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AUG 2018







HOW TO USE THIS HANDBOOK This handbook was designed to help students

you are accepted to the University of West

understand the admissions requirements and

Georgia, use the rest of the pages in this

what they need to do before arriving to the

handbook to understand your next steps

University of West Georgia. Use this handbook as

before departing your home country. This

a guide to walk you through what documents to

handbook provides useful tips and ways to

submit to the ISAP office for admissions and

ensure a smooth transition from your home

how to contact our office with questions. Once

country to life at UWG. Welcome West!


INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ORIENTATION FALL 2018 AUGUST 14, 2018 New International Student Check-In and Orientations are required of all international students in F-1 or J-1 status that are new to the University of West Georgia. Check-in is held at the beginning of orientation each semester. Failure to check-in will result in the termination of your status. Orientation is designed to assist with your transition to life in the United States, Carrollton, and UWG. All new international students must report to orientation before 9:00am for the semester you are admitted. You should bring your passport, I-20 or DS2019, insurance documents (if applicable), and any other immigration documents (including dependents’ documents) that you may have. It is advisable that you make housing arrangements before you arrive to the United States. U.S. Immigration regulations do not allow international students to enter the USA more than 30 days before the start date on your I-20/DS-2019. Orientation will provide you information about:  Federal immigration regulations and your responsibilities as an international student How to navigate the campus and administration

What to bring to Orientation:

of UWG

Your passport

Basic needs such as transportation, food, and

Your I-20 or DS-2019


Your USA Address

Cultural adjustments to life in the USA and in

any questions you have!

Carrollton Unique characteristics of the US classroom ISAP HANDBOOK | PAGE 2



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STAFF FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS THE ISAP TEAM PAUL SARGENT ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ADMISSIONS & PROGRAMS Paul works with international students at UWG during their admissions process. Paul is the point of contact for everything admissions, from what documents you need to submit, test scores, and also the tuition wavier status. 

BRANDY RIVERA INTERNATIONAL STUDENT SERVICES COORDINATOR Brandy works with international students at UWG primarily after they have been accepted to the University of West Georgia. She assist students during orientation and all the way up through graduation and OPT. Brandy also oversees the Global Village Living Community and the International Student club on campus. 

DANIELLE PLUMMER DEPARTMENTAL ASSOCIATE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ADMISSIONS & PROGRAMS Danielle is responsible for multiple ISAP budgets, Student Assistants, and Office Management. She supports the immigration team in various immigration compliance-related issues in SEVIS and other visa-related processes. Danielle is delighted to assist international students and others with various needs and issues.


INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ADMISSIONS & PROGRAMS OUR MISSION Our mission is to attract, enroll, and retain best-fit international students, while enhancing the academic experiences of these students by providing high impact services, knowledge and expertise in advising, immigration services, advocacy, and programming to the University of West Georgia campus community to promote Global Citizenship and cultural understanding.

WHAT OUR OFFICE DOES 1. Admits international students to the University of West Georgia 2. Issues I-20s and DS-2019s to students after they are accepted into UWG. 3. Check to ensure students are enrolled in the correct number of credit hours to ensure compliance with immigration regulations. 4. Report compliance to federal agencies through SEVIS. 5. Teach other departments or provide consultation on current immigration regulations that affect our students. 6. Advises international students on immigration regulations as it pertains to their student visa types. 7. Assists students with culture shock and adapting to college in the USA. 8. Provide tax assistance/information to international students through the VITA program. 9. Hosts workshops for students about immigration regulations. 10. Hosts events for both domestic and international students to help facilitate cultural exchanges and learning. 

WHAT OUR OFFICE DOES NOT • Issue visas (this is done by the USA embassy in the student's home country). • Provide legal advice or consultation to employers of international students. • Advise students on classes or schedules. We send students to advisors for anything class related. • Deport students. We only report compliance to SEVIS. • Make any type of immigration policies. We only ensure compliance of immigration regulations passed down from the federal/state.

CONTACT INFORMATION Mandeville Hall, Room 120             Phone: (678) 839-4780                        Email: 1601 Maple Street                             Fax: (678) 839-5509                              Hours: Monday – Friday; 8am – 5pm Carrollton, GA 30118                         Website: 


GETTING ACCEPTED INTO THE UNIVERSITY OF WEST GEORGIA APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS • Freshman are admitted based on the Freshman Index System. More information on admissions can be found in the UWG Academic Catalog. • Transfer students must have a minimum 2.00 GPA (a "C" or better where "A"=4.00) from a college or university. Some UWG programs require a higher minimum transfer GPA. 

ENGLISH PROFICIENCY REQUIREMENTS Success at UWG begins with a strong comprehension of the English language. Because our rigorous courses are taught in English and move at a fast pace, fluency in the language is necessary for understanding concepts and expressing yourself effectively. Applicants whose native language is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency by submitting test scores from one of the following: • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) • Pearson Test of English (PTE) A full list of approved exams can be found on our website at No conditional admissions are granted.

MINIMUM TEST SCORES SAT (prior to March 2016)                                               Critical Reading: 430                                           UWG Code: 5900                                                                                             Math: 410 RSAT (March 2016 - present)                                          Reading: 24                                                          UWG Code: 5900                                                                                             Math: 450 ACT                                                                                     English: 17                                                             UWG Code: 0878                                                                                             Math: 17 TOEFL                                                                                 iBT: 69                                                                   UWG Code: 5900 IELTS Academic                                                               Overall 6.0

TUITION & FEE PAYMENT Tuition and fees are based on the number of credit hours a student is enrolled each semester. For undergraduate international students, a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester is required for immigration compliance. Students are able to take up to 21 credit hours per semester without special permission. Tuition and fee payment table can be found on our website at International Students may wish to seek funding and scholarships while at the University of West Georgia. We recommend that each international student fill out the UWG General Scholarship Application (Scholarship Search below). Students may also qualify for our departmental scholarship or an out of state tuition waiver. All requirements are listed in the Out of State Waivers Section. 


APPLICATION PROCEDURES 1. Complete Application: Submit your application for admission online and send the all supporting documents (application fee, transcripts, test scores and financial guarantee) online. 2. Submit Non-Refundable Fee: If you did not submit your application fee with your admission application, you may make your payment through MyUWG or submit payment in the form of a check or money order drawn on a U.S. Banking Affiliate and made payable to the University of West Georgia. Do not send cash or international postal money orders. Application fees cannot be waived. 3. Request Official Transcripts: Official transcripts are certified copies of official documents from each secondary school, college, university and/or technical schools attended. Records must include courses completed, grades or marks earned, and certificates or degrees awarded. Include a certified English translation of all documents not written in English. See our website for more details. 4. Submit Financial Guarantee: All international students require financial documentation for the first year of study in the amount of approximately $32,000. See our website for the official form and more information about the document requirements. 5. Submit English Proficiency: Have your TOEFL or IELTS score sent directly to UWG. TOEFL: The official TOEFL score report can be sent directly to UWG from the Educational Testing Service. UWG’S TOEFL institutional code is 5900. For information about this test and registration procedures, contact ETS at PO Box 6151, Princeton, NJ 08541-6151, USA or visit IELTS: For information about this test and registration procedures, contact the IELTS Office, University of Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate, 1 Hills Road, Cambridge/CB1 2EU, UK or visit PTE: For information about the Pearson Test of English, visit 6. Submit ACT or SAT Scores: If you have taken the ACT or SAT, please submit official scores to Undergraduate Admissions. Some UWG colleges/schools have minimum ACT/SAT score requirements for entrance to their programs. If you live in an area where neither of these tests are offered, you can apply for an exemption.

ITEMS TO CONSIDER • Admission to UWG cannot be determined until your file is complete and all of your credentials are evaluated. • You must enroll full-time each semester. Undergraduates: 12 credit hours; Graduates: 9 credit hours • Students holding F-2 visas cannot attend UWG on a full-time basis. • All international students on F-1 or J-1 visas must provide a Financial Guarantee to show evidence of sufficient funds available for their students before their SEVIS Form I-20 can be issued.


GETTING AN I-20 OR DS-2019 YOUR IMMIGRATION DOCUMENT The I-20 Form or DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility) is a legal immigration document, created by UWG, allowing you to apply for an F-1/J-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy. If you are already attending a high school or college in the U.S., you will need a transfer I-20 once your current program ends in order to continue your studies in the U.S. UWG will mail out your I20/DS-2019 to you by standard mail for free. 

WHICH DOCUMENT YOU WILL RECEIVE Student applying for an F-1 Student Visa (obtaining a degree from UWG) will receive an I-20. Students applying for a J-1 Student Visa (studying abroad at UWG for 1 semester or year) will receive a DS-2019.

YOUR I-20 OR DS-2019 The Form I-20/DS-2019 is an important document that you should keep safe, as you will need it when you: • Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee o Before you pay the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Fee, you must receive the Form I20/DS-2019 from a DSO at the school you plan to attend. You will need information from the Form I-20/DS-2019 to pay the fee. The I-901 SEVIS Fee is mandatory and must be paid before you enter the United States. • Apply for a nonimmigrant visa o The Form I-20/DS-2019 lists your program start date, 30 days before which you are allowed to enter the United States. F-1 and J-1 student visas can be issued up to 120 days in advance of your course of study start date. Your type of student visa must match the type of Form I-20/DS-2019 you have (e.g., F-1 or J-1). • Enter the United States o You need to have your Form I-20/DS-2019 on hand as you enter the country. Do not pack it away in your suitcase. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer will instruct you to present your Form I-20/DS-2019 at the port of entry. You may arrive up to 30 days before the start date listed on your Form I-20/DS-2019 • Change status while in the United States o You need a Form I-20/DS-2019 if you are already in the United States as another type of nonimmigrant and you are applying to USCIS to change your status to F or J. • Apply for benefits o Your Form I-20/DS-2019 proves that you are legally enrolled in a program of study in the United States. Therefore, it may be needed when you apply for the benefits available to F and J students. If you are eligible to apply for a driver’s license or a social security number, remember to bring your Form I-20/DS-2019 with you. As of July 1, 2016, the redesigned Form I-20 is required for all F nonimmigrant visa applications, entry into the United States, travel and applications for nonimmigrant benefits. The previous version of the Form I-20 (with a barcode) is now invalid. Students please note that your DSOs were responsible for providing an updated, hard copy of the Form I-20 with original signatures to all F-1 students at their schools.


STANDARD MAIL Please allow approximately 2-4 weeks for standard airmail delivery, but it can take even longer to some countries or remote regions of the world. Once your I-20 has been shipped, you will receive information from the ISAP office through email.

EXPRESS MAIL If you live outside of the U.S., you can select the express mail option to ensure quick, reliable delivery of your I-20 with tracking. The shipping fees for express mail service generally range from $50 to $100 depending on the country. If you select the express mail option, you will need to pre-pay for that service online through eShipGlobal. Once your payment has been processed, eShipGlobal will notify our office. We will create your I-20 and then mail it through the express mail service you selected. You will be able to track your package through your eShipGlobal account once it has been picked up at the University. Delivery is usually within 5-7 days. If you have questions about how to create an eShipGlobal account or use this service, please email eShipGlobal directly at The shipping fee must be paid online through eShipGlobal before your I-20 has been created and is ready to be mailed. If you have not set up an eShipGlobal account and paid the shipping fees before your I-20 is ready to be mailed, then the I20 will be sent via standard postal mail. eShipGlobal is the only option for using express mail service. We cannot accommodate requests to use other shipping methods.

GETTING A VISA The type of visa that you apply for will depend on your course of study while attending UWG. Students will apply for an F-1 or a J-1 type of visa. Check your immigration packet you received to know which type of visa you should apply for. It is very important that you apply for the correct visa to ensure there are no delays in receiving your visa. You cannot enter into the United States until you receive a United States visa. • You will apply for an F-1 visa if you will be studying at the University of West Georgia AND obtaining a degree from UWG. • You will apply for a J-1 visa if you will be studying at the University of West Georgia for a year or semester and NOT obtaining a degree from UWG. (study abroad or exchange programs)




UNITED STATES STANDARD MAIL Students usually dress casually for class, so you will see men and women wearing jeans, sweatshirts, flipflops, etc. Dresses and suits are appropriate for more formal occasions: men will want to have a shirt and tie, and women will want to have at least one nice dress or suit. It is usually better to bring clothes that are easy to care for than those that need frequent cleaning and ironing. Feel free to wear your national dress if you prefer. Even if you live on campus, you will need to provide your own blankets, sheets, towels, lamps, pillow, cooking utensils, and other household items. These items can be easily purchased after you arrive. If you are bring appliances and electronics from your own country (hair dryer, phone charger, laptop computer, etc.), you should also bring an adapter plug with you. U.S. electrical current is 110-115, 60-cycle AC. You would need to bring adapters for electrical appliances (U.S. standard outlets use 110 volts) if you bring electric appliances with you. Other Items: If you wear glasses or contact lenses, bring an extra pair. If you have a prescription for your glasses, you can bring it so that another pair can be made easily. Your medical insurance is not likely to cover items such as personal medications, eye examinations and dental care, so you are recommended to take care of these matters before you leave. If you have your favorite sporting equipment like bathing suit and tennis racquet, you can also bring them with you. Just keep in mind that you should leave heavy golf clubs, bicycle, basketball, etc. at home. This kind of equipment can easily be borrowed in U.S.  Here are some things you should be sure to bring with you: • Your academic transcript and a copy of your diploma • Driver’s license from your home country (if you have one) • Your marriage license (if applicable) and other important documentations • Items for sharing your culture with others: souvenirs, music, postcards, photographs, or traditional dress (if you have room) There are also some things you should definitely NOT bring with you! Leave these at home: • Pets • Large appliances such as refrigerator • Firearms, weapons • Fireworks or other inflammable items • Hot plates • Mini indoor grills (for example, George Foreman Grill) • Microwave (allowed only in apartment-style residences) • Coil lighting • Air conditioners • Space heaters


TRAVELING TO THE USA Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson airport is the busiest in the world. It’s also a very large airport, so we highly recommend that you research and look at maps before you arrive to Atlanta.

PORT OF ENTRY INSPECTIONS The next step in the visa-related process will be entering the U.S. which involves an inspection at the port of entry.  Most often, this is the airport where you first land in the U.S., but it could also be a sea port or a land port of entry, depending on your mode of travel. If you will initially land in the U.S. and will then connect to Atlanta from there, you should allow plenty of time between your arrival and connecting flight, as you have to go through immigration and customs inspection at the first point of entry to the country. Regardless of where you enter the U.S., be prepared to provide the following documents at the port of entry to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer. NOTE: CBP inspection takes place before you collect your luggage, so you must have these documents on your person. Do not put your travel documents in your checked luggage. • Passport (valid for at least 6 months into the future) • Visa stamp (does not apply to Canadian citizens) • SEVIS Form I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1) for UWG • SEVIS fee receipt • Supporting financial documentation If you were given a brown envelope at your visa interview, it will contain several of the above documents. We also recommend you review the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) travel FAQs before coming into the U.S.

SECONDARY INSPECTIONS Upon inspection of your documents, you may be sent to "secondary inspection" which means an additional inspection of your documents is required. Often this is done on a random basis and may have nothing to do with your specific circumstances. Although secondary inspection can be intimidating and cause anxiety, there is usually little cause for alarm.  Waiting in secondary can take up to a few hours, but almost always results in successful admissions afterwards.  If you are taken to secondary, it is important that you remain calm during the process. Even if there are delays and your patience is tested, it will ease the process to be cooperative.   Helping Clear Up Entry Questions with CBP Some questions can be resolved by CBP contacting ISAP to confirm information about an international student. We recommend having the following numbers available on your phone, as well as written down: • ISAP Office (678) 839-4780 You can call this number anytime during business hours. Monday – Friday 8:00am – 5:00pm. • UWG Police (678) 839-6000 You can call this number at in time during any urgent/emergency situation.


ADMISSIONS STAMP & ELECTRONIC I-94 RECORD 1. Check Your Entry Stamp Before You Leave the Counter! When you are at the port of entry the officer will place an admission stamp in your passport and then write the visa status you are being given (F-1 or J-1) and the expiration date.  For students in F-1 or J-1 status the expiration is noted with "D/S" which stands for 'duration of status'. This means that there is not a specific date that your entry will expire.  Rather, you are allowed to stay in the U.S. until your F1/J-1 status ends (i.e. your entry will be valid for the duration of your status). 2. Check your entry stamp BEFORE walking away from the window. If your stamp shows the incorrect status or has a specific expiry date instead of D/S, RETURN to the inspection area and request your stamp be corrected.  In the event this is not possible, please contact ISAP the next business day.  When you enter the country, an electronic record of your admission, known as the I-94, will also be created. You can retrieve a copy of your I-94 by visiting the CBP website. We recommend that you carry the contact information of our office with you, so that if you encounter any difficulties, we can assist you.  Our telephone number is (+1) (678) 839-4780. Canadian Students: Even though students from Canada do not require an entry visa (the entry document in your passport), you must be admitted in F-1/J-1 status to legally participate in your program.  Make sure you do not use ESTA or get admitted in Tourist status.  Confirm that your entry stamp says 'F-1 D/S' or 'J-1 D/S' before you leave the counter. 3. What to Bring & Customs Declarations In addition to all of your immigration documents, you may need to inform U.S. Customs officials about items you are carrying into the country in your luggage. Do be aware that it is unlawful to bring some items, such as certain foods, into the U.S. TRAVELING TIP: Let the ISAP office know of your travel plans as soon as you arrange them. If you send our office your schedule, we can ensure a member of the staff will be available to answer any questions and to make sure you arrive in Atlanta safely.


ARRIVING @ UWG Before orientation, UWG provides transportation for incoming students from the airport to their housing. We provide these transportation shuttles a few days before the International Student Orientation. In order to register for the airport shuttle, you will need the following information:    • Incoming flight number, date, and time.      • Contact information for yourself and an emergency contact.      • Information on where you will be living while at UWG. Check the dates and times of the upcoming airport pickup BEFORE you reserve your housing. You can see the dates/time on our website. Communicate with your housing choice the date and time you will be arriving to ensure they have make prior arrangements to accommodate your arrival.  HOW AIRPORT PICKUPS WORK  1. Incoming students fill out the airport pickup request on our website.      a. Be sure you have communicated with your housing arrangements before you arrange the airport pickup.      b. If you are living in the Global Village International Themed Living Community, you do not have to contact housing because we do all of that for you! 2. The ISAP office will reach out to you before your flight to let you know when you will be picked up from the airport.      a. We will work to ensure you are picked up as soon as logistically possible. Please be aware you may have to wait a few hours if there are students coming in soon to your arrival time. However, we will never make you wait overnight or more than a few hours.      b. The Atlanta airport has lots of food, shopping, and places to rest while you wait. 3. When you arrive in Atlanta, connect to the free Wi-Fi as soon as possible.      a. Keep a check on your email, as if we cannot contact you with the social media you gave us, we will email you.      b. The email that details who will be picking you up will give you an emergency cell phone number you can call. 



HEALTH INSURANCE UNDERSTANDING HEALTH INSURANCE The US healthcare system offers some of the best medical care in the world, but it is complex, difficult to navigate, and often very expensive. The US system will also likely be very different from the healthcare system you are used to back home. In this video, we offer a few simple tips: First, like most Americans, you will need a private insurance plan, through either your school or one that you purchase directly. There is no “universal access” or “national healthcare” like many countries offer. When you seek any medical care, the provider you choose – hospital, doctor, or clinic - will look to you and to your insurance carrier to get paid for their services – there will be no payment from the government and healthcare can be very expensive in the US. Here are a few recent real-life examples: Appendicitis: $60,493 Fractured humerus : $47,445 Fractured clavicle: $18,393 Car crash/ serious illness: $150,000+ We hope by now it is clear why you need insurance. However, even with insurance, you should still be prepared to pay some portion of the cost of your medical care. Cost sharing is an important element of the US system, so medical care is never entirely free and each time you access the system you should expect some cost. While your insurance plan will typically cover the majority of expenses, there will be co-pays, deductibles, coinsurance, excluded charges or some combination of these items that will ensure that you pay something. Carefully review your insurance documentation so you understand how these payments work for your plan. Seeking Treatment: When you get sick or injured, where do you seek care? Here is where it can get complicated. The medical system in the USA is made up of a mixture of many different types of providers – large and small hospitals, emergency rooms, private doctors’ offices, urgent care centers, walk-in clinics, specialist’s offices, surgery centers, pharmacies, and our favorite, the on-campus clinic. As daunting as it may look, if you keep a few simple points in mind, seeking medical care does not need to be overly complicated. The main thing to do is, if possible, stay out of the emergency room. Emergency rooms in the US are expensive and are designed for life threatening or very severe illnesses and injuries. If you have the flu, or a sprain or minor cut, you can go to an urgent care center, walk-in clinic, on campus clinic or doctor’s office for a fraction of the cost of the emergency room. The best place to start, if possible, is your on-campus health center or clinic. These clinics are typically available at reduced cost or even free, are close and convenient, and even if you end up having to go somewhere else later, will save you money under most insurance plans.


Local doctors’ offices are a good, affordable place to start your medical care as well. Often called “general practitioners” or “family doctors”, these offices typically require an appointment, and some doctors may not accept new or short-term patients. If you can find a doctor you like and get an appointment, it can be the best place to start. Often a more convenient option is a walk-in clinic or urgent care center. With long opening hours, no appointment or prior relationship required, and ability to deal with a wide variety of medical issues, these retail providers have become extremely popular. They can cost a bit more than a doctor’s office, but much less than an emergency room, and typically accept a wide variety of insurance plans. Of course, for serious or life-threatening illnesses and injuries, go straight to the emergency room connected to your local hospital. They will be prepared to deal with any problem you have, and will either treat and release you, admit you, or refer you to another facility. It won’t be cheap and it won’t be quick – but you are in the right place for a serious case. A doctor at an office, urgent care center or hospital may write you a prescription for medication. In this case, you will need to go to a local pharmacy to get the prescription filled. There are lots of options available; Walgreens and CVS are two of the more popular nationwide chains, but Walmart and other grocery stores also have pharmacies. In most cases, you will need to pay for the medications fully and then keep copies of your receipts and submit a claim to your insurance company for reimbursement.

HEALTH CHECKLIST: BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME Before you travel to the US, there are some simple things you can do that will make your life much easier, and could prevent you from having to pay for things that are typically not covered under international student insurance plans: * Prescription Medications: If you are currently taking any prescription medications (such as asthma inhalers), make sure to bring a good supply with you, along with your doctor’s notes for those medications. * Eye Test: Opticians are typically not covered under international student insurance plans, so get a checkup before you travel and make sure you have current prescription glasses and contact lenses. * Dentist: Make that visit to the dentist you have been putting off! Dental costs in the USA can be very expensive and will likely not be covered by your insurance plan. * General Checkup: Go to your doctor and have a checkup before you travel, and make sure all your vaccinations are up-todate! With some advanced planning and preparation, you can avoid un-covered expenses when abroad.

IMMUNIZATIONS All new students (freshman, transfers, and others) attending regularly scheduled classes or receiving resident credit will be required to submit a Certificate of Immunization prior to attending classes. The certificate will be kept on file and will be valid throughout the tenure of the student's enrollment. Effective Spring Semester 2005, the list of required immunizations for new students entering a state, public college/university has been updated as required by Georgia Board of Regents policy. The purpose of this new policy is to ensure that students are protected against communicable diseases that are preventable and to reduce the likelihood of an epidemic or threatened epidemic on a Georgia public college/university campus. The Georgia Board of Regents/University System of Georgia, in conjunction with the Division for Public Health of the Georgia Department of Human Resources and the Centers of Disease Control, has created guidelines for implementing the new immunization standards on Georgia’s public college campuses. The policy, implementation guidelines, and the chart of required/recommended immunizations can be found at Students who have previously attended a state public college/university are not exempt from this updated, revised immunization requirement. Students attending UWG solely online may qualify for a term-by-term exemption.  Contact the Immunization Clerk at Health Services, Lisa Jackson, by using the following e-mail address: **All immunization forms must be submitted directly to the Office of Student Health Services**


USA CULTURE For many international students, studying in the USA brings excitement about learning and living in a different culture. Some international students want to prepare by understanding what cultural difference they will encounter in the United States. Luckily, you don’t have to worry too much as we’ll share six aspects of U.S. culture international students need to know: INDIVIDUALITY The USA’s history is deeply rooted in the concept of independence and individuality. Americans value differentiating themselves from others. One way they show this is being very direct about voicing their opinions. It might appear that when a group of Americans are voicing their opinions they are arguing and fighting, this is many times not the case. This is different from many cultures where speaking openly about your personal beliefs is not encouraged. So don’t be afraid to share your opinions with others when you come to the USA. People in the USA feel this is their right as an American. THE VALUE OF TIME Americans treasure their time. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “time is money,” and Americans live by it. When Americans talk about time, the time is not a general estimate, but an exact expectation. For example, in the USA it is understood that when meeting someone at a specific time, that you show up at that exact time. Arriving 10 minutes late or later, without notifying the person you are meeting, is not socially acceptable and can be considered impolite. WORK ETHIC According to, workers in the USA put in more hours than any other country, except for South Korea. Many Americans judge success by how many hours you devote to your work, school or project. Although, a normal work week for a full time job is 40 hours a week, for many industries there is a societal expectation to work more especially at the beginning of your career. However, just recently young millennials are thinking more about the need for a work/life balance. But, the workyour-heart-out ethic still predominates as an expectation in most places. For school, there is the same mentality to work hard in order to graduate with your degree, build your resume and get good references from your professors. PUBLIC SPACE The USA is a large country and has a history of expansion, which has affected Americans’ beliefs about personal space. Americans value their personal space in public. In this context, Americans use the term “space” meaning the distance between you and other people. While in some countries it might be normal to stand very close to each other in public spaces, such as the subway, Americans view this as an invasion of personal space. Be respectful of other people’s space and don’t stand close to others if there is room to stand at least a foot or two away.


PERSONAL HYGIENE Americans love to be clean and smell nice. If you walk into any convenience store or supermarket you’ll see a tremendous amount of fragrance products ranging from personal deodorant, laundry softener and detergent, air fresheners, perfumes, and cologne. Body odor is considered unpleasant, so make sure to wear deodorant. Alternately, using lots of perfumes or cologne is undesirable too. Americans are well known for having aesthetically pleasing and fresh teeth so don’t forget to brush your teeth after eating smelly foods, like garlic, or drinking coffee, or have breath mints or gum available if you can’t brush. And of course, make sure to bathe or shower frequently! HOW TO ADDRESS PEOPLE YOU DON’T KNOW WELL American culture does not have an established custom for speaking with people of different social positions or age. Americans are very informal when greeting other people, no matter what age they are. Most people speak to each other using their first names. When speaking to someone with a title, such as Professor or Doctor, it is more appropriate to use their title when speaking to them until you know them well. For example, “Professor Smith, how are you?” Often times when meeting someone for the first time, they will inform you how they like to be addressed. It is important to remember that while it might seem informal to address people by their first name, it is not a sign of disrespect and shows your understanding of equality in relationships. While it may seem there are a lot of cultural differences, the USA is a very large and diverse country. Culture shock is normal but knowing these differences, before you study in the USA, will better prepare you for the experiences you will encounter while living in the USA.

UWG VALUES The institutional mission and daily operation of the University of West Georgia are guided by our values that support our vision to be the best place to work, learn, and succeed. The value of achievement is evident in our commitment to the academic and social success of our students, staff, and faculty. The value of caring is evident in our consistent concern and regard for our students, staff, and faculty as well as the larger communities where we live and whom we serve. The value of collaboration is evident in our commitment to shared governance, teamwork, and a cooperative spirit that shape our interactions with students, staff, and faculty, and the communities we serve. The value of inclusiveness is evident in our commitment to celebrating our diversity, our collaborative spirit, and creating a welcoming campus that is emotionally and physically safe for all. The value of innovation is evident in our commitment to fostering a learning atmosphere in which new methods and ideas consistent with our vision and mission are respected and rewarded. The value of integrity is evident in our commitment to rigorous ethical standards in our classrooms and offices, in our conduct toward each other, and in service to our communities. The value of sustainability is evident in our obligation to maintaining ecological balance in our planning and operations that make possible for future generations the same or better quality of opportunities for success available to present employees and students. The value of wisdom is evident in our commitment to teaching and learning that emphasizes knowledge for the purpose of positively transforming the lives of our employees and students, as well as improving the world in which we live.


NEW STUDENT CHECKLIST Before arrival to UWG, all students should visit the ISAP website and ensure they have completed all of the tasts in the New Student Checklist. This will ensure that from the time you step onto the plane, you are fully prepared and ready for your experience at UWG!  SET UP MYUWG ACCOUNT  The first step is to set up your MyUWG Account. This account gives you access to your courses, your student email account, registration status, and much more. 

GETTING YOUR I-20/DS 2019 International Students have 2 options of how to receive their I-20 or DS2019 from the International student Admissions & Programs Office: Standard Mail Express Mail The next step will take you to find out which document you will be receiving and how to select your preferred mailing method.

OBTAINING A VISA Now that you have been accepted into the University of West Georgia and have obtained your I-20 or DS-2019, you will need to get a visa before you can enter into the United States. There are 2 main visa types that UWG international students can obtain: F-1 Visa: for students who are seeking a degree from UWG J-1 Visa: for students who are studying abroad at UWG (usually for a semester or year)

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ORIENTATION Each Fall and Spring Semester, the International Student Admissions & Programs office holds an orientation for all incoming international students. This orientation is MANDATORY for all incoming international students. Several important topics are covered during this orientation, including: Maintaining Status SEVIS Check-In Life at UWG Resources for Students


AIRPORT PICKUPS Before orientation, UWG provides transportation for incoming students from the airport to their housing. We provide these transportation shuttles a few days before the International Student Orientation. In order to register for the airport shuttle, you will need the following information: Incoming flight number, date, and time. Contact information for yourself and an emergency contact. Information on where you will be living while at UWG. Check the dates and times of the upcoming airport pickup BEFORE you reserve your housing. You can see the dates/time by clicking the button below. Communicate with your housing choice the date and time you will be arriving to ensure they have make prior arrangements to accommodate your arrival

HOUSING Before your arrival into the United States, be sure to secure housing. International students are able to live either on or off campus in most cases. There are several considerations you should take into account before you choose your housing arrangements, including: price travel to the UWG campus number of roommates you expect to have access to a kitchen and laundry units any other special needs or wants We explore several of the different housing options below.

IMMUNIZATION RECORDS UWG requires certain immunizations of all students. If you have received any of the required immunizations from your home country, it is recommended that you print out the immunization form and have a doctor give you a copy of your records before you arrive in the United States. To see a current list of required immunizations along with the Immunization Policy, please click below. 

HEALTH INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS All international students are required to have health insurance during their stay in the United States. There are several different options available to students. When considering which health insurance you should buy, please consider the following: price and affordability of the plan coverage amounts cost for doctor and hospital visits any medical conditions you have and how your plan will cover your needs We review how health insurance works in the United States and also several of the options that are available to International Students below.

TUITION AND FEE PAYMENTS The Bursar's office is the only office on campus that can accept tuition payments. All inquires about bills and payments should be made to their office. Tuition and fee payment deadlines usually occur approximately one week after the start of the semester. It is important that students know and be aware of the final payment deadline. Failure to pay all fees and tuition before this due date will result in all classes being dropped. There are several ways in which a student can pay their tuition. 


t s e l a W n o o i G t a n r e t n I o G

Profile for International Student Admissions & Programs

Admissions and Pre-Arrival Handbook