This fall, Emory’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)—a unit of Office of Strategy and Global Initiatives — welcomed students from around the world to Emory through events that foster new connections and help students feel at home and know where to turn when they need help.
Connecting international students with resources
As students from around the world choose to study in the United States, the ISSS office offers a variety of welcome orientations and activities to help students adjust to their new life in Atlanta. New international students, here on F-1 and J-1 visas, receive a wide range of information about Emory’s support resources, U.S. immigration regulations, and how to navigate life in the U.S.
ISSS staff meet new international students and student leaders at university-wide resource fairs and expos, including the Candler Opportunities Fair, the Laney Graduate School Picnic, the School of Medicine Resource Fair, the Emory College of Arts and Sciences Expo, and a lot more. Each event allows ISSS staff to share information about programming and leadership opportunities for domestic and international students.
ISSS also organizes Social Security consultation days on campus at the beginning of the semester. Because international students do not automatically receive a Social Security number, many of Emory’s international population must apply for one upon arriving in the U.S., especially if the student intends to work on campus or apply for a driver’s license. During their appointments, students can request Social Security numbers from a representative of the U.S. Social Security Administration.
Help students feel welcome
ISSS’s signature event is the annual international student welcome reception. This year’s reception, held in the Emory Student Center, was attended by members of the new class of international students from across the university, as well as campus partners. Attendees enjoyed a dinner featuring a variety of international cuisines and a dessert bar. Students also participated in a variety of activities, including a photo booth, party games such as giant Jenga and Connect Four and prize draws.
In addition to simply having fun, many students see the reception as an opportunity to connect with their classmates and the broader Emory community.
As graduate student Aditya Prakash says, “The international student welcome reception was, without a doubt, one of the highlights of my time at Emory. It was a refreshing and exciting event, especially for someone like me who arrived on campus from the opposite side of the world.
“The atmosphere was incredibly welcoming and played a crucial role in easing the transition to a new environment,” he adds. “Almost immediately, I felt a sense of belonging, surrounded by colleagues from diverse backgrounds who were also embarking on this exciting journey.”
Photos by Jeni Girtman, Atlanta Events Photography