the Incomplete will change to "W" or withdrawn for graduate students, and to "F" or failure for undergraduate students following the Spring 2014 semester.

Now that the Spring 2014 semester is coming to an end, international students in F-1 and J-1 status who received one or more grades of Incomplete in Fall 2013 are urged to check their Fall 2013 grades in BU brain.

A grade change to "W" is very detrimental to any F-1 or J-1 graduate student, because if the course was being counted towards a full-time course load, the W grade means that the course was not completed successfully, dropping the student from full-time to part-time. Often, we find that the student has made arrangements with the faculty member to complete the work. In such cases, we strongly advise the student to check with the faculty member to see if the grade was submitted or if necessary, extend the deadline for the incomplete and have the grade changed back to "I."

A grade that remains "W," if it drops the graduate student below a full time course load, may mean that the F-1 or J-1 student is in violation of U.S. immigration requirements. Thus, some international students could suddenly find themselves in violation of their F-1 status based on a course taken as long as two semesters ago. Students who find themselves in this situation should visit ISSS advising walk-in hours.

12. Registering for Less Than a Full Time Course Load for Fall 2014?

Some students have already completed pre-registration for Fall 2014, others may delay signing up for courses until the regular registration period begins. Since all continuing F-1 students must comply with federal SEVIS regulations, we are reminding students of the rules governing taking less than a full-time course load.

U.S. Federal regulations governing F-1 status require that students pursue "a full course of study" that leads to the attainment of a specific educational or professional objective. For undergraduate students, a full course of study is defined as at least 12 semester credits per semester. For graduate students, Federal regulations defer to the school's definition of a full course of study.

SEVIS regulations require that F-1 students obtain permission from the Office of International Student and Scholar Services before dropping below a full-time course load. An F-1 student who drops below a full course of study without the prior approval of the Office of International Student and Scholar Services will be considered out of status.

One of the most common requests for a reduced course load is when a student is in their final semester of study, but needs less than a full time course load to graduate. The ISSS may authorize a reduced course load for this reason. If the reduction is authorized, the student must then be registered for those credits needed to complete the course of study.

The student must first obtain permission from the ISSS before dropping below a full-time course load. The appropriate form can be downloaded here. In addition, the student must also have filed a "declaration of candidacy form" (for graduate students) or an "application for undergraduate degree" (for undergraduate students), verifying the student's intention to graduate in that semester.

A note of warning: Students should be absolutely certain that they will be graduating in the current semester before choosing to register for less than a full-time course load. Failure to graduate after dropping below a full-time course load may result in the student being out-of-status, and the loss of F-1 benefits, unless it can be shown that the student is still making satisfactory progress towards their degree.

• Graduate students who have completed their course requirements and register for thesis, pre-dissertation research, dissertation, project, or other course rubrics that are eligible to be certified as full-time even though the number of credits will be below the normal full-time course load are not required to seek advance permission from the ISSS, and need NOT be concerned that they will violate their F-1 status if they do not graduate. However, such students who will register for less than 9 credits must have their departments add the appropriate number of non-billable certification credits to bring their schedule to 9 credits.

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Last Updated: 8/28/14