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The Sponsored Student Survival Guide


The sponsored student survival guide is an invaluable source of information for sponsored students. The guide contains helpful information on health care, emergency, driver's license, transportation, and other services students may need upon their arrival.

Health Care:

  1. Emergency Care: If you find yourself in a life-threatening situation and you cannot wait to see a doctor, go to a hospital's emergency room. The closest hospital is: O'Bleness Memorial Hospital which is located at 44 West Union Street in Athens. The phone number for the hospital is: (740) 566-4925. If you cannot make it to the hospital emergency room, but still need immediate medical help, you can call 9-1-1 for an ambulance to take you to the hospital. Some examples of health emergencies are: heart attacks, severe bleeding, poisoning, severe allergic reactions, and broken bones. Emergency care is extremely expensive in the United States and emergency rooms are reserved for serious health issues. If you do need to go to an emergency room, DO NOT forget your health insurance card.
  2. Urgent Care: Urgent medical conditions are ones that are not considered emergencies but still require care within 24 hours. Some examples of such conditions include: accidents and falls, sprains and strains, moderate back problems, cuts, eye irritation and redness, fever or flu, and vomiting. If you have any urgent medical condition you can go to the Holzer Clinic URGENT CARE located at 2131 East State Street in Athens. The phone number for the Holzer Clinic is: 740-593-3594. You can also go to EXPRESS CARE located at 265 West Union Street, Athens. The phone number for Express Care is: 740-594-2456. Please make sure that you carry your health insurance card with you.
  3. Routine Health Care: If you do not feel well or if you have a minor illness, you can go to the University Hudson Health Center. Examples of minor illnesses/issues are: the flu, sore throat, check-ups, and minor injuries. For more information about the University Hudson Health Center,  pleae visit their website. or can call them at 740-593-1660. Please make sure that you carry your health insurance card with you. **Please note that dependents of international students cannot get health care service at the University Health Care Center.**

Health Insurance

All international students are required to have insurance coverage. If you already have insurance coverage through your government or your sponsor, you need to bring a proof of health insurance coverage to ISFS front desk and apply for a waiver by the published deadline for that academic term. Late applications for a waiver will not be accepted.


In case of any emergency, you can always call 9-1-1. However, keep in mind that if you are on campus, you can also call Ohio University Police Department (OUPD) at (740) 593-1911. OUPD emergency telephones are located at the main entrance of all residence halls and select locations throughout campus. These emergency telephones provide direct access to the Ohio University Police Department and can be used to access other emergency services.

Social Security Number

In general, you do not need a SSN unless you get a job in the US. To apply for a Social Security number, you will need to complete an application for a Social Security card (Form SS-5) and provide original documents proving your valid immigration status. These documents are:

  • SSN Letter from ISFS (you can get one from the front desk of our office)
  • Your passport
  • Your I-20 or DS-2019
  • Your valid visa

Ohio ID and Driver's license

If you decide to get a driver's license or an Ohio ID, you need to bring the following documents to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) located at 1002 East State St. Suite 21 Athens, OH 45701. If you have any questions, you can also call (740) 592-4667 for more information.

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • Proof of address
  • Social Security Card (if you have one)
  • If you are on OPT, you should bring your EAD card as well.

Public Transportation:

Athens GO TO CAB is a local taxi company that serves the city of Athens, Ohio University, and the surrounding areas. You can find all the information about Athens Go To Cab in their website or by calling the number provided below.

Athens Go To Cab
Telephone: 740-590-4686
Click here for the website.

Athens Public Transit now runs five bus routes Monday-Friday and four routes on Saturdays. For more detailed general information, please visit the Athens Public Transit website  or call them at 740-592-2727.

Athens Airport Express provides transportation service to and from Port Columbus International Airport. For more information about the schedules and the prices,  please click here.

GoBus : The GoBus offers transportation service that connects Athens, Columbus, Cincinnati, Marietta, and Parkersburg. All the schedules, routes, and prices are available  at this website.

Bank Accounts

In order to open a bank account, you will need to take your passport and I-20 or DS-2019 and go the one of the banks in Athens. There are some banks and credit unions in the area. Many of our students bank at Chase Bank (located on East State Street) and the Ohio University Credit Union (the closest to campus)

Post Office

If you need to mail something, you either use the OU Post Office or Athens Post Office. The OU Post Office is located on the fourth floor of Baker Center. Their hours of operation are 10:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Athens Post Office is located on Stimson Ave. (off-campus) and its hours are: Monday-Friday 9:00am-6:00pm and Saturday 8:30am-12:30pm.


There are many places that serve local and ethnic food in Athens. There are restaurants that serve American, Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Caribbean cuisine to just name a few and most restaurants are in a walking distance of the Athens campus. Click here to explore the many dining options in Athens, OH.

Campus Activities and Involvement

At American higher education institutions, it is important to balance your studies with campus involvement. With over seventy (100) student organizations, there is truly an organization or club for anyone. Click here to view the many different organizations on campus.





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