What international students and scholars need to know

International students have circumstances and opportunities that are particular to them, and it's the purpose of this office to ensure that University of Redlands international students understand their responsibilities as visa holders as well as how to succeed in their programs of study.  Below are several key questions and issues that international students frequently raise. Check them out, and please contact us at oiss@redlands.edu if you have additional questions.

 

Study in the US

Interested in studying at the University of Redlands?  For information about how to study in the US, please visit:

https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/students

For visiting scholars and their institutional hosts, the University asks that these guidelines be followed to ensure a smooth process.

This powerpoint presents a summary of the visa regulations that University of Redlands students and scholars needs to be aware of.  We present this regularly at our international student orientations.

Transferring to Redlands

Students currently studying in the U.S. in F-1 status whether in a high school or a college who transfer to the University of Redlands will be issued a new I-20 Form. After being admitted to University of Redlands, students must:

1.     Submit the SEVIS Transfer Form (available online) to their current international student advisor to release their I-20 form to University of Redlands.

2.     Submit the Certificate of Finance form (available online) to the International Student and Scholar Advisor at University of Redlands.

3.     Contact the International Student and Scholar Advisor (at oiss@redlands.edu) to complete the transfer within 15 days from the program start date.

Students who wish to transfer out to other institutions must inform the International Student and Scholar Advisor of their intent to transfer and provide the complete name and the school code of the school to which they are transferring.

Students currently in the U.S. in J-1, H1B, or B1/B2 visa status who are admitted to the University of Redlands must contact the International Student and Scholar Advisor to be advised on change of status to F-1.

The visa process at Redlands

For information about the F and J Visa Processes at Redlands, please download our guidelines here.

Logistics: Housing, meals, health, finances, and your arrival!

Coming to Redlands with plans to graduate from the University?  Check here for the arrival pages for new four-year international undergraduates (holding F-1 visas).  There's critical information there about paperwork you need to submit for housing, meals, health, and more.  

This link helps exchange students (holding J-1 visas) with their housing, meals, health, and finance information.  Please be sure to get your paperwork in ASAP.

For all of our international students, we have some tips on surviving the first months that we've collected over the years.  All that information (including terms, basic laws, jet-lag tips, resources on campus, banking, transport, mobile phones, shopping) is below for your convenience!

SURVIVING THE 1st MONTH

 Redlands Dictionary - Immigration-Related

·      F-1- This visa status refers to international students who are pursuing a full course of study at an academic or language institution.

·      J-1- This visa status refers to international students who are exchange visitors such as visiting faculty, re¬search scholars, short-term scholars, non-degree students.

·      I-94- Arrival/Departure admission record

·      I-20 or DS-2019 This certificate is an immigration document that correlates with the particular immigration status you hold. A form I-20 is used for F-1 students and F-2 dependents. A form DS-2019 is used for J-1 exchange visitors and J-2 dependents.

·      SEVIS Student & Exchange Visitor Information System) is an internet-based system in which DHS (Department of Homeland Security) maintains information on non-immigrant visitors holding F, M and J visas.

University of Redlands Related

·      CA- Community Advisor

·      Commons- Dining Hall

·      Chapel- The tower/church

·      CDI- Campus Diversity and Inclusion

·      FYS- First- Year Seminar

·      OISS- Office of International Students and Scholars

·      OM- Orientation Mentor

·      P-Safe- Public Safety

·      Quad- Large grass field

 

Basic Laws in the US

EVERYONE MUST WEAR A SEAT BELT! Includes all passengers in a vehicle

Pedestrians have priority over drivers. Stop and let them walk.

Do not write checks for money you do not  have in your account. This is illegal.

Throw away your trash!

You must be 21 years old to drink or purchase alcohol. It is illegal to purchase alcohol for minors. No open containers.

Marijuana, cocaine and other drugs are illegal.

You have the right to remain silent if you are arrested. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud.

You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested. Ask for one immediately but also ask to speak to an immigrant lawyer. 

When in doubt, please contact the Office of International Students and Scholars.

 

How to Get Over Jet Lag

Traveling definitely has its downsides: the lost bags, the dreaded middle seat, and the jet lag. Jet lag can ruin a short vacation if you are not careful, making you irritable and sleepy. Here are some tips to minimize that sleepy, fuzzy, feeling so you can start enjoying your time here at University of Redlands.

 Tip #1 - Hydrate!

Flying dehydrates you.  The average indoor humidity level is usually about 45% but inside a plane cabin it’s 15%. The low humidity along with increased breathing due to high altitudes sucks any moisture right out of the air. You’re left with a very dry environment and an increased possibility of dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include lightheadedness, nausea, muscles cramps and sleepiness. These side effects combined with a thrown-off internal clock can make for a rough trip. In flight alcohol drinking heightens these symptoms so save your cocktails for after you land. Eight ounces of water for every hour you’re in the air is recommended. Also avoid all sugary beverages, and sugar in general, which will just spike your blood sugar level causing you to feel even groggier later.

Tip #2 – Stay awake once you arrive in your destination.

One of the best ways to overcome jet lag is to stay awake. Sometimes that’s easier said than done so make sure you have interesting ways to stay productive once you arrive at your destination. Avoid strenuous activities but explore Redlands to keep your mind engaged and your body moving. Try not to go to bed until it’s really the local bedtime. Avoid naps if possible as they’re terribly difficult to wake up from and will further interfere with your body adjusting to your new time zone.

 

Tip #3 – Don’t hibernate.

Your body responds to natural sunlight.  The more time you spend outside basking in the sun the easier it will be for you to adjust to the new time zone.  Also make sure to eat all meals at the local time starting immediately upon arrival. Set your watch when you’re on the plane to the local time as well. The faster you trick your mind and body to adjust, the happier you’ll be.

Tip #4 – Reduce caffeine.

You’ll be tempted to turn to caffeine to get you through your sluggish moments. While caffeine may provide you with a jolt of stimulation, it will make it harder for you to sleep deeply when it’s really time for bed. You’ll need quality sleep to fight the jet lag so don’t let caffeine get the best of you. Caffeine also dehydrates your body which will only add to your jet lag woes. You should keep caffeine to a minimum during the days leading up to and during your trip.

Tip #5 – Don’t take sleeping pills.

Reaching for sleeping pills to help with jet lag may cause more trouble than they’re worth.  If you aren’t already taking sleeping pills, do not turn to them for the first time during a flight as you don’t know how your body will react. Even if you are accustom to taking them, they still may not be your best bet. After waking up from a pill induced sleep you often feel very groggy which is not the right way to kick off a trip in a different time zone. If you’re worried about not being able to sleep on your flight, bring something to use as a pillow, an eye-mask, and ear plugs. If you follow the other tips in this article, you should be sleeping soundly in your destination country in no time.

Campus Resources

Student Leadership and Involvement Center (SLIC): Looking for a club to join? SLIC is the place to visit to find any information on joining student organization or gain leadership skills. Located on the top floor of Hunsaker. 

Outdoor Programs: If you are interested in hiking, backpacking, sea kayaking, rock climbing, check out OP. No experience necessary. You can rent out sleeping bags, tents, stoves, etc and sign up for a trip. Located across from the tennis courts, on the east side of the Currier Gym.

Thompson Aquatic Center: When not utilized by the varsity programs, the Thompson Aquatic Center serves as a luxurious recreational pool for the University community. During the summer hours, the pool is available for free swim to students and employees as an ideal place to cool off from the Southern California heat.

Redlands Intramural Sports: Intramural Sports offers a community for students who want to stay active, healthy and be involved at the University of Redlands. These sports are recreational sports that are held within the institutional walls.

 Fitness Center: Offers a wide variety of exercise equipment to the University community. The Fitness Center is open, free of charge, to all full-time College of Arts and Sciences students.  This includes graduate students enrolled in School of Music, Communicative Disorders, and M.S. GIS.  Simply bring in your current, valid University of Redlands ID to activate your membership!

Academic Success Center: You are a student who takes an active role in creating your own education and we are here to help. Writing tutors, subject tutors, and other workshops are available. The Center is also a resource when you need help with:

•          Individual subjects

•          Study skills

•          Academic planning

•          Time management

•          Note-taking skills

•          Test-taking skills

 

Campus Diversity and Inclusion: Campus Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) host a variety of programs related to diversity and multiculturalism beyond race, gender and sexual orientation.

Professional Development:  Want to find an internship or work on your resume? Stop by Professional Development located on the bottom floor of the Armacost Library.

Community Service Lounge (CSL):  Volunteering is an excellent way to explore Southern California. Find ways to help out at CSL located top floor in Hunsaker Center. Csl_office@redlands.edu

Counseling Center: Our licensed therapists and supervised interns provide counseling for individuals, couples and groups on a wide range of issues and concerns. In addition, our psychiatrist provides medication evaluations. All of our services are free and confidential for current students

Opening a Bank Account

Our office highly recommends that international students open a U.S bank account at a bank as soon as you arrive. It is much safer and more convenient to deposit your money in this U.S account instead of using your bank account from home or carrying cash. If you lose your non-U.S. credit card, it may take as long as a month for you to receive a new card.

Documents to bring with you:

·      Your full name, home address, home telephone number, your campus telephone number, and your college address

·      Unexpired passport

·      I-94

·      I-20 or DS-2019

·      Any secondary form of identification (Student ID card, driver’s license, etc.)

·      Enrollment verification letter from your school

You will also need the funds you want to deposit and open the account with. Every bank has slightly different requirements, so make sure you ask beforehand so you do not forget something you need.

 Banks near University of Redlands:

U.S. Bank:  https://www.usbank.com/ 640 Orange St, Redlands

Bank of America: http://www.bankofamerica.com/, 305 E. State Street

CHASE Bank: http://www.chase.com, 4 W Redlands Blvd

Citibank: http://citibank.com 300 E State Street

Wells Fargo Bank: https://www.wellsfargo.com/, 220 E State Street

Make sure you have enough money in your checking account to cover the checks or ATM charges, otherwise your check will be denied and you will have to paid a larger fee.  It is also illegal to write a check without funds in the account to cover the cost.  There is one U.S. Bank ATM on campus located on the bottom floor of Hunsaker.

ATM Withdrawals/Money Exchanges

Exchanging money can become very expensive with interest rates, foreign transition fees, and exchange rates. Our advice is to directly withdrawal money from any United States Automatic Transaction Machine (ATM) as to avoid excessive fees.

PLEASE talk with your home bank about withdrawing from a foreign ATM to see if they allow it and also to find out if your bank charges high fees for foreign ATM withdrawals.

Let your bank know that you will be using your ATM card in the United States. And remember that not all U.S. banks accept foreign ATM cards.

Health and Emergency Services

Public Safety (or P-Safe) is the on-campus department that provides security and safety to all of University of Redlands areas. It is available 24 hours, 7 days a week and during university breaks. When there is an emergency on campus, call: (909) 748-8888

In case of a life threatening medical situation or off-campus emergency, please call 9-1-1 from any phone

Transportation

·      On-Campus Shuttle: Do not walk alone! Call the on-campus shuttle (909) 907-2820

·      Off- Campus Shuttle: Need to get somewhere? Call (909) 856-0476

·      Metrolink- round-trip train service to downtown LA

·      Amtrak- passenger trains all across California

·      Metro- Bus service in the Los Angeles area

·      OmniTrans- Bus service that functions in San Bernardino Valley

 

Shopping

Redlands offers a good selection of stores which operate under the private enterprise system. Prices for goods and services are fixed, but tax (8%-9%) is added to the total cost of goods and services during check-out.

Convenience stores carry a limited selection of food and small articles at high prices, along with gasoline. Often these stores are open 24 hours a day: AM/PM, Arco, Shell, Mobil, 7-Eleven etc.,

Department stores carry a wide variety of merchandise, clothes, shoes, and housewares: Macy’s, Nordstrom, J.C. Penney's, Sears, etc.,

Discount stores are where you can find household items, food, furniture, cloths, etc.: Wal-Mart, 99 cents store, Target

 

Drug Stores or pharmacies where people buy medicine, toiletries, and dry foods: CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid

Grocery or supermarkets for fresh and dry food, laundry and cleaning supplies, and personal need items: Ralphs, Vons, Trader Joes, Food 4 Less, Stater Brothers

Helpful hints about shopping

Prices are fixed; trading and bargaining do not work (unless you buy a car). If you do not want to pay the price, you may look for the item at a discount store.

Shop Around – compare prices at several stores before buying.

Use a cart or basket; putting items in your purse or pockets is considered stealing (shoplifting).

Keep receipts so you can return unused or unwanted items; some stores, however, prohibit the return of sale items.

Look in newspaper “Classified Ads” for unusual or used items, e.g., furniture. Also look for coupons and weekly sales inside these publications.

Textbooks are expensive; buy used books when possible from Amazon, Half.com, etc.

There is a sales tax in California on most items sold. The tax in Redlands is currently 8% of the cost. Therefore, if an item costs $1, you pay the seller $1.08.  State and local taxes can reach 10% in many cities outside Redlands. However, most will be around 9.25%.  Food and prescription drugs are exempt from sales tax.

 Tipping

it is customary in the U.S. to tip your server of food deliverer for their services. You do not tip at fast food restaurants like McDonald's, but any sit down establishment where a server waits on you, it is customary to tip 15%-20% of the price of your meal. An easy way to calculate this 15% is to double the amount of the sales tax. This amount will be just a bit over 15%. Leaving less than $0.50 is considered rude or. A dollar per person is usually the minimum.

Mobile Phones

“Prepaid” monthly plans allow you to pay one rate per month and do not require a contract. Prepaid plans provide options for unlimited talk, text, and data, and generally run from $35 to $75 per month, depending on your plan and carrier. These plans are IDEAL for international students and scholars! You will not get a free phone but you will save lots of money and hassle. If you are bringing an UNLOCKED phone from home, you can also just purchase a SIM card upon arriving in the US to set up your plan.

The pros to a prepaid plan are that there is no credit check, no deposit required, and no contract. Plans are affordable and often unlimited so you won’t have any surprises on your bill. The cons are that they’re not the most affordable if you need multiple lines (as a family Plan) and you are ineligible for discounted handsets.   

Contract plans are a good option for students and scholars if they will be in the U.S. longer than 2 years since that is typically the amount of time a mobile contract. With a contract plan you will most likely get a HIGHLY discounted or even free phone when you sign-up with the company so that is a great perk if you are planning to use the same company for two years or more anyway.

Keep in mind though that most contract plans require that you have a Social Security Number (SSN). If you don’t have a SSN then your cell phone provider might let you open an account but will likely require a LARGE deposit (~$500) which they return at the end of your contract. They will also likely charge you an early cancellation fee (~$250) if you go back home before the end of your two-year contract and need to cancel service.

There are T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless stores in downtown Redlands and Metro PCS, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless stores in Citrus Plaza. You can find other retailers that sell phones at Target, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy.

Can I work as an international student?

International students do have opportunities to work while studying in the United States, but they are complicated.  Please email the Office of International Students and Scholars at oiss@redlands.edu for more information about on-campus work opportunities, Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT).  Our CPT guidelines are available here, and the waiver form, for students who qualify, is available here.  If you are nearing the end of your program of study, or have recently finished, and would like to pursue OPT, the process you'll follow is here.

Checklist for international students and scholars

Our office has prepared general checklists for both our F-1 and our J-1 students and scholars to help you get ready to join us.

FAQ's for international students and scholars

International study is complicated.  The most important thing students need to do is follow the regulations for maintaining their status.  Watch this video from the US State Department for a reminder.

Here are some frequently asked questions with our answers.  If you have a question that you don't see, please email us at oiss@redlands.edu and we'll do our best to answer in a timely way!