The University of Rochester’s International Services Office (ISO) provides a wide variety of services to international students throughout our schools and academic programs. From admission through graduation and beyond, the ISO helps international students understand their immigration options and develop plans to achieve their educational and personal goals.
The University is approved to sponsor international students under the F-1 and J-1 student visa categories. Staff in the ISO are specially trained to advise on issues of maintaining non-immigrant status in the U.S., employment authorizations, domestic and international travel, along with other topics related to individual permissions and requirements. The ISO is also responsible for issuing visa documents, meeting U.S. reporting requirements, and serving as a liaison with local and national government agencies.
The International Services Office serves as a resource for international students as they adjust to life in Rochester and the U.S. Support includes cross-cultural adjustment counseling, information and referrals for local service providers, and guidance on insurance needs, taxes, healthcare access, and legal rights and responsibilities. The ISO communicates regularly with international students through various workshops, individual alerts, and a bi-weekly electronic newsletter. Detailed information on Living in Rochester is maintained on the ISO website, along with resources for preparation and arrival.
All new international students are expected to report to the ISO for Immigration Check-In upon arrival and attend the International Student Orientation Program. These meetings are scheduled throughout the year to accommodate varying academic schedules.
Several of the University’s general student orientation programs also incorporate information and resources specifically for international students. Specifically, for undergraduate students in the College, the International Peer Mentor Program is designed to assist all incoming students from abroad with their transition to college life in the U.S. Mentors are specifically chosen for their expertise and interest in helping students from other cultures. They communicate with students prior to their arrival, assist with their move-in, and offer social and moral support throughout the semester to help new arrivals acclimate. The College also has a dedicated International Student Counselor, who provides direct services to international students through individualized advising and programming.
Many campus offices work closely to coordinate services for international students during their study at the University of Rochester, including the University Health Service, University Counseling Center, Office of Residential Life, and University Security Services. Additionally, the ISO collaborates and co-sponsors programming with the Rochester International Council, which is a community-based volunteer organization that provides services to international students and Department of State visitors in the Rochester area.
Undergraduate students in the College who are admitted into the ESOL Program enroll in coursework specifically designed to strengthen written and spoken communication. The Program aims to teach ESOL students to use English more effectively and provides support to enhance academic and social interactions. ESOL courses are taught with a focus on speaking, listening, critical reading, and writing. Students are admitted into the ESOL Program through the standard University of Rochester application process with no separate application materials. In addition to the ESOL Program, the College Writing Program provides free writing support for international students enrolled at the University of Rochester.
The graduate programs in Arts, Sciences and Engineering offer English language instruction for students who are from non-English speaking countries. This course emphasizes the acquisition of English linguistic and cultural skills needed for clear communication in the University and career environments. Primary areas covered include accent reduction, pragmatics (culture’s role in language), nonverbal communication, public speaking, and academic and business writing.
Located within the Eastman Writing Center, the ESL Office provides information about ESL courses offered at the Eastman School of Music and assists students in navigating cultural aspects of academic study at the school. Students who are not native speakers of English may be required to enroll in one or more of the ESL courses. Additionally, the Eastman Writing Center offers individual writing counseling with an experienced consultant to help review and improve the quality of written assignments.
The Simon School developed the English Language and U.S. Culture (ELUSC) Program to prepare students for the linguistic, academic, and cultural demands of graduate business study in the U.S. Through a vigorous and motivating course of formal study and extracurricular learning activities, students will have the opportunity to strengthen their language skills and increase their knowledge of academic, cultural, and business practices in the U.S.
During their first semester of study at Warner, international students are encouraged to participate in the American Educational and Linguistic Practices course (EDU 414). The course is designed to support incoming students who are making the transition to study in an American university, with a focus on U.S. academic culture, language, and customs. Communication and classroom practices are addressed, giving students the understanding and skills needed to interact effectively with professors and other students. This course also discusses University expectations for academic reading and writing and provides strategies to meet those expectations.