By Susan Green
If BCIS, DOS, ISFS, SEVIS, I-20, I-94, DS-2019 and F-1 or J-1 visa -- no, not a type of credit card -- are not part of your vocabulary, then you're probably not an international student.
International students quickly become familiar with this plethora of government regulations in order to comply with U.S. Immigration Laws and Regulations and to legally remain in this country.
Keeping everything straight can be overwhelming when you're in a new country, far away from your family, but the Office of International Student and Faculty Services (ISFS) at Ohio University helps international students, faculty, staff, scholars and their dependents sort things out.
For instance, students are usually given an F-1 visa. Spouses and children of F-1 visa holders are assigned an F-2 visa. J-1 visas are given to researchers, scholars and students who are sponsored by government agencies or universities. Spouses and children of these visitors are assigned J-2 visas. And this is just the beginning. It gets more complicated if you need to leave the U.S. temporarily and then return, if you want to work on or off campus. The list is long. The requirements are endless.
While providing support for this process is essential, Alan Boyd, director of ISFS since 1979, said an equally important function of the office is to create an environment that helps students?many who are in the U.S. for the first time?adjust to the cultural differences. He and his staff work hard to create that environment.
"It's important for people to be thoughtful and to respect cultural differences when interacting with international students," Boyd said. "We try to ease their integration by creating a receptive atmosphere. We're also willing to work with other departments that interact with international students to create a comfortable environment."
We say to them all, welcome to Ohio University.
[Note: Velkominn, chroesawa, taggapin, bienvenue is welcome in Icelandic, Welsh, Phillipino and French.]
Susan Green is a writer with University Communications and Marketing.