International Student Guide 2021

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Learn a few of the key terms that will be useful to know around campus.


Learn about the different resources offered by IU’s Office of International Services and get important vaccine information.


Learn about IU sports and the ways students can take part in games and show their school spirit.

Find out important information and what you need to know when looking for a job in the U.S. Hear from an international student about experiences in America and read tips for the upcoming year.

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Hello! My name is Luke Christopher Norton, and I’m the editor-in-chief of the Indiana Daily Student, the independent campus newspaper providing coverage of IU and Bloomington. The IDS International Student Guide was put together by the staff here at the paper purely for international students, aiming to answer

whatever questions you may have about IU, Bloomington and more. However, this doesn’t have to be the only time you hear from us. Our weekly print edition can be found around campus and the city, you can follow us on social media and our website,, is always available.

From myself and the rest of the staff at the IDS, we sincerely hope this guide proves helpful as you take your first steps as a student at IU, welcome to Bloomington!

Luke Christopher Norton Summer Editor-in-Chief



Sharing cultures Students from around the world come to IU to learn and share experiences. Here’s a look at some of the ways people from diverse backgrounds engaged with the campus and community over the years.

TAE-GYUN KIM | IDS 2016 Chao Run Fan from Young Pioneer competes during Individual Time Trials at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Young Pioneer is the first Chinese Little 500 racing team in IU history.

ARBUTUS FILE PHOTO 1998 Heejun Jeong practices in a dance studio. She came to Bloomington from Korea in 1996 to join IU’s ballet program. SAMANTHA SCHMIDT | IDS 2013 Freshman Qi An and her friends prepare the dough for traditional Chinese dumplings in celebration of Spring Festival. This is the first year An experienced the Chinese New Year’s holiday away from her family in China. ALEX DERYN | IDS 2019 Students celebrate Holi, a Hindu festival that celebrates the beginning of spring, in Dunn Meadow by covering each other with brightly-colored powered dye. The annual event is sponsored by the Asian Culture Center.

IU ARCHIVES 1944 Members of IU’s Cosmopolitan Club pose on the steps of the Indiana Memorial Union. The club was founded in 1916 to foster understanding between students from all countries and promote international cooperation and peace.

EMILY MILES | IDS 2017 Visitors talk after the Islamic Center of Bloomington community potluck on a Friday night in 2017.

ARBUTUS FILE PHOTO 1967 Through the International Sisterhood Program, students from around the world developed friendships with American students.



Fulfilling your language requirement? IU offers a WORLD of languages this fall Akan American Sign Language (ASL)

Egyptian (Hieroglyphic) Estonian Finnish






Greek (Classical)

Bosnian/ Croatian/ Serbian

Greek (Modern)


Haitian Creole









Sorani Kurdish Thai Latin









Old Church Slavonic













Egyptian (Demotic)

Uzbek Yiddish Yoruba ETHAN LEVY | IDS


• IU proudly offers more than 50 languages each academic year • Many of them can fulfill your language requirement

The Sample Gates are a focal point on IU's campus. There are multiple IU-centric terms international students will come to know during their time in Bloomington.

Hoosier Vocabulary Terms all IU students should know By Emma Uber

• Leverage your major with professional proficiency in a world language | @EmmaUber7

• Explore languages taught almost nowhere else in the US • The Department of Second Language Studies offers courses to assist matriculated international students to improve academic English skills through its English Language Improvement Program (ELIP) and to prepare pre-matriculated international students for study at English-speaking universities through its intensive English Program (IEP). • Even more language opportunities are available through the Big Ten Academic Alliance: IU students may take language courses taught at other BTAA universities, enrolled as an IU course and receiving IU credits • IU hosts three federally-funded Language Flagship programs: Arabic, Chinese, and Russian ( For more language information and resources, check this page You can also take a one-minute survey on the page with an opportunity to earn a $5 Amazon Gift card.

IU is home to a number of traditions, places and terms that may be unfamiliar to international students and freshmen alike. Here is a list of some common terms heard around campus and their meanings. With this list you’ll be talking like a “Hoosier” in no time! “IMU” The Indiana Memorial Union, often called the IMU, is IU’s student union. Students gather at the IMU to study, eat and participate in

activities. The IMU includes a number of study spaces, some decorated with elaborate stained glass windows or cozy fireplaces. In addition to studying, students can eat at the IMU. The IMU contains 10 restaurants that each specialize in a different type of cuisine. The Globe serves food from various local international restaurants, The Mix offers salads, Quarry Pie Co. serves pizza and Whitfield Grill specializes in hot dogs and hamburgers. There are also a number of beverages and sweet treats available at Starbucks, The Chocolate Moose and Sugar and Spice.

Finally, students can participate in recreational activities at the IMU. The IMU is home to a bowling alley, billiards room and the Whittenberger Auditorium, which plays films for students to watch. “KIRKWOOD” Kirkwood Avenue, often shortened to Kirkwood, is the “most iconic street in Bloomington”, according to the Visit Bloomington website. Leading from campus into downtown Bloomington, Kirkwood features many clothing stores, coffee shops, restaurants and bars.


INTERNATIONAL STUDENT GUIDE 2021 Kirkwood is a popular place for students to spend their time and is bustling with activity, especially on weekends. “SYLLABUS” A syllabus is an outline of the topics taught and assignments required in a course. Professors will supply students with a syllabus at the beginning of each semester. The syllabus will explain the course schedule and include any major project deadlines or exam dates. In addition to explaining the course requirements, the syllabus often details the professor’s grading policy, office hours and contact information. The course’s required reading is also found in the syllabus. In short, just about any question a student may have for a professor can be answered by checking the syllabus. “RA” RA stands for “resident assistant”. A resident assistant is a student staff member who lives in on-campus housing in order to help advise and supervise students. All RAs at IU are required to have already lived in on-campus housing for at least one semester prior to becoming a RA. This experience allows RAs to better help students adjust to college life. RAs will host occasional meetings to explain rules and check-in on students. “SRSC” The Student Recreational Sports Center, better known as the SRSC, is a gym and recreational sports facility on campus. The SRSC offers

multiple strength and cardio areas and an indoor track. For those who prefer guided workouts, the SRSC hosts a number of group exercise classes such as yoga, pilates, cycling, cardio kickboxing, zumba, barre and more. As a sports facility, the SRSC features five basketball/volleyball courts, seven racquetball/wallyball courts, two squash courts, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and diving well, a Futsal court and numerous multipurpose courts, according to the IU Recreational Sports website. “LITTLE 5” The Little 500, sometimes referred to as the Little 5, is the United States’ largest collegiate bike race and a longstanding IU tradition. Inspired by the Indianapolis 500 automobile race, the Little 500 features fourperson bike teams cycling around a quarter-mile track. There is both a men’s and women’s race. The men’s is 200 laps while the women’s is 100 laps, according to the IU Student Foundation website. The race is a treasured tradition, with 2022 marking the 71st running of the men’s Little 5 and the 34th running of the women’s Little 5. There are multiple cycling events throughout the year, including Qualifications. According to the IU Student Foundation website, the fastest 33 men’s and women’s teams qualify for the Little 5, which takes place at the end of April. “SAMPLE GATES” The Sample Gates are two archways that mark the entrance to the Old Cres-

cent, a gathering of IU’s historic campus buildings, according to the Visit Bloomington website. Made out of Indiana limestone, the Sample Gates serve as an entryway to IU from Kirkwood Avenue. The Sample Gates are an iconic part of IU where new students, old alumni and visiting families stop to take photos.

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HOOSIER Hoosier is a term for residents of Indiana and also a name for IU students. IU athletic teams are frequently referred to as the Indiana Hoosiers. No one is sure where Hoosier comes from, but the official Indiana website has a page dedicated to potential theories regarding the term’s origin. “DEAD WEEK” Dead Week is the nationwide name for the week before final exams. This week is notoriously stressful since everyone on campus is busy studying for exams, writing papers and working on big projects. “BDP VS. IUPD” The Bloomington Police Department and IU Police Department are two separate entities. IUPD has primary jurisdiction on campus, as well as on streets that run through campus, according to the IUPD Bloomington webpage. IUPD Bloomington consists of 45 full-time certified police officers, as well as some parttime officers and student cadets. The rest of Bloomington falls under BPD’s jurisdiction. BPD employs 105 full-time certified police officers, according to the Bloomington website.

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Are you wanting to work in the U.S.? Here’s what you need to know. By Phyllis Cha | @phyllischa

International students can be employed in a student hourly position or hold an assistantship in the United States, according to the Office of International Services website. They are not eligible for work-study positions because they are part of a federally funded program. Students should contact OIS before accepting any on-campus employment not paid by IU. Students with an F-1 visa do not need authorization

from OIS to work on campus, however they must follow the conditions of their status to maintain legal immigration status. These include enrolling as a fulltime student and working no more than 20 hours each week during the fall and spring semesters. F-1 students have four categories of employment available, according to OIS. These include on-campus employment, Curricular Practical Training, Optional Practical Training and severe economic hardship. On-campus employment refers to having a job

on campus and being paid by IU. Curricular Practical Training is a practical training opportunity where students can get experience in their field of study, according to OIS. For CPT authorization, students must be a full-time student, have an F-1 status, have an offer letter outlining the training opportunity in their field of study and have registered for an appropriate course that covers the duration of training. CPT authorization is granted on a semester-bysemester basis only, accord-

ing to OIS. Withdrawing from classes or dropping credits tied to CPT authorization cancels the authorization. Optional Practical Training is for F-1 students who are completing a program of study. Those students may be eligible for 12 months of OPT post-graduation, which allows students to gain practical training and experience related to your major field of study, according to OIS. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is responsible for granting OPT authorization. According to OIS, for each level of higher

education completed, students are eligible for 12 months of OPT. This means 12 months after completion of a bachelor’s degree and another 12 months after a master’s degree, according to OIS. Applications for OPT can be submitted up to 90 days before expected program completion date and no later than 60 days after the completion of the program’s requirements. Students who must find employment due to severe, unexpected financial difficulties may be able to get authorization to work off

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campus. USCIS grants this authorization for F-1 students. Those with a J-1 visa must get authorization for any type of employment. J-1 students on an IU DS2019 facing severe economic hardship may get authorization from OIS. The DS-2019 form or “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status” is the basic document used in the administration of the exchange visitor program, according to BridgeUSA. According to OIS, it is difficult to obtain this authorization. Students should make an appoint-

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INTERNATIONAL STUDENT GUIDE 2021 ment with an OIS advisor. Students would still be limited to 20 hours per week. J-1 students can get oncampus employment or Academic Training. Academic Training is for certain opportunities, paid or unpaid, in a student’s field of study that is an integral part of the student’s overall academic goals. Students should apply for authorization at least two weeks before beginning and no later than two weeks after completing their academic program. To apply students must provide information about their prospective training opportunity, confirm information about health insurance and provide their academic advisor with a copy of the offer letter. They must also provide a

letter from the prospective employer on company letterhead that states the duties of training opportunity, the name of the supervisor, the location of employment, specific start and end dates, the number of hours of work per week and the proposed salary amount. Anyone receiving income must provide their employer with a Social Security number for tax purposes, according to OIS. To get an SSN, students must apply in person at the local Social Security Administration office. Bloomington’s office is located at 515 W Patterson Dr. To apply, all international applicants must have a valid passport, an I-20, DS-2019 or other document indicating nonimmigrant or immigrant status and one additional piece of identification, such

7 as a student ID card. With assistantships and fellowships, the number of hours worked is determined by a student’s contract, not the actual number of hours worked. If the contract states 20 hours and a student has only worked 15 hours, that is still counted as a student’s maximum number of hours because of the contract, according to OIS. The only exception to this rule is during Thanksgiving, winter, spring or summer breaks, when students can work full time. Students wishing to work more than 20 hours per week should call OIS before taking on additional hours. Students with any questions can make an appointment with an OIS advisor by callIDS FILE PHOTO BY CARL COTE ing 812-855-9086 to discuss Kirkwood Avenue is lined with businesses both shopped at and worked by students. International students have the opportunity to get a job in Bloomington as well. options.



Experiences of an African student in America By Agness Lungu | @AgnessLungu6

I am still learning to be okay with being called a person of color. The phrase has a ring to it that doesn’t sit right with me. Before coming to America I was just a person. In my country, Zambia, the population is more than 90 percent Black , so there’s never been any need for some of these categories. When a white friend of mine called me a person of color for the first time I almost asked, “who are you referring to?” I knew Black people were called people of color in America from books, but no one had ever

called me it personally. After my friend said it, I started to question why we were people of color. Is it because white is the standard and any sort of melanin taints that and we are referred to have color from the neutral white? Get used to being referred to as a person of color. In my country, white and Black people are referred to as coloureds. In our context that does not mean anything and it’s just what we call them. If your situation is like mine, don’t do that here. Referring to people as coloureds is an offensive term, call them mixed. IU has cultural centers for minority students. As a

Black student, I enjoyed attending events hosted by the Neal Marshall Black Culture Center. It’s also a great place to start if you are looking for community as a Black student. For those who are interested in dance or choir, I recommend checking out the African American Dance Company through the African American Arts Institute and going for auditions to join them. The African Student Association on campus is another great resource for African students. I attended a language jeopardy night and it was one of the most interesting events I ever attended last semester. We played a game where

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groups were supposed to guess where different languages, accents and dialects came from in Africa. It was very informational and fun because I love exploring different African languages. I have come to learn that political affiliations mean a lot of things here. I think I understand now why the parties are sometimes referred to as far right and far left. From my experience, the ones who associate with the Democrats are more liberal and express support for minorities and people of color. While the Republicans are more conservative. Hence, there are people who prefer to not be friends

with people who support a political party which is different from the one they are affiliated with. I think it is good to know this as an international student because those people will judge your character based on political views, most times. Personally, I have come to love IU and many of the people I have met. I have made good friends from many different races and I think as long as you find your place and community, everything will be fine. Just keep away from the racists. Lastly, do not let people touch your hair without your consent and find someone to add you to the Black IU group chat.



Students share tips for incoming class By Phyllis Cha | @phyllischa

Angela Lee, an international student from Santiago, Chile said the events hosted by the International Welcome Week Team exposed her to American culture and reminded her she was not alone. Lee said she had prepared for her transition to the United States, but it was still terrifying. She said incoming freshmen should come to IU with an open mind, be ready to explore and to ask questions. “It is hard to be an international student, sometimes you will feel homesick, you will not understand some

words, you may have difficulties navigating the new environment, understanding American humor, or getting used to the food around, but at the end of the day, it is an amazing and rewarding experience,” Lee said. It’s an opportunity to grow as a person and a stepping stone into the future, she said. Lee is now part of the International Welcome Week Team because she wanted to be a familiar face to say hello to other international students around campus. Lee said she spent all of her time in her dorm room talking to her friends at home during her first few days in Bloomington, she said,

which made her homesickness worse. She realized the best way for her to overcome homesickness was to go outside and push herself past her comfort zone. “Once you realize that everyone is going through the same process it would be easier to connect with other students,” she said. Lee said one thing she wished she knew before coming to IU was that there are many things to do offcampus, such as food, shops and places to hike. Students may have to step outside of their comfort zone to learn about the resources and opportunities that are available to them, Katie Goodread, IU coordinator

for International Orientation and Outreach, said. Checking email is one of the best ways to learn about campus resources and keep up to date, Goodread said. Fourth street has many international restaurants, some of which offer halal and vegetarian options, she said. Food delivery apps, such as RICEPO, Door Dash and Btown Menus give those without cars more access to restaurants in Bloomington. International grocery stores can be a more affordable way for students to get a taste of home, Goodread said. These include 4th Street International Market, World Foods Market, B-Town International Market, Apna

Bazaar International Market, Rong Cheng Supermarket and Little Italy Market. Adlin Iskandar said she wished she knew how to navigate the resources on campus, such as which office or department to contact about a bursar bill, whether she had to pay to use the bus or the Student Recreational Sports Center or what the procedure to get a medical check-up is. Orientation week and current students helped Iskandar answer a lot of these questions, she said. Iskandar also said she wished she knew that there were Asian markets here, and that her diet didn’t have to completely change in the United States.

Being involved with the IU Malaysian Student Association helped Iskandar get over her homesickness, and the group felt like a big family, she said. They had monthly gatherings and were involved in events hosted by the Office of International Services. The transition can be difficult, but international students don’t have to sacrifice any essential part of who they are, Iskandar said. “Sometimes during the journey, you might feel lonely, confused and frustrated in this new environment,” Iskandar said. “However, know that you bring your own unique perspective to any spaces that you are in.”

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Vaccination requirements for international students By Phyllis Cha | @phyllischa

International students can get any COVID-19 vaccine that has been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration or recommended by the World Health Organization, according to the IU COVID-19 FAQ page. Accepted vaccines include Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, AstraZeneca and Sinopharm, Dr. Lana Dbeibo, director of vaccine initiatives for IU's Medical Response Team, said in a webinar. Individuals who live in an international location that may not have access to the COVID-19 vaccine should submit a vaccination upon arrival request. International students who can’t access a COVID-19 vaccine in their location will not be penalized. IU students, staff and faculty must be fully vaccinated by August 15 or when they return to campus after August

1, whichever comes first, according to the IU COVID-19 vaccine page. Individuals should have received their first dose by July 1 to meet IU’s vaccination requirement, according to the IU COVID-19 FAQ page. Someone is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after having all doses of the vaccine. All current students, faculty and staff should report their COVID-19 vaccination using the COVID-19 vaccine report form. Documentation of the vaccine is recommended but not required. The documentation does not have to be in English. IU students, staff and faculty can submit an exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine by filling out an online request form. Approved exemptions include religious exemptions, medical exemptions with documentation and medical deferrals, according to the IU COVID-19

vaccine page. IU students who choose not to meet the vaccine requirement and don’t receive an exemption will have their class registration canceled and will not participate in any on-campus activities. Faculty and staff who choose not to meet the requirement will no longer be employed by Indiana University, according to the IU COVID-19 vaccine page. Unvaccinated students who meet exemptions will be required to participate in regular mitigation testing and wear masks until they are vaccinated. They can still participate in orientation, classes and other activities, according to the IU COVID-19 FAQ page. ETHAN LEVY | IDS

IU sophomore Alanna Wu receives her COVID-19 vaccination at the Orange County Community Center in Paoli, Indiana. Multiple vaccines satisfy the university's requirement, according to IU.



Tips for navigating IU student services By Izzy Myszak | @IzzyMyszak

Navigating IU as an international student can be challenging, here is an explanation of transportation, health services and your student activity fee to help you understand IU a bit more. HOW DO I GET AROUND BLOOMINGTON? There are multiple options for international students without vehicles to get around campus and Bloomington. From buses, scooters and ride apps, students have a multitude of options when it comes to transportation. All IU students get free transportation through the IU bus service. With a student crimson card ID, students can also use the Bloomington transit for free. Without the ID, stu-

dents will have to pay to use the Bloomington transit, however, simply show your card upon boarding and skip paying. Bus stops and live tracking for both transit services can be found on DoubleMaps. DoubleMaps is an application that can be downloaded for free on smartphones. This application will allow students to customize their bus selections and view routes as well as live track buses. There are also several paid options available for transportation for students. Students can download Uber, Lyft or Nomad Rides to pay for a car to come pick them up and take them where they need to go. Those looking for more short distance transportation can download the Lime – Your Ride Anytime or Bird – Be Free, Enjoy the Ride app to pay for

any of the electrical scooters around campus and town. Be sure to look and see which brand is on the scooter to use the correct application. WHAT IF I GET SICK? In order to receive more affordable medical care in the U.S, health insurance is required. According to the Offi ce of International SerOffice vices’ website, all international students are required to have health insurance for the duration of their stay in the U.S. IU enrolls students in its plan, administered by Anthem, according to its website. All IU students are required to pay a mandatory health center fee. This fee is not insurance, the funds go to support the health center. IU international students will have to pay a health insurance premium fee, in addition to the health

center fee. The fee for IU health insurance will be billed to the student’s bursar account once each semester. For fall 2021 the fee is $721.30, for spring 2022 and summer 2022 the fee is $999.45 and for just summer 2022 the fee is $287.58. To make an appointment through the IU Student Health Center students should log in using their IU login at https://scheduler. The health center offers medical services, counseling and psychological services as well as wellness sessions. Student’s can also fulfill their prescriptions at the health center and if living in a residence hall can have their prescriptions delivered. Students can also receive STI testing, regulatory lab work, receive vaccines and receive physical therapy.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN MY STUDENT ACTIVITY FEE? When looking at your bill for the upcoming school year you will see a student activity fee. However, if you were not already familiar with this fee you may be a little confused on what all this fee encompasses. When you pay your student activity fee you are paying for admission to the Student Recreational Sports Center and the Bill Garrett Fieldhouse. Both of these locations include cardio and strength workout stations as well as indoor running/walking tracks. At each location there is also a swimming pool. Students may also check out equipment using their crimson card ID. Aside from individual workouts, the student activity fee also includes access to group workouts.



What you need to know about IU athletics in 3 minutes


The IU men’s basketball team stands in front of cardboard cutout fans on Thursday at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.



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INTERNATIONAL STUDENT GUIDE 2021 By Bradley Hohulin | @BradleyHohulin

If you’re new to IU or the collegiate athletics scene in general, the barrier to entry as a fan can look rather tall. With 24 teams representing 16 extremely distinct sports, you may feel like all you can do is cheer on the athletes wearing red, which gets tricky since that applies to nearly half the schools in the Big Ten. That’s the conference in which all of IU’s teams compete, by the way. The Big Ten contains 14 schools, which should immediately tell you how well organized it is. Most of those 14 schools are conveniently nestled in the Midwest, although there are a couple along the East coast. They aren’t relevant in the context of this guide, and honestly they’re barely rel-

evant outside of it. Part of being a Big Ten school means spending a lot of money on sports, which is a huge reason why IU has had so much success in so many different ones throughout the years — just don’t Google anything about the football team prior to, say, 2019. Unequivocally the most popular sport at IU is men’s basketball. Even if you haven’t watched a single minute of Hoosier basketball, you’ve probably heard the name Bob Knight. You might have even watched the 1986 film “Hoosiers,” easily one of the 17 best sports movies ever made. Basketball is to Indiana what Hollywood is to California or what hilariously bizarre criminals are to Florida. For IU, that means every basketball season starts with expectations higher than the five

13 championship banners hanging from the rafters in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Now, if you ever visit Assembly Hall, you may notice the most recent date on those banners is from a time when your parents would have been in college. That’s a bit of a sore subject for Hoosier faithfuls, but a championship run could be right around the corner. IU just needs to actually make the tournament first. Fortunately, basketball is far from the only sport at which the Hoosiers excel. IU men’s soccer is hot off a national championship appearance, its fourth in the last decade. The team’s eight NCAA titles are the second most of any program, but the Hoosiers are still largely considered the best squad across collegiate soccer history. The school with the most champi-

onships hasn’t won one since 1973, which just so happens to be the same year IU men’s soccer gained varsity status. Coincidence? Who’s to say? Speaking of top-flight talent, both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving rosters are studded with Olympians, in case watching the literal greatest in the world compete at the highest level is something you’re into. This winter, you have to catch a swimming and diving meet at the Counsilman Billingsley Aquatic Center — or as you might know it, the massive pool in the Student Recreational Sports Center you’re usually not allowed to go in. Then there’s the team with the most recent success at Assembly Hall, IU women’s basketball. Head coach Teri Moren

has transformed the Hoosiers into a national competitor with championship aspirations. The fact that you can get into one of their games with no more than your student ID is the sort of fantastic steal you’ll see senior guard and gold medalist Grace Berger make regularly on the court. Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the football team, which has also experienced a massive glow-up as of late. Again, not that you should ever, ever look into the program’s history, but its present is extremely sweet. Head coach Tom Allen is a neutron star of limitless energy worth the price of admission alone. I’m pretty sure the bandwagon is still accepting riders, so hop on before IU messes around and becomes a football school. These are the sports you’re

bound to hear the most about during your time in Bloomington, but don’t overlook the hidden gems. A softball game at Andy Mohr Field or a baseball game at Bart Kaufman Field is a great way to unwind after finals in the spring. Watching an IU wrestling match will leave you wondering how it’s possible to be that jacked and that flexible at the same time. If you didn’t go to the approximately 12 secondary schools in the world that have a water polo or field hockey team, now is the chance. Above all, try to have fun and remember the best fans are the ones who exemplify sportsmanship. That means displaying humility in victory, being gracious in defeat and brutally mocking the team in black and gold if it so much as misses a free throw.

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Staiculescu, Mejic ‘living a dream’ By Ara Cowper | @aracowper5

Five thousand miles away from Bloomington, in August of 2019, Alexandra Staiculescu and Mila Mejic stepped onto flights departing for the United States. Both had committed to play collegiate tennis for the women’s team at IU. Staiculescu was leaving Bucharest, Romania, while Mejic left Subotica, Serbia. “When I was eighteen, there was just a period of time where I was thinking about what I want to do in my

life,” Mejic said. “I decided I would love to come to the United States and pursue a good education and just enjoy tennis and competing.” The two current juniors, recruited by head coach Ramiro Azcui, would be a part of the 2019 freshman class. They would join two other international players on an eight-athlete roster. “Tennis is such an international sport,” Azcui said. “There’s a high level of prospects out there, and it’s nice to be able to get some of the good international players to come to Indiana.”

The recruiting process for international athletes starts with Azcui and his staff identifying potential recruits through international tournaments. From there, they find the player’s age group and reach out through social media to see if they have any interest in playing college tennis. “You have to do a lot of homework,” Azcui said. “There’s so many good players out there and you can’t go to every single country to find those players.” For Staiculescu, who had spent time competing in

small professional tournaments, college was an opportunity to continue playing tennis. Although she was hesitant to play in college, she lacked the finances to become a professional player in Romania. “It was a tough decision because I wasn’t ready to quit the sport I had been playing my whole life, but I also wanted to go to school,” Staiculescu said. “That’s kind of why I chose the United States and to play for school.” IU also sends a coach to a recruit’s country to watch them play. Both Staiculescu

and Mejic, after they showed interest in playing for IU, were visited by a coach. “It is extremely important to us to send someone to visit their country just because of the culture of our program and the way I run our program,” Azcui said. “I feel like our program is a little more family-oriented, so the way I want to bring in players is that they’re going to fit that mold.” IU quickly became a second home for the two players. For Mejic, the campus reminded her of her home city. She said that like Subotica, IU was warm and welcoming.

Staiculescu felt a connection with the coaches and found the campus beautiful, saying that IU felt like the right place for her. “IU really felt like home,” Mejic said. “I can’t find just one thing that I really love about it.” Although they both love IU, becoming a collegiate athlete had its own set of challenges. Neither Staiculescu nor Mejic were used to the rigorous schedule or different approach to the game that came with playing in the United States. “I wish I would’ve been

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INTERNATIONAL STUDENT GUIDE 2021 told that it’s not going to be easy,” Staiculescu said. “You really have to stay motivated all the time if you want to be successful at every point of your life.” Azcui, who left Bolivia to play at Abilene Christian University from 1984-1987, understands how his international players feel. He tries to use what he went through in college as an international athlete to help his players and coaching staff navigate the challenges that come with the team’s diverse roster. “It’s a big adjustment for freshmen, a big adjustment to everything: the culture, the food, the music, everything for them,” Azcui said. “The only constant, the only known thing that they have, is their game. It’s their racket and their game.”


But at the end of the day, despite difficult adjustments and challenges, Staiculescu wouldn’t change her decision in coming to IU. “Being a student athlete requires a lot of work and dedication, but I’d say that everything is definitely worth it,” Staiculescu said. “You’re going to have a lot of great experiences with the team and within the department and with school.” Mejic wouldn’t change it either. “My favorite part is that it really feels, even after two years, that you’re living a dream,” Mejic said. PHOTO BY IZZY MYSZAK

Then-freshman tennis player Mila Mejic finishes her serve Sept. 29, 2019 at the IU Hoosier Classic. Mejic came to IU from Subotica, Serbia, to continue playing tennis while getting an education

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International cuisine offered downtown By Julianna Wigsmoen

Students who want to dine off-campus can eat at the various ethnic restaurants on Fourth Street near Sample Gates. Cuisine ranges from Turkish to Tibetan to Greek and many others in between. Maia Law, a sophomore, said the restaurants are a better alternative to oncampus dining. “I like being able to have a big variety of different cuisines,” Law said, “and it’s really cool to try new dishes I’ve never tried before.” Law said her favorite restaurant is Siam House, a Thai restaurant, because

they offer good curry and reasonable prices. Fourth Street restaurants include: BTOWN GYROS 408 E. 4th Street Bloomington, IN 47408 (812) 333-1396 Btown Gyros offers gyros, falafels and other Mediterranean foods. This restaurant is located within the 4th Street Oriental International Market. INDIA GARDEN 420 E. 4th Street Bloomington, IN 47408 (812) 331-8844 India Garden serves modern interpretations of

traditional Indian dishes like biryani, tandoori and tikka masala. TASTE OF INDIA 316 E. 4th Street Bloomington, IN 47408 (812) 333-1399 Taste of India is a family-owned restaurant. They primarily serve Northern Indian food, but they are also the only restaurant in Bloomington to offer Southern Indian cuisine. In addition to dinner, Taste of India offers a lunch buffet. DO ASIAN FUSION CUISINE 404 E. 4th Street Bloomington, IN 47408 (812) 333-7470

Do Asian Fusion Cuisine primarily serves Korean food such as Korean fried chicken, bibimbaps and kimchi. KOREA RESTAURANT 409 E. 4th Street Bloomington, IN 47408 (812) 339-2735 Korea Restaurant serves traditional Korean cuisine like the hot stone bibimbap, beef bulgogi and fried dumplings. MY THAI CAFÉ PLUS 402 E. 4th Street Bloomington, IN 47408 (812) 333-3993 Pad Thai, tom yum noodle soup and pad kee mow

are a few examples of the Thai dishes served here.

selection of Indian and Thai dishes.

SIAM HOUSE 430 E. 4th Street Bloomington, IN 47408 (812) 331-1233 Siam House offers Thai meals including pad talay, yellow curry and spicy basil fried rice.

ANATOLIA 405 E. 4th Street Bloomington, IN 47408 (812) 334-2991 Anatolia offers Turkish street food, baklava, moussaka and more.

ANYETSANG’S LITTLE TIBET 415 E. 4th Street Bloomington, IN 47408 (812) 331-0122 Anyetsang’s Little Tibet is the only Tibetan restaurant in Bloomington. Their specials include kham amdo thugpa, temo sha tsel and a

BURMA GARDEN 413 E. 4th Street Bloomington, IN 47408 (812) 339-7334 Burma Garden specializes in Burmese dishes such as tea leaf salad and fish soup with rice noodles. Many dishes are similar to Indian, Thai and Chinese dishes.


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Asian businesses eager for international students’ return By Wei Wang | @WeiWangDavid23

Bloomington’s Asian business owners have faced challenges growing their businesses and maintaining their sales levels as the COVID-19 pandemic has limited the number of visiting customers. However, they are optimistic about their businesses recovering as the pandemic subsides and international students return to Bloomington. Matt Boyer, whose mother’s family comes from China, founded his personal training studio Move Bloomington last August and is currently its only staff. He said he saw an opportunity in people needing more individualized fitness training to avoid injuries. He said although it wasn’t ideal founding his studio in the middle of the pandemic, the market opportunity and the good location of his studio convinced him to go ahead and start his business. The biggest challenge brought by the pandemic is getting his business’s name out in the community, Boyer said. “It’s just hard to really go in anywhere,” he said. “You

don’t want to just go into a restaurant and start talking to people or talk to the owner about, ‘Hey, I just opened down the street.’ You’re not going to do that right now because it’s a pandemic.” B-Town International Market founder Mark Li said the store’s sales dropped by about 25% since IU shut down its campus last March. He said the drop in sales is mainly because IU’s Chinese international students did not return to campus, as well as strained U.S.-China relations.

“In the past people used to line up at the doorstep every day,” he said. “Now that’s not happening at all.” Li said his biggest hope is for Chinese students to return to Bloomington in August. But he said the store hasn’t been waiting idly for summer. He said now that many of his customers are local Americans, he has stocked more southeast Asian and Japanese snacks to cater to their preferences. “We have to make it through,” he said. “There’s still

much room for us to improve. But once the Chinese students return, our business will get better. Adding our American customers on top of our Chinese customers, our business can be even better than before.” As challenging as it is, Li said running a supermarket is still not as difficult as running a restaurant during the pandemic. He said many customers may choose to avoid visiting restaurants for fear of contracting the coronavirus, but few can give up grocery

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shopping. “At the end of the day, you’ve still got to eat, right?” he said. Alan Liu, manager at Homey Hot Pot & Sushi, said their sales dropped by 60-70% since March, 2020. He said the restaurant’s main customers are Asian international students, many of whom haven’t been in Bloomington the past year. “We’ve rolled out deliveries for things like soup noodles,” he said. “But after all there aren’t many Asian stu-

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dents on campus.” The all-you-can-eat restaurant closed last year from mid-March to mid-August. Liu said since its reopening, business has been improving sluggishly. He said the restaurant’s menu prices have risen due to costs for vegetables, meat, seafood and beverages, which rose because of the pandemic’s disruption of the American and global economy. Liu said it’s impossible for business to return to normal right after international students return for the fall semester. However, he remains hopeful that his restaurant will gradually recover after summer break. “Running a business, well, the most important virtue is perseverance,” he said. “You can’t give up right away just because of a couple months.” The interviews with Mark Li and Alan Liu are translated from Mandarin Chinese. PHOTO BY KATHARINE KHAMHAENGWONG

Mark Li, owner of B-Town International Market, works in his store. Bloomington’s Asian business owners have faced challenges growing their businesses and maintaining their sales levels during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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