MESSAGE FROM KELLEY AND DENISE

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1 International Education Center Fall 2015 Edition 2 MESSAGE FROM KELLEY AND DENISE It s hard to believe, but we are close to finishing the Fall 2015 semester. The colder weather and holiday jingles sure do put us in a holiday mood, but please be sure to keep some of the following things in mind before departing for your holiday plans. During the summer of this year, the U.S. government issued a new I-20 format, so we have re-printed I-20s for all of our international students. If you have not already done so, please stop by the IEC to pick up your new-format reprint of the I-20. This is especially important if you plan to travel outside the United States during the winter term, as the new format I-20 will contain a recent travel signature, which you will need to enter the United States again. We also encourage you to take a good look at the calendar on page 3 of this newsletter, to ensure that you will know the deadlines for whatever you plans are for Lastly but most importantly, please remember to stay warm and hydrated as this tends to be the flu season in California. We wish you all a warm, healthy, and exciting holiday season. Kelley Brayton, Dean, IEC Denise Kinsella, Associate Dean, IEC NOTICE: IEC will be closed for Thanksgiving Break (11/26-27) and for Winter Break (12/24-1/3) PLEASE REFER TO PAGE 6 OF THIS NEWSLETTER FOR A DETAILED SCHEDULE OF OFFICE HOURS AND CLOSURES INSIDE THIS ISSUE Int l Education Week...2 Free food, free movie, and even information about studying abroad! Calendar...3 Activities, Events, and Deadlines Calendar catered for our International Students Going home?...4 Check list for your trip home What is Consent?...4 Learn what s sex gotta do with it. Immigration Corner...5 Get your immigration questions answered! Tips from IEC-C...6 Helpful tips from the International Counselors at IEC-C Thanksgiving Traditions...6 Learn more about Thanksgiving traditions and history

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3 ACTIVITIES, EVENTS, AND DEADLINES CALENDAR November 2015 Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Fall OPT For more informa on about Interna onal Educa on Week Please see Page 2 Global Connections Lecture HSS :15am Study Abroad Info :15am Application Recommended Deadline Global Citizenship Day Quad 11:14am-12:35pm Int l Film Screening Crouching Tiger, Hidden 165 6:30pm-9:30pm International Education Week Reinstatement Workshop HSS 156 Thanksgiving Break 29 UC/CSU 30 Application Deadline December 2015 Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday 1 Deadline to Reinstatement 5 Petition to Workshop Graduate for Fall HSS End of fall semester RCL Request Deadline Deadline to request I-20 extension*** Winter Break January 2016 ***for students whose I-20 end-date is 12/31/2015 Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Start of Winter Term

4 What is consent? And What s SEX gotta do with it? Going Travelling during winter break? (checklist) home If you are planning on going home during the winter term, remember the following things: How do I know? What can I do? This important workshop will empower you please come and bring a friend! Thursday, December 10, :15 a.m. to 12:35 p.m. Cayton Center Second Floor Associated Students Lounge For more information, please contact Lisa Winter, (310) Pick up the new format I-20 from the International Education Center (IEC). Check pg. 2 of your new format I-20 and make sure that there is a travel signature signed less than 6 months old. Check your passport and visa expiration date. If your visa is about to expire, you will have to get it renewed. Check which documents you will need to bring to your visa renewal interview, and request any letters needed at IEC right away! Make sure you will have access to your SMC account while you are away. If your country blocks gmail access, you may experience difficulty accessing your SMC account. (TIP: Connect your personal account with your SMC account and get the messages forwarded automatically) HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Almost 400 years ago, the Pilgrims and Native Americans shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged by many as being the first Thanksgiving meal. Now, many people in the United States continue to celebrate Thanksgiving every fourth Thursday in November, through food, football, family, and more. The traditional Thanksgiving dinner typically includes a roasted turkey accompanied by many sides such as potatoes, fall vegetables, cranberries, stuffing, and gravy. Family and friends gather to share this plentiful meal together. After the feast, people will usually continue the celebration by watching football and the Thanksgiving parade, or by playing board games and enjoying each other s company. Another fun event that happens every year is the Annual Turkey Celebration at the White House. Every year, the U.S. President pardons the Whitehouse Thanksgiving Turkey, allowing it to live out the rest of its days in a farm instead of going to a dinner table. The most important thing that happens on Thanksgiving however, is to remember to be grateful. What are YOU thankful for this year? 4

5 GOT AN IMMIGRATION?? QUESTION We will (try our best to) give you the answer! I am enrolled in under 12 units! As an F-1 visa student, you may be eligible for a reduced course load for serious, compelling academic or medical reasons. If you are having problems with any of your classes, please see an international academic counselor before dropping your class(es). If a counselor recommends you for an RCL, your request will be forwarded to an immigration specialist to be reviewed for final approval. RCLs are not automatically approved if this is your first semester. To be considered for the fall 2015 semester, all RCL recommendations from a counselor must be received by the IEC by December 4, 2015 at 3:00 pm. I am going to be out of status! If you fail to complete at least 12 units and you are not eligible for a reduced course load (RCL), then you will need to apply for reinstatement assistance to continue at SMC. According to F-1 visa regulations, reinstatement requests must be filed within 5 months of your violation. Also, you will not be allowed to enroll for the winter or spring 2016 term until you are approved for reinstatement assistance at the IEC. For more information on the reinstatement process, you are encouraged to attend a reinstatement workshop on one of the following dates: Tuesday, November 24, :15am HSS 156 Friday, December 4, :15am HSS 104 I want to do OPT (Optional Practical Training) If you are earning an Associate degree or approved certificate of achievement and interested in applying for Post- Completion OPT, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services department (USCIS) must have your application on file no later than: -February 20, 2016 if you are graduating at the end of the fall 2015 semester and -April 11, 2016 if you are graduating at the end of the winter 2016 session. F-1 regulations state that your OPT start date cannot be later than 60 days after your program end date. You are allowed to submit your application up to 90 days before your program end date. Fall 2015 and winter 2016 graduates can submit applications as soon as possible. Please note that USCIS processing time is about 90 days or 3 months. I am already in OPT. What do I need to report? The Department of Homeland Security is becoming stricter in the enforcement of OPT reporting requirements. For those that are currently on Post-Completion OPT or will be in the near future, you must report your employment to the IEC at SMC as soon as you start your employment. The SEVIS database, where your I-20 is maintained, will calculate the days you do not have your employment reported as days of unemployment. Once you exceed 90 days, your I-20 will be automatically terminated. Therefore, make sure you report your employment as soon as possible to avoid termination. I am transferring to another school. If you will be transferring to another school after the fall 2015 semester, I want be sure to transfer to complete out! the transfer out process. You will need to submit the Transfer Out From, located in the IEC, and a copy of your acceptance letter from your new school. We will begin accepting and processing transfer out requests on December 1, Please expect a processing time of up to 10 business days (about 2 weeks). My I-20 is expiring soon! If your I-20 is expiring soon and you think you may need more time to complete your program, see an international academic counselor and complete the Request for I-20 Extension form and submit the required documents in the IEC as soon as possible. Your program extension must be approved and applied to your I-20 before your program end date. Failure to get approved for an extension before your program end date will require reinstatement if you want to continue your studies. CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE...

6 IMMIGRATION QUESTIONS? AND ANSWERS! (CONTINUED FROM THE PREVIOUS PAGE) I have the old format I-20! During the summer of 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented a new, redesigned I-20 that will hopefully be easier to read and process. The information is mostly the same with a few additional fields added. DHS is requiring all F-1 visa students and any dependents on the F-2 visa to have the new I-20 by July 1, They will no longer accept the previous version of the I-20 after July 1, Your new redesigned I-20 is now ready for you to pick up at the IEC. If you already received the new, redesigned I-20 in July 2015 or later, then you do not need pick up another one. If you are being issued a new, redesigned I-20, it will come with an updated travel signature, so you will likely not need to request a new travel signature. Please come to IEC if you have any questions or concerns regarding your I-20. I want to withdraw from SMC. Students not continuing their studies as an F-1 visa student must inform the IEC for the proper maintenance of the I-20 record. Reasons may include, but are not limited to, returning to your home country or changing your visa status to a classification other than F-1. Informing the IEC of your withdrawal is beneficial because the Department of Homeland Security is informed that you properly withdrew from your school. If we do not receive notice, the I-20 record will be terminated for an unauthorized reason, which may cause future problems when reentering the United States for any reason in the future. If you have any other questions, please feel free to or visit the IEC in person (see our hours on page 7!) Thank you for a great year, SMC students! We appreciate you for being you! With love, IEC/IEC-C HELPFUL TIPS! FROM THE IEC-C COUNSELORS UC/CSU Fall 2016 Application Deadline is Nov 30 th! Be sure to attend a workshop or attend a Panic Room sessions. See workshop schedules at vices/transferservices/pages/default.aspx Get ready for Winter and Spring Enrollment, beginning in mid-december! Prepare now by seeing a counselor and making sure you do not have any holds (IEC or IEC-C) on your account. Don t forget that if you plan on enrolling in a course that you have already taken more than once, you MUST receive permission from a counselor first or your enrollment will be blocked. SWEDISH STUDENTS! Be sure to request your CSN Memos for your winter classes as soon as you have finished enrolling. The IEC- C cannot complete the Memo unless you have already enrolled in the classes you plan to take for winter. 6

7 IEC/ IEC-C HAS MOVED! (WELL, FOR NOW ) The front house of the Interna onal Educa on Counseling Center (IEC C) is undergoing refurbishment, resul ng in the following temporary changes to our loca on: The check in for Interna onal Counseling has moved to the BACK HOUSE. The Interna onal Educa on Center immigra on specialists have moved to the main IEC building The improvements will take approximately one month and opera ons at IEC/ IEC C should then resume as normal in their original loca ons in December or January. IEC/IEC-C CONTACT INFORMATION & HOURS OF OPERATION INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION CENTER 1900 Pico Blvd Santa Monica, CA Phone: (310) Monday-Thursday: 8:00am-4:30pm Friday: 8:00am-12:30pm INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION COUNSELING CENTER Address: 1734 Pearl St Santa Monica, CA Phone: (310) Monday-Thursday: 8:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Find us on Facebook! IEC/IEC-C SEMINAR DAY CLOSURES Every semester, the IEC/IEC-C is closed on a few seeming random days. This is actually because those are the new student seminar days, when all of the staff members dedicate ourselves to welcoming new students. (Remember your seminar week? Your first week at school? Immigration presentation? Free back packs?) Here are the days when, as a continuing student, you may find our offices to be (at least partially) closed for normal operations. International Education Center CLOSURES Friday, December 11, 2015 Friday, January 8, 2016 Friday, January 22, 2016 Friday, January 29, all campus holidays, including Thanksgiving and Winter Break

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