Author Archives: kaguero

International Student Support Office (ISSO): Byee

Hey Friends,

This summer went by so quickly. In a few weeks you will be arriving to Campus! I wish you have an amazing first-year experience. Remember that Haverford has MANY resources and everyone wants to see you thrive, so do not think twice to reach out when you have a problem!

This is the last time you will hear from me through the blog, BUT remember you can always email me at kaguero@haverford.edu about anything, or if you see me around campus I will be happy to chat with you!

See you all in a few weeks!

International Student Support Office (ISSO): Getting to Stokes

Why getting to STOKES and not any other building? Well, my F-1 friends, the first thing you must do once you arrive to campus is to see your DSO (designated school official) to tackle some paperwork. Guess where that will be happening? Yes, Stokes Hall!

Oh! And remember to bring your documents (I-20, passport, etc) to this meeting with our DSO, Denise Allison.

Alright. Watch the video below to learn how to get to stokes:

If you have any questions, remember you can email me at kaguero@haverford.edu.

International Student Support Office (ISSO): Clubs and Organizations

At Haverford, there are many clubs, organizations and affinity groups that you can join! Here are some of the diverse groups that you might be interested in:

Haverford Asian Student Association.

The mission of the Haverford Asian Student Association is to support students on campus who want to learn about and connect with Pan-Asian identities. We engage the Bi-College Consortium through various events to raise awareness of both important issues and cultural traditions in different Asian communities, on and off campus. In the past, we have hosted Lunar New Year banquets, planned movie nights, organized fun dinners at local Asian restaurants, and above all, have sought to foster friendship and bonds between members. On campus, we strive to create a welcoming space for the Pan-Asian community and those who are interested in its cultural activities. Through our group, we hope to create a tight-knit group of friends by embracing the differences and commonalities in the Asian identity.

Japanese Culture Club.

The Japanese Culture Club is a place that celebrates Japanese culture and connects Japanese students with each other and with others who have a significant interest in Japanese culture. We host events like movie nights with Japanese snacks and cook Japanese Curry with the members of the club. Students can connect with the club by emailing either Kaito at knakatani@haverford.edu or Noelle at nmahr@haverford.edu.

International Student Association.

Our goal is to provide a social and academic support network for the International Student community. We do this by organizing social, cultural and career events, in cooperation with the Director of ISSO, the OMA and some affinity groups on campus. At these events, international students can bond, express themselves and learn about other cultures (particularly but not exclusively the American culture). Our goal is to embrace all the different backgrounds of Haverford students. Our frequent events give International Students a space where they can feel more at home in a foreign environment.
With its rich and diverse human resources, ISA will play a significant role in improving the global citizenship on campus and diversifying the campus life. ISA’s philosophy is to promote awareness and understanding of the international culture through cultural immersion. We aim to achieve this by hosting activities that will involve food, performances, discussions, trips and workshops.

International Student Support (ISSO): Resources for International Students

Hello Friends! 

Today I wanted to share with you some of the resources I believe are helpful for international and students of diverse backgrounds in general.

The International Student Support Office: 

This is the office dedicated to providing F-1 Visa students with resources and support in everything that is related to living, studying and working in the US as an International Student. That’s where you will find your DSOs (Designated School Officials), Denise V. Allison and Natasha Weisz. And here is a quick reminder of what your DSOs can help you with:

  • Working in the United States.
  • Applying for a driver’s license.
  • Applying for a Social Security number.
  • Changing their major, program or degree level.
  • Changing their education level.
  • Transferring to a new school or taking a leave of absence.
  • Taking a break from school.
  • Traveling outside the United States.
  • Moving to a new address.
  • Changing your name.
  • Requesting a program extension.

More about ISSO here: www.haverford.edu/international-student-services/about

Another interesting resource that the ISSO offers is the Holiday Opportunity for Multicultural Exchange (HOME).

It is a program that promotes cultural exchange between international students and members of the Haverford community. You can find more information here.

International Student Orientation (ISO)

This is a four and a half days orientation for international students. Here you will receive a lot of information about being an F-1 student at Haverford, how to maintain your status, what the resources on campus for you are, etc. You will also have a chance to go shopping for items for your dorm or take the time to open a bank account, for instance. The most important aspect of ISO is the networking that happens during these days. You are likely to meet your future close friends during the orientation as well as upper class students that are likely to be able to answer all sorts of questions you might have in the future. 

International Students Resource Persons (ISRPs)

During ISO you will also meet your ISRPs, who will guide you through campus and activities during ISO. These are the people you will want to reach out to during your first semester when you have questions related to being an International Student at Haverford. 

You can learn who your ISRPs are here!

Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA)

The OMA supports diversity on campus. It coordinates Summer Social Justice Institute, supports International Student Orientation, Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, Customs as well as numerous affinity groups. It also provides diversity grants for student groups and leaders promoting diversity and inclusion on campus. And their interns lead individual projects such as Wellness Center and International Student Center. You can find more information about the OMA here.

Student Organizations

There are many organizations on campus. These are a great way to find people with a similar background or culture to your own and bond. They are a great resource to start building your support system because of the shared experiences.

You can find these organizations here .

Cultural Centers:

You can find information on each cultural center here.

Customs Folks

In each hall you will have a customs team that will help you navigate your first year at Haverford. All of them are great resources for different things, however, if you need to speak with someone that has a more diverse background or that understands your struggles with the cultural and social aspects of Haverford, you should talk to your AMA (Ambassador of Multicultural Affairs). 

Dean Katrina Glanzer

You have probably already heard from her many times and I know I have personally mentioned her several times. What happens is that she is a great resource. She will be your first year Dean so whenever you do not know where to go for assistance, I am sure Dean Glanzer will be able to point you in the right direction. 

The following are general resources that can also be very helpful:

The Writing Center

As I mentioned in a previous post, the Writing Center can be very helpful with essays at all stages. That can be understanding the prompt and task you were given, brainstorming, writing a strong introduction or conclusion or the final revision before you turn your essay in. However, the writing center can also be helpful for oral presentations. Yes! You can give your oral presentation just for practice, or to get some feedback. 

Resources for Writers

Speaking Resources

The Center for Career and Professional Advising (CCPA)

The CCPA help current students and alumni with career and professional goals and also prepare for the world of work. They can review your resume, read your essays for grad school application, and do mock interviews to help you prepare for that very important interview that is coming up!

Bryn Mawr College Airport Shuttle

Bryn Mawr has airport shuttles available for every break at an accessible price! So if you are flying back home, this might be a good option for you. More information here.

Blue Bus to Suburban Square

On the weekends and breaks if you are staying on campus, you can hop in the Blue Bus to go to Suburban Square to go grocery shopping or simply spending time outside of campus! This is where you will find the Blue Bus schedule.

Health Services

Health Services provides a lot of resources to make sure your well-being on campus. They have Cold Care Kits available 24/7 at Campus Safety, and near exam periods they will sometimes allow you to make a self-care package either for yourself or a friend! This is also where you will need to go if you don’t have all of your shots! If you want to learn what other services Health Services offer, you can click here.

AND

HAVENGER HUNT TASKS!!!

Don’t forget to join in on the Havenger Hunt for a chance to win some cool prizes!!! If you don’t know them by now, check out our June 6th post for the rules. This week’s items are…

  • Try a need food/fruit/vegetable and send us your reaction
  • What’s your packing process looking like?
  • Plant something!

Submit your photos and answers to hc-newstudents@haverford.edu

As always, if you have any questions or comments you can email me at kaguero@haverford.edu. I would love to get to know you!

International Student Support Office (ISSO): More Acronyms!

Hello, friends!

Following the post by Hannah and Jonah on HaverAcronyms, I will add a few more acronyms to the list! If you are an international student, you are very likely to run into them as soon as you arrive to the United States! These are not acronyms specific to Haverford, but you will hear them a lot. And to my domestic friends, you might be somewhat acquainted with some of these acronyms and might have never heard others so if I were you, I would keep reading!

Without any further ado, let’s start!

CBP – Customs and Border Protection

One of the largest U.S. law enforcement organizations and it is the main border control organization. You will meet these officers at the point of entry such as airports. They will decide whether or not you are allowed to enter the country.

CPT – Curricular Practical Training

CPT is a temporary work authorization provided to the students on F-1 visa, which is directly related to a credit-bearing course or major requirements.

DHS – Department of Homeland Security

This is the U.S. government department that ensures the safety of its citizens.

DMV – Department of Motor Vehicles

It is the agency that administers vehicle registration and driving licensing.

DOL – Department of Labor

It is the agency responsible for enforcing federal labor standards and promoting workers’ wellbeing.

DoS – Department of State

It is the agency responsible for foreign affairs and conducting international relations. The Department of State issues visas.

DSO – Designated School Official

DSOs are the ones that represent the school when it comes to F students matters. You should report to DSOs if you have questions about:

  • Working in the United States.
  • Applying for a driver’s license.
  • Applying for a Social Security number.
  • Changing their major, program or degree level.
  • Changing their education level.
  • Transferring to a new school or taking a leave of absence.
  • Taking a break from school.
  • Traveling outside the United States.
  • Moving to a new address.
  • Changing your name.

Requesting a program extension.
Haverford’s Designated School Officials are:

Natasha Weisz and Denise V. Allison

EAD – Employment Authorization Document

Document that proves you are allowed to work in the United States.

HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

It is the legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information.

I-9 – Form

The form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States.

I-94 – Form

It is the Arrival and Departure Record form. It records when you enter and leave the United States. You will be instructed on how to access this when you arrive to campus. Also, you should always keep these documents safe for your records.

ICE – Immigration and Campus Enforcement

It is a law enforcement agency of the federal government of the United States tasked to enforce the immigration laws of the United States and to investigate criminal and terrorist activity of transnational organizations and aliens within the United States.

IRS – Internal Revenue Service

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) administers and enforces U.S. federal tax laws.

OPT – Optional Practical Training

OPT is a temporary authorization offered to students on F-1 visa to work on their related field for a period of total 12 months.
PDSO – Principal Designated School Official
It is a DSO with added responsibility such as:

• A PDSO is the main point of contact for SEVP.
• A PDSO must make updates to DSO information in SEVIS.
• A PDSO must file for recertification.

Haverford’s PDSO is:
James Keane

SEVIS – Student and Exchange Visitor Information System

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a web-based system that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses to maintain information regarding:
Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified schools.
F-1 and M-1 students studying in the United States (and their F-2 and M-2 dependents).
U.S. Department of State-designated Exchange Visitor Program sponsors.
J-1 visa Exchange Visitor Program participants (and their J-2 dependents).

SEVP – Student and Exchange Visitor Program

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program that administers the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). It ensures that government agencies have essential data related to nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors to preserve national security.

SSA – Social Security Administration

The United States Social Security Administration is an independent agency of the U.S. federal government that administers Social Security, a social insurance program consisting of retirement, disability, and survivors’ benefits.

SSN – Social Security Number

These are numbers generally assigned to individuals authorized to work in the U.S. If you plan to work on campus, you will go through a process to get your SSN because you cannot be paid until you have one.

TSA – Transportation Security Administration

This is the agency that has authority over the traveling public in the United States. They are the officers who scan luggage and check tickets during domestic travel in airports.

USCIS – United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that administers the country’s naturalization and immigration system.

The end.

You can find more information regarding these acronyms here:
studyinthestates.dhs.gov/

If you have questions, concerns, or doubts remember you can always email me at kaguero@haverford.edu. I will gladly answer any questions regarding living and studying in the United States as an international student.

International Students Support Office (ISSO): Packing

So now that you have received a long packing list, you have probably realized that you will not be able to fit all of those items in your two 23 kg suitcase limit, right? You will need a lot of those items though, so here are some suggestions on how to deal with packing:
First things first. Figure out how much luggage you can actually bring with you because each airline has different policies. I brought with me two 23 kg checked suitcases, a carry on and a backpack. If you booked domestic flights separately, check luggage limits for them too.
Once you have that information, you can start thinking on what you will be bringing with you. There are certain things that are a must! What are these items? Well, DOCUMENTS. Believe it or not I forgot my wallet, which contained my passport, money, etc. under my bed (I don’t know how it got there). I went to the airport, which is a six hours drive from my house and I did not have my passport. So don’t do the same and make sure you have:

  1. Passport
  2. I-20
  3. Admission letter
  4. Flight information
  5. Prescriptions in their original container / doctor’s note.
  6. Financial documentation
  7. Any other important document you will need in the US.

Do some research and find out what items from home you can absolutely not find in Amazon or stores in the US and that you MUST have and add them to your bring-to-college-from-home list.
Other things you might want to bring from home are photographs, mementos, your country flag or any other items related to your home. And if you are participating in ISO make sure you bring something from home for the show & tell/talent show night!
You also need to bring clothes. The first weeks are going to be pretty warm, but after that it will get cold, and then colder and colder. If you come from a country or region like mine, where it is really warm during the entire year, do not even try to buy winter clothes there. They take too much space in your suitcase and they are unlikely to be enough for how cold it is here. Instead, get a good winter jacket once you are on campus. There will be shopping trips in the fall and you will be able to buy winter clothes then!

Buy in the United States:

Bedding: sheets, blankets, pillows, pillow covers, towels, etc. I have a friend from Paraguay that goes to Bryn Mawr College. She managed to bring not just one, but two HUGE blankets, but the airline was not happy with how much her luggage weighed.
Study items: notebooks, pens, organizers, etc.
Bathroom/grooming items: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc. I advise you to bring either travel size or small size of these for the first weeks and buy bigger ones for the semester when you get here. Again, don’t do what I do. I brought a specific shampoo because I thought I could not live without it and it exploded in my suitcase and all of my clothes were stained. Not cool. (Yes, it was inside a ziplock bag, but apparently it was not enough).
Miscellaneous: umbrella, bed risers, rug, trash can for your room, laundry items, cleaning supplies, lamp, mirror, kitchen supplies, etc.
Clothes: winter clothes.
Any everyday items that can easily be found here.

Now that you have figured out what to bring with you and what to buy in the US you must be thinking about when, how and where you will actually be buying all of these items. There are a couple of ways you can do this.

Springfield Mall Trip. If you are coming to the International Students Orientation (ISO), which is required for all visa holders (and if you are not required to, I still I HIGHLY encourage you to come) then you will have a chance to ride the Blue Bus during ISO and go to Springfield Mall. There you can find many stores, including a Target, where you can buy items for your dorm room!

BB&B Trip. For the people coming in during Customs Week, there will also be a trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond! If you come during ISO, but still want to buy more things during Customs, you will also be able to go on this trip.

Shipping items to the college. If you are excited as I was for college during the summer, and you want to start buying things for your dorm you can also ship them to the college. I personally used the college’s Linens Program that you can check out here. You can find bundles that has many of the things you will need: sheets, blankets, pillows, pillow cases, comforters, towels. Some of the bundles include lamps and small fans and other items. I chose a bundle and had it shipped to Haverford. When I got here, my packages were here and I only had to worry about buying items that my bundle did not include.

If you want to ship your belongings to Haverford, write your address as follows:

[your name], Class of 2023                                  OR                                   [your name], Class of 2023
c/o Denise Allison (ISSO)                                                                               c/o Central Receiving
370 Lancaster Avenue                                                                                   370 Lancaster Avenue
Haverford, PA 19041,                                                                                     Haverford, PA 19041,
U.S.A                                                                                                                   U.S.A

You can start receiving packages on August 16th. Find more information about shipping here.

One last reminder. Pack everything you need, but be mindful of how many things you are bringing. You will inevitably accumulate things throughout the year. Haverford does not have storage spaces available on campus, so you will need to put all your belongings in boxes to move them to your off-campus storage.

International Student Support Office (ISSO): Academic Adjustment

Adapting to life in college is challenging for everyone. As an international student, however, we must also simultaneously adapt to the food, the weather, the culture and so many other aspects of life in the United States and at Haverford. This can make the academic adjustment a little bit overwhelming, but here are some tips and information that can help you navigate this transition.

1. The academic environment is different. At Haverford, you are expected to come to class ready to actively participate in discussion. You structure the class with your peers and professors. Your first year writing seminar will show you how it works, so make the best out of it because that is the best place to make mistakes and learn. Also, at Haverford it is very clear that everyone is serious about their studies and this might be different from where you are from, but really exciting because you get to work with people that are passionate about what they are studying. What I am sure will be different is that we do not talk about grades at Haverford because we value intellectual growth and development more! This will allow you to focus on how you are doing and what you are achieving.

2. Learn and use resources early. I did not do this as early as I could have even though I was told a million times to do so. I thought I did not need it because back home we don’t even have these resources and I did well. The truth is I was not back home and, as I mentioned before, the academic environment is different. This does not mean that you have to struggle and be stressed out all the time. Use the resources the college has to offer! Some of these resources are:

The Office of Academic Resources (OAR): Visit the OAR if you find yourself struggling with time management, or if you find you do not know how to approach studying for a certain class.

The Writing Center: the writing center is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! They can read your papers and give you feedback, help you brainstorm when you have no idea how to start writing, or even help you understand the long and confusing instructions for your next assignment.

Peer Tutoring: schedule a tutoring session whenever you are having trouble solving that one question left in your problem set, do not understand the material or need help revising for your next quiz or exam.

Office Hours: GO TO OFFICE HOURS. Professors are willing to answer questions you have on the material, or help you solve any issues related to the course.

3. Organize your time. If you are on an F-1 visa, you will be taking a full course load of four classes. Besides that you might end up signing up for all the clubs in the Club Fair during Customs because everything is just so interesting! I would advise to go slowly though. Start with your classes and maybe one other extracurricular activity and as you get used to the pace here at Haverford, add more or drop activities. That said, you will be busy all the time! Back home I was able to keep track of everything without difficulty. At college that is harder, so get used to using Google Calendar and Trello!

4. Get support. During the International Students Orientation (ISO) you will be connected with your international peers and upperclassmen. Use this opportunity to network and learn about them. There is a high chance that you will meet your closest friends during ISO! These are the people that will be part of your support system during the year, and trust me, they are essential. Also, remember that your professors and deans are there to support you too. Keep in touch with your first year dean, Katrina Glanzer, who is always willing to hear your concerns and try to help you find a solution. Even when she doesn’t know how to help you, she will direct you to someone who can.

Well, that’s about it! These are some of the things that helped me when it came to academics. Note that I had two STEM classes and two non-STEM classes during my first year for both semesters. You might have a totally different experience.

If you have any questions or post suggestions you can reach out to me at kaguero@haverford.edu.

International Student Support Office (ISSO): Cultural Adjustment

Hi, fellow international friends and everyone that lives very far from Haverford College!

Studying away from home is a challenge. Once you arrive on campus, you will start a long process of adaptation and self-discovery. This is true for every single one of you, but to the people who live far from Haverford, there are a couple more adjustments to go through especially if far means another country and therefore culture, system, etc.

These are some of the things I have noticed since I arrived at college:

1. Greetings
In my country, everyone says ‘Hi’ to everyone even if they do not know each other. This does not happen that often here and I feel awkward when I cannot decide whether to greet certain people or not. It is even more awkward when I do greet them and they do not answer or look away. If you come from a country like mine, you might feel hurt (I did!) the first few times this happens to you. Just know that there is nothing wrong with you and that this is just the culture around here.

2. Greetings part 2.
Besides not knowing when to greet people, I also had a hard time figuring out how to greet them. Unless it is a formal occasion or you do not know the person, back home we greet them with a kiss on each cheek and if you are close to the person it is followed by a hug. Here, however, people will either just say ‘Hi’ or they will reach for your hand for a handshake, sometimes even if you’re friends!

3. Clothing
Dressing up to go to college is very common back home. So my first week of classes, I tried to look decent. I avoided wearing jeans, put some makeup on, and wore formal looking flats. As I walked to campus I quickly realized that people were not dressing up. That was actually so relieving to me! I stopped wearing makeup, started wearing jeans and my feet were thrilled when I started wearing sport shoes, which made walking from the apartments to classes and the Dining Center much, much easier!

4. Hours
Here, nothing starts until 8:00 A.M. and to me that is late. I was used to waking up at around 5:30 A.M. and starting my day at around 6:45 A.M. I did not particularly complain about being able to wake up later though. What really got into my nerves, however, was dinner time. People start having dinner at 5 P.M. and I was used to having dinner at around 8 P.M. During my first semester, I refused eating dinner earlier than that and ended up being almost isolated from my group of friends that did eat dinner earlier, so I eventually got used to it.

5. Imperial system
This can be a complete post on itself. I am still not used to speaking in feet, inches, miles, Fahrenheit, pounds, etc, etc. Even after 10 months living in the United States, when I had to buy boxes to store all my belongings during the summer, I struggled to picture what a 12X12X12” box looked like. A 30X30X30 box makes more sense to me. So, I would advise to either learn how to convert to the units you are used to or download a converter app.

6. Roads
The first time I tried crossing roads in the US was embarrassing. At first, I did not realize that there were traffic lights for people at all. So I would just cross whenever cars were not coming or they stopped. When I realized people stopped for traffic lights too, I stopped and waited and waited and waited and the lights never changed until someone else came and pressed a weird button on the traffic lights on my side (some of them do not have the button). I felt so dumb when I saw the little sign that said: “to cross, push button”. And that is how I learned to cross roads in the US.

The ‘little’ sign:

These are some of the things I had to get used to here in the US. Even though you might have a completely different experience than mine, I would still suggest the strategy I used:

Observe and adapt.

Whenever you are unsure that something is okay to do, observe. Check out how your friends behave in certain spaces. If you are still unsure, reach out to your customs people, peers, or even professors and deans. They will help you out! Also know that it is okay not to adapt. Even today I keep saying ‘Hi’ to everyone because it is a feature of my culture that I do not want to give up!

I am looking forward to meeting all of you and getting to know you. If you have any questions, concerns or want me to write about something here on the blog, feel free to reach out to me at kaguero@haverford.edu.

Guest Post: Apply to 2019 Summer Social Justice Institute!

Hi everyone!

My name is Evan Moon (he/him/his), and I’m a rising junior currently working in the Office of Multicultural Affairs. I’m here to introduce you to an amazing opportunity that is the 2019 Summer Social Justice Institute! (www.haverford.edu/multicultural-affairs/summer-social-justice-institute)

SSJI is a pre-orientation program done in collaboration with Swarthmore that centers around themes of identity, power, privilege and social justice. It aims to create an intentional community of interested first-years and introduce them to the broader dimensions of oppression and activism on Haverford and the society at large. It fosters an inclusive and safe space where participants explore their diverse experiences, engage in difference and allyship, and furthermore build critical coalitions and solidarity within our communities.

SSJI group photo on the campus of Swarthmore College on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, in Swarthmore, Pa. (Laurence Kesterson / staff photographer)

It’s a great opportunity to build connections with invested peers before Customs and to be equipped with tools to navigate your first year in college with a unique perspective of social justice. In the past, students who went through SSJI have continued on to do amazing works on campus through activism, affinity groups, and student government. If that’s not enough to convince you, it’s a chance to move-in early to make friends, with the program cost covered by the College!

The application (forms.haverford.edu/view.php?id=644199) is due June 15th, so if you’re interested, please take a look! You don’t need any prior knowledge or experience around social justice – we are looking to create an inclusive group that is welcoming to diverse experience and background.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me (cmoon@haverford.edu) or the OMA (Theresa Tensuan, ttensuan@haverford.edu, and Ben Hughes, bhughes@haverford.edu). We look forward to meeting you!