I.P.C. is here to support faculty and staff with a number of helpful resources. This page includes information on frequently asked questions and sought-after topic areas. Feel free to contact our office with any additional questions or for suggestions on other topics to include within this section.
- Advising International Students
- Advising for Study Abroad
- Hiring International Students
- About the GDPR
When it comes to advising for international degree-seeking students, there are a number of unique factors to consider in comparison to their domestic peers. In addition to issues faced by nearly all university students, international students are required to adjust to a variety of circumstances including learning a new academic system, acquiring English, experiencing homesickness and culture shock, and navigating a new set of social norms.
The International Programs Center (IPC) understands the key role that academic advisors play throughout an international student’s experience at UNCG. For this reason, we have compiled information to help guide advisors in working with international students in all programs and levels. If you cannot easily locate the information you require here, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional help.
All international students on F-1 or J-1 visa must be enrolled as full-time students during the fall and spring terms, which are known as mandatory terms of enrollment. For undergraduates, full-time enrollment is 12 credit hours. For graduate students, full-time enrollment is 9 credit hours unless the student has a verified assistantship (GA/TA/RA) making them eligible to be enrolled for a minimum of 6 on-campus credit hours. Audited courses do not count towards full-time enrollment.
Summer enrollment is only required if the summer is the first or last period of enrollment.
If a student withdraws from a course and falls below the minimum number of credits, they will be considered under-enrolled and out of status. Students should not be advised to drop a course to save their GPA if it puts the student below full-time status.
If you believe there are exceptional circumstances that would require a student to drop below full-time enrollment (such as health concerns), you and/or your student can contact IPC at email@example.com to inquire about filing for a Reduced Course Load (RCL).
International students are required to enroll for a certain number of on-campus, face-to-face courses during each mandatory term of enrollment. According to Study in the States, an F-1 student may only count one online course towards their full-time enrollment minimum per academic term. For example, undergraduates who are taking 12 credit hours may take 3 of those hours online. Hybrid courses will count as on-campus, but both WEB and WEB with on-campus tests and quizzes do not.
F-1 students are permitted to work on campus for up to 20 hours during each semester. They are not permitted to work off campus without prior written employment authorization from the U.S. government. For types of off-campus employment and more information about how to obtain an employment authorization, please visit this webpage.
F-1 students can apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT), an off-campus internship authorization, after completing one academic year in F-1 status. CPT authorization is required for both paid and unpaid positions for any amount of time. Students can only request CPT if they have an advisor's recommendation and a credit-bearing course whose term coincides with the internship OR if there is a specific requirement listed in the UNCG University Catalog. If your student is ready to apply for CPT, they can do so via the ISSS Portal. For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boston University’s International Students and Scholars Office created a useful and concise resource for communicating effectively with international students. These Tips for Successful Communication with International Students can be adapted to use at UNCG as well. We hope you find it and their other resources useful!
- Listen: Second language students often develop a “script” in their mind of what they want to say to you before they enter your office. Allow them to get through the script, so they feel certain that you have heard what they have to say. This can be difficult if the script is long and you can easily anticipate their question or issue.
- Limit: Limit the use of acronyms, abbreviations, jargon, colloquialisms, and idioms when speaking (or writing) to international students, even if English is their first language. Terms like “ASAP” or “on target” or “home run” or “all set” are U.S. culture-based and may have little meaning to an international student.
- Possible cultural difference indicators: Certain feelings and behaviors (both yours and/or the person with whom you are communicating) can be indicators that cultural differences are at play when interacting with someone from another country: frustration, taking offense, repetition, no response, inappropriate responses for the situation (i.e., nodding continuously when clearly the individual does not understand, awkward laughter, ending the conversation abruptly, seeming distracted, etc.). Allow these indicators to remind you to take a deep breath and find a different way to approach the issue or explanation.
- Check for understanding: After you have discussed an issue with a student or explained a procedure, ask for an explanation in his or her own words. Don’t just ask the student if he or she understood everything you said. This question may not confirm his or her level of understanding, since the culture of some international students dictates that saying they don’t understand shows that either you failed in your explanation or they have failed in understanding. “Do you understand what I told you?” will often be answered with a polite “Yes, thank you” as the student walks away without the vital information he or she needs.
- Navigating bureaucracy: This process is not the same in every country or culture, because strategies for getting a favorable response vary. Some approaches include working up to the most senior person in the office or organization, only accepting the answer of someone “in charge,” asking repeatedly until a favorable response is received, or only accepting the answer from a male staff member. Be clear in your message and be certain the student has understood what you said. Be patient because you may have to repeat yourself to emphasize that there are no exceptions to the policy/procedure/answer and that the answer will be the same no matter how many times the question is asked. Talk with your colleagues and supervisor about how you will deal with requests to talk to a “higher up.”
- Help: You should assist international students as they work to understand U.S. customs and how “things are done here,” but do not pressure them to change their behavior or viewpoints unless the change is absolutely necessary for academic or social success or to avoid serious conflict. Consider whether the situation could be better resolved if you changed your own behavior or viewpoint.
- Names: Learn to say the names of international students correctly. Do not expect the student to select a U.S.-based nickname or shortened version of his or her name. This effort will go a long way toward making the student feel welcomed and respected.
- Be curious: Take the time to learn at least a little about your students’ countries of origin, customs, languages, and the larger issues of concern in their home countries (i.e., current events).
- Don’t generalize: Don’t assume that all students from a particular country or culture will behave or respond the same way. Likewise, do not expect a student to know what everyone in his or her country thinks about a particular topic. Like in the U.S., perspectives vary from region to region and group to group in any country.
Many students are faced with crises during their university years – academic struggles, economic pressure, family stress, relationships that turn violent, or health concerns. Fortunately, UNCG can assist with many offices dedicated to protecting student well-being and assisting with crisis management. You can notify one of these offices about a student you may be concerned about at UNCG Cares.
For an international student, an academic crisis, economic problems, or health concerns may be further complicated by immigration restrictions on their legal options, and by cultural adjustment. If you identify an international student in crisis, please be sure to alert an International Student Advisor at email@example.com so that we can advise and assist with immigration related steps that may be needed.
A few tips to keep in mind:
- Even in a crisis, students on F-1 or J-1 visas must maintain a full-time course load to remain lawful in the U.S. unless pre-approved by IPC. Any drop below full-time academic status requires prior approval by IPC based on initial academic or English-language difficulties, medical reasons, or if the student is in their final term.
- F-1/J-1 students have limited U.S. work or aid options. An international student facing financial difficulty may have limited options for work authorization or financial assistance.
- Cultural adjustment is often difficult and may aggravate other stresses. Understanding the stages of cultural adjustment may help a student manage their stress level.
- Students from other cultures may view behavioral health or sexual health services differently. Encourage international students to utilize Student Health Services, the Campus Violence Response Center, and Counseling Services when appropriate.
- A criminal or misdemeanor conviction or disciplinary action can have long-term immigration repercussions. Criminal charges and disciplinary action can have both immediate and long-term effect on a student’s legal options for remaining in the U.S. Students facing criminal charges should contact a reputable immigration attorney immediately, and should alert IPC staff.
Study abroad is an opportunity that we encourage all UNCG students to take advantage of during their degree program. IPC has distilled a number of useful resources on our programs and services that can help you advise a student who is considering studying abroad.
Advisors play a critical role in encouraging students to embark on a study abroad experience, and in helping them consider opportunities that are well-aligned with their academic, professional, and personal goals.
- We encourage all faculty and staff to ask their advisees if they’ve considered studying abroad during their advising sessions. If students intend to study abroad, advisors can direct those students to visit our website or to attend a Study Abroad information session, preferably one year before they wish to study abroad.
- Students will need the help of their academic advisor to review their degree audit, identify a time and length of time to study abroad, and identify which courses might be possible to take abroad, especially if they are interested in a semester program. IPC’s major-specific advising sheets are a handy resource for the advisor and students alike.
- Upon return, many students will benefit from their advisor’s guidance in processing how study abroad has impacted them – it can be a transformative, yet challenging experience that continues to affect them upon their return. Ask your advisees some targeted questions to help them reflect upon their experience and by providing a listening ear. You may also want to refer them to these resources:
- Tell me one highlight of your academic experience abroad – tell me something you learned?
- Was there anything that really surprised you about living abroad?
- What did you think of your classes when you studied abroad?
- Do things feel different now that you’ve returned back to campus?
- How do you feel about your continued studies and career plan now that you’ve returned?
- What’s something you wish you had done differently?
- Do you have any advice for other students in your major who are considering studying abroad?
Promoting Study Abroad
Whether it's organizing an information session for your class, talking with students during office hours, or hanging posters in your academic area, there are many ways to promote education abroad opportunities to your students.
- Invite a study abroad advisor to give a presentation to your class. Presentations can be as short as 5 minutes to lasting the entire class period. To schedule a presentation, please contact Tom Martinek at firstname.lastname@example.org. Where possible, we may also bring a returned study abroad participant.
- IPC study abroad advisors can help you host a study abroad info session for students in your department
- Request study abroad brochures from IPC to have on hand for your office hours
- Encourage students to follow @uncg_ipc on Instagram for up-to-date information on events, new programs and upcoming deadlines.
Are Your Students Ready to Get Started?
Great! Encourage them to review the steps to apply on our website. Please also encourage your students to schedule an appointment with an IPC advisor about their options by visiting 207 Foust, or calling 336-334-5404.
- International students are eligible to begin work on campus as soon as their SEVIS record has been activated by their International Student Advisor.
- An international student can begin work within a week of receiving an offer if the steps listed on the Employment Checklist are completed in a timely basis.
- Social Security and I-9: most international students will need to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) once they have an official job offer letter. Students can start the I-9 process and begin working once they bring their SSN receipt to Career Services, and deliver their temporary (orange) I-9 card to their department.
- International students are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters. They may exceed 20 hours per week during periods of non-enrollment if they were enrolled for the previous semester and are registered for the upcoming semester.
To learn more about the process for seeking on-campus employment for international students on an F-1 or J-1 visa, check out our Employment Checklist.
Off-campus employment requires either authorization from IPC staff or a recommendation from IPC with final authorization from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). No one else can approve work off-campus. Unauthorized employment can result in SEVIS termination and deportation.
About the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
What is the GDPR?
GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. As of May 2018, with the entry into application of GDPR, there is one set of data protection rules for all organizations operating in the European Union (EU), regardless of where they are based. Sanctions for violating this law include a reprimand, a temporary or definitive ban on data processing, and a possible fine of up to $23 million.
How might the GDPR affect me as a faculty member at UNCG?
The GDPR regulates the processing by an individual, a company or an organization of personal data relating to individuals in the EU (including EU citizens and permanent residents). Any UNCG faculty member conducting research on EU citizens/residents has to abide by this policy. This includes international students from the EU studying at UNCG.
What is personal data?
Under the GDPR, personal data is any information that relates to an identified or identifiable living individual. Different pieces of information, which collected together can lead to the identification of a particular person, also constitute personal data.
Personal data that has been de-identified, encrypted or pseudonymized but can be used to re-identify a person remains personal data and falls within the scope of the law. Personal data that has been rendered anonymous in such a way that the individual is not or no longer identifiable is no longer considered personal data. For data to be truly anonymized, the anonymization must be irreversible.
The law protects personal data regardless of the technology used for processing that data – it’s technology neutral and applies to both automated and manual processing. It also doesn’t matter how the data is stored – in an IT system, through video surveillance, or on paper; in all cases, personal data is subject to the protection requirements set out in the GDPR.
What are examples of personal data?
- a name and surname
- a home address
- an email address such as email@example.com
- an identification card number (e.g. passport number)
- location data (for example the location data function on a mobile phone)*
- data held by a hospital or doctor, which could be a symbol that uniquely identifies a person
What information must be given to individuals whose data is collected?
At the time of collecting their data, people must be informed clearly about at least:
- who your company/organization is (your contact details, and those of your DPO if any);
- why your company/organization will be using their personal data (purposes);
- the categories of personal data concerned;
- the legal justification for processing their data;
- for how long the data will be kept;
- who else might receive it;
- whether their personal data will be transferred to a recipient outside the EU;
- that they have a right to a copy of the data (right to access personal data) and other basic rights in the field of data protection (see complete list of rights);
- their right to lodge a complaint with a Data Protection Authority (DPA); their right to withdraw consent at any time;
- where applicable, the existence of automated decision-making and the logic involved, including the consequences thereof.
The information may be provided in writing, orally at the request of the individual when identity of that person is proven by other means, or by electronic means where appropriate. Your company/organization must do that in a concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible way, in clear and plain language and free of charge.
For more details on information to be given to individuals whose data is collected, please visit ec.europa.edu.