FIU helps international students make the transition to college

By Joel Delgado ’12, MS ’17

As if starting college isn’t hard enough already, imagine having to make the switch while coming from another country.

That’s why the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) goes to great lengths to make sure FIU’s newest international students feel welcomed and have everything they need to make a successful transition.

FIU expects to welcome over 900 new international students from 90 different countries this fall, with 54% of them entering as graduate students and the rest (46%) making up the group of new undergraduate students.

“We have put in place a lot of support initiatives to help our international students be well prepared when they arrive,” says Alejandra Parra, senior director of ISSS. “Our goal is to help make this transition as smooth as possible and to make sure they have everything they need.”

Here are some of the efforts ISSS has made to help international students make the transition to FIU:

1. Virtual Pre-Arrival Orientation Series and Mandatory International Student Sessions

For international students entering the United States, there are a lot of items that need to be taken care of before entering the country, including filling out certain forms, paying fees and obtaining a student visa.

These orientations fill them in on these details as well as information about student housing, money matters and steps to ensure a smooth arrival into the United States.

Incoming international students can view the entire pre-arrival orientation presentation on the ISSS website.

2. International Peer Mentor Program

To help answer questions and solve problems international students may have on campus, ISSS has an International Peer Mentor Program that connects them with other FIU students to help navigate life on campus and in Miami.

These peer mentors can direct new international students to appropriate campus or community resources, help them become more involved on campus and serve as a liaison between new international students and the ISSS office.

New international students can request a peer mentor by filling out this form.

3. Summer email engagement campaign

ISSS also initiated an engagement campaign during the summer months, communicating with admitted and immigration-ready students each week during the past three months to keep them up to date on information about the university and topics such as pre-arrival information, food options on campus and more.

4. 24/7 immigration emergency support

For immigration emergencies, ISSS implemented a 24/7 emergency hotline that students can call in case they run into any troubles at the port of entry.

If a student needs any assistance from FIU, they can call 305-348-2421 at any time and someone from ISSS will be there to answer.

5. #YouAreWelcomeHere

And to show the university’s interest in supporting international students in this transition to a new country and a new home, FIU joined the national #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign and produced a welcome video to reflect the university’s commitment to its international community.
Here is the video that has been shared across university channels and in ISSS communications with new international students:

If you are an international student and have questions about ISSS initiatives, visit their website.