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  • ISSO Newsletter: December 2013/January 2014

    The ISSO sends out a monthly web-based newsletter. It contains the latest information about immigration and ISSO services, as well as important reminders about work authorization, visa applications, and more. Please read it! View the ISSO newsletter archive here.

    Newsletter Contents:

    1. ISSO Hours for December and January
    2. Immigration News and Reminders
      Travel Reminders for Winter Break
      Graduating this semester? Apply EARLY for F-1 OPT!
      Graduating soon? Discuss Future Plans with ISSO!
    3. Leaving Town Over Break? Police can provide security check
    4. ISSO Spring Program Preview
    5. Volunteers Needed for January 16th Orientation
    6. Winter in Ithaca
      Weathering Winter's Worst
      Driving and Parking Issues
      Cold Weather Clothing
      Fun Activities (indoor and outdoor)
    7. Apply for ISSO Book Award (deadline January 27, 2014)
    8. Student Organizations: Co-host Coffee Hour!
    9. Letís Talk: CAPS off-site counseling at ISSO (winter hours)
    10. Have Immigration Questions?: Come to ISSO Office Hours

    ISSO Hours for December and January

    Special hours on Wednesday, December 18: The ISSO will be open the morning of Wednesday, December 18, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 pm. We will then close for the rest of the day for a staff function.

    Holiday Hours: Aside from these exceptions, the ISSO will remain open for normal business hours through Monday, December 23. Please plan ahead and visit our office for services before December 23. We will be closed Tuesday, December 24, 2013 through Wednesday, January 1, 2014. We will reopen for normal business hours at 9:00 AM on Thursday, January 2, 2014 and will remain open for the duration of the Winter Session. We here at the ISSO hope you have a safe, relaxing, and enjoyable winter break!

    Immigration News and Reminders

    Travel Reminders: Leaving the U.S. or even traveling within the U.S. at Winter Break?
    Make sure you have the correct Re-Entry Documents!!! If you will be leaving and re-entering the U.S., PLEASE be sure that you have all the documents for re-entry as described on these web pages:

    Traveling within the U.S.: If you will be traveling within the U.S., driving on major highways, riding on buses, trains, or planes, we also recommend that you carry with you your passport, I-94 card and I-20 or DS-2019.

    Graduating after this semester? Apply EARLY for F-1 OPT!
    If you are graduating this fall semester, and you want to work on F-1 OPT after graduating, APPLY EARLY for your F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) work authorization. The application does go to the immigration service centers and these applications tend to slow down at this time of year. It can take 3 months to receive their OPT work cards. You may start applying NOW if you will graduate after this Fall semester. Please read about OPT, and download an application from our OPT web pages.

    Fall 2013 Graduates: Discuss your Future Plans with ISSO!
    If you are graduating from Cornell this December (your immigration end date is January 21st, 2014) and you plan to stay in the U.S. to either work or to pursue another degree, please come to the ISSO to discuss your plans. In order to maintain your valid immigration status in the U.S., there are specific procedures you will need to complete in order to do any of the following:

    Check with the ISSO advisor on duty about any of the above or any other plans you may have after you graduate.

    Leaving Town Over Break? Police can provide security check

    The Ithaca Police would like off-campus students who leave town for any length of time to let them know if they'd like their house/apartment building checked in their absence. A substantial number of burglaries take place over the breaks. Download the application form here.

    ISSO Spring Program Preview

    A note about trips: Dates and times are subject to change. Prices and other details will be announced via e-mail on the iPrograms-L and International-L e-lists.


    16 Thursday 
    International Student Orientation 
    10:00 AM-3:30 PM, Memorial Room in Willard Straight Hall 
    For all incoming undergraduate, graduate and professional and transfer students. This orientation program will provide essential immigration and legal information, guidelines on health and safety, and tips for academic success. Come and meet other new international students and receive a warm welcome from student volunteers who are prepared to share their experiences at Cornell. The staff from the International Students and Scholars office (ISSO) look forward to meeting you, and answering any questions that you may have. Lunch will be provided.

    23 Thursday 
    First International Coffee Hour* of the new year! 
    3:30-5:30 PM, Big Red Barn 
    Meet new friends over light refreshments and world music. All are welcome!


    22 Saturday 
    Skiing, Snowboarding, or Tubing at Greek Peak 
    Register for this trip, and purchase a ticket online beginning at 9:00 am on Tuesday, February 4th. Once details have been finalized, trip information will be available at:

    13 Thursday 
    Valentine's Day Celebration at Coffee Hour 
    3:30 PM-5:30 PM, Big Red Barn.


    March 29-April 1st Saturday-Tuesday 
    Spring Break Trip to Washington D.C 
    Register for this trip, and purchase a ticket online beginning at 9:00 am on Tuesday, February 25. Once details have been finalized, trip information will be available at:


    13 Sunday 
    Day Trip to Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY 
    Register for this trip, and purchase a ticket online beginning at 9:00 am on Tuesday, March 25. Once details have been finalized, trip information will be available at:

    *Every Thursday while classes are in session, join us for International Coffee Hour from 3:30-5:30 PM in the Big Red Barn. Meet new friends over light refreshments and world music. All are welcome! 

    Are you interested in taking one of our trips? Here is what you need to know! Trip announcements will be sent to iPrograms-L and international-L e-lists. Spaces are generally limited and participants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. In most cases, minimal trip fees will apply. Registration and payment for trips are being processed online through University Ticket Sales. Prior to registering for a trip, if you have not already done so for a previous trip, you will need to create an account at

    Volunteers Needed for January 16th Orientation

    Do you remember your first days as a new international student at Cornell
    or in another country? What do you know now that you wish you had known
    when you first arrived? Here is your opportunity to share your wisdom with
    new international students and welcome them to Cornell!

    We're looking for 10-15 student volunteers (grads and undergrads) to assist with January's New International Student Orientation program which will be held:

    Thursday, January 16th, 2014
    10:00 AM - 3:30 PM
    Willard Straight Hall, Memorial Room

    Volunteers will be asked to assist with sessions by handing out
    information, discussing their own experiences, and making the new students
    feel welcome. Lunch will be provided.

    There will be a volunteer information meeting on Tuesday, January 14th,
    4:30-5:30 pm at the ISSO in B-50 Caldwell Hall. At this time we will discuss the agenda and format of the orientation program, assign duties, and provide copies of the handouts students will receive. Volunteers can sign-up for only a few hours or for the whole session.

    If you are interested in volunteering, please email Adriana Rovers ( and indicate if you are a grad or undergrad, your major, country of citizenship, and whether or not you will be able to come to the planning meeting on January 14th. Thanks so much!

    Winter in Ithaca

    Weathering Winter's Worst

    The beautiful weather we’ve enjoyed over the past few weeks is about to change! For those who are not used to frigid temperatures and biting winds, now is the time to prepare for Ithaca’s winter season.  By purchasing the right clothing and following a few precautions, getting around campus will be much more comfortable in the months ahead.


    • Be aware of the wind-chill factor when preparing for any outdoor activity.
    • Dress sensibly.  Cover your body parts and dress in several layers of clothing, rather than one single bulky layer to enhance insulation.
    • Wear clothing that sheds moisture such as wool and silk; or synthetics like polartec to avoid heat loss from evaporation.
    • Avoid tight-fitting clothing that reduces circulation to extremities. 
    • Carry extra dry clothing such as hats, socks or mittens to replace clothing that becomes wet from snow or perspiration if you plan to be outdoors for longer period.
    • Use protective lotions and creams on facial skin, lips and hands to insulate and moisturize the skin.

    Our skin often signals an early response to winter weather, as it can be exposed not only to colder temperatures and biting winds, but also to the dryness of indoor heat. Taking a few simple precautions will help you avoid the following skin conditions, frequently associated with winter in Ithaca:
    Dry, itchy skin
    Our skin and scalp can become dry, flaky or itchy; and our lips may become quite chapped.  Cold temperatures, wind, harsh soaps and too-frequent showering can take a toll on skin health. What should you do? Try increasing the level of moisture in your room, office or apartment with a vaporizer or humidifier to bring some relief.  You also can apply daily moisturizers and lotions (including less expensive “baby oil” or “mineral oil”) to the skin after bathing to help the skin retain moisture.  Delay washing, shaving and use of aftershave until after the day’s outing as these activities can dry the skin. Others find using milder soaps during bathing and showering helps them retain more essential skin oils.

    Frostnip occurs when the skin is exposed to extreme cold and wind, creating surface skin temperatures often below zero.  Frostnip is a superficial “blanching” or freezing of surface skin tissue. The tip of the nose, ears, fingers and upper part of the cheeks are the first areas usually affected.   This can be rapidly treated by re-warming the affected part by cupping the area with a warm hand, putting cold fingers on a warmer body part or blowing warm breath(be careful to dry the affected area as soon as it is re-warmed to prevent rapid cooling) on the injured skin.  Keep your exposed skin covered with mittens or gloves, a scarf, and a hat or hood to help avoid frostnip.

    When frostnip is left untreated and exposure continues, it will progress to frostbite.  Ice crystals form in the exposed tissue, giving the skin a white and waxy appearance.  The area will feel frozen to a gentle touch, but with pressure, soft and pliable tissue can be felt beneath the frozen area.  The severity of injury depends on the temperature and length of exposure.  Other variables such as tight clothing, the wind-chill factor, dampness, immobility during exposure, smoking and certain drugs (i.e. alcohol) can also influence the degree of frostbite.  Frostbite may be painful at first, but pain gradually disappears giving way to a complete loss of sensation.  As frostbite begins to reach deeper tissue, the injured part becomes very hard.  IMPORTANT: unlike frostnip, evaluation of and treatment for frostbite should come from a medical professional. The injured part must be re-warmed very gradually and not be rubbed, as this may break the skin surface and cause infection.

    Submitted by:  Janis Talbot, Health Educator
    International Student Health Advocate
    Gannett Health Services

    Driving and Parking Issues

    Winter is here, which requires all Ithacans to take a few precautions to survive and thrive outside in the cold and on our hilly streets.

    You can dramatically increase your safety while driving with a few techniques presented on a number of state and federal web sites:

    AAA also offers a number of helpful tips on winter auto maintenance and safety.

    Please be aware that if you leave your car parked on city streets over winter break, your vehicle may be considered ďabandoned,Ē and be ticketed, towed, and impounded. In addition, the City of Ithaca enforces odd/even parking rules from November 1-April 1. That means no parking from 2-6:00 AM on the odd-numbered side of the street on the odd-numbered days of the month, and on the even-numbered side of the street on the even-numbered days. Violating the rules will get you a city parking ticket.

    For information about parking on campus during winter break or overnight during snow storms, as well as other Cornell transportation issues, please see Cornell Transportation and Mail Services' most recent newsletter.

    If you have a dead battery, flat tire, are out of gas, or stuck, call Cornell's Motorist Assistance Program (M*A*P) at 255-0000 and they will give you a hand (your vehicle must be on university property). Response time is usually between 5 and 20 minutes. M*A*P operates from 7:30 AMĖ6:00 PM (5:30 PM during the summer). If your car becomes incapacitated after hours or on the weekends, call CU Police at 255-1111. While the police cannot provide assistance, they will make sure your car wonít be ticketed or towed.

    Cold Weather Clothing

    Please take a few moments to review ISSO's tips on staying warm and happy during our cold, snowy, and less sunny days. You can find suggestions for how to dress properly, and where to purchase appropriate winter clothing.

    Fun Activities (indoor and outdoor)

    Nothing beats the winter blues like staying active! Jan Talbot, of Gannett Health Services, has helpfully compiled a list of local activities to explore.

    • Snowshoe Classes conducted by Cornell Outdoor Education will begin Friday, February 4 and Saturday, February 5.
    • Ice Skate at Cass Park Rink, 701 Taughannock Blvd. Call 273-9211 for hours and skate rental fees.
    • Visit interesting museums in the area:
      Johnson Art Museum on campus (255-6464 for hours)
      History Center of Tompkins County (401 E. State St, 273-8284)
      Museum of the Earth (1259 Trumansburg Rd, 273-6623)
      Sciencenter (601 First St, 272-0600)
      Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, N.Y. (, 800-732-6845)
    • Attend Cornellís Varsity Athletic games or meets held on campus. For information and schedules visit the Cornell Big Red website. Winter sports include: Menís and Womenís Basketball, Menís and Womenís Ice Hockey, Menís and Womenís Track & Wrestling.
    • Learn more about birds at Cornell Lab of Ornithologyís Monday night seminars (254-BIRD, or check out their website).
    • Experience a 3-D visualization at the Theory Center (call Ken Ridley at 351-6209 or e-mail for a weekday appointment).
    • Visit the Brain Collection (2nd floor of Uris Hall) and Insect Collection (1st floor of Comstock Hall).
    • See a play at Ithacaís Kitchen Theatre (273-4497 for tickets).
    • Try cross country skiing on the Cornell Golf Course (rent equipment from Cornell Outdoor Education).
    • Contact the Cornell Outing Club to learn about winter trips you could join. Contact Lindsay Watkins at 717-329-3073 or or Simeon Warner at 254-8605 or
    • Go downhill skiing at Greek Peak.
    • View the stars on Friday nights at Fuertes Observatory. Visit their website to check their hours.
    • Learn more about Cornell by taking a campus tour, offered every weekday at 1:00 PM from Day Hall Lobby
    • Learn to climb on the Lindseth Climbing Wall. Call 254-8255 for hours and fees.
    • Bring a group of friends to experience the new Indoor Challenge Course. Call Amy at 254-7474 to schedule a program (fee charged).
    • Check out more events at,, or pick up an Ithaca Times free weekly newspaper for movies, music, plays, etc.

    Apply for ISSO Book Award (deadline January 27, 2014)

    Dear Students,

    At the beginning of the spring semester, the ISSO will present a Book Award to one international undergraduate student and one international graduate student to help defray the cost of books and supplies needed for classes. This year the amount of each award will be $500.

    This award was established in 2001 to recognize the vast contributions that the international student population adds to Cornell. Selection criteria include: contribution to international life at Cornell, personal and academic achievement, and financial need.

    Deadline to Apply for ISSO Book Award: Monday, January 27th, 2014
    Please provide your application in hard copy to:
    International Students and Scholars Office
    Attn: Book Award
    B50 Caldwell Hall
    Ithaca, NY 14853

    To qualify to apply for the ISSO Book Award, a student must meet the following criteria:

    • has completed at least one semester of study at Cornell University
    • is currently registered as a full-time student
    • currently holds valid non-immigrant status (i.e. F-1, J-1)
    • is not currently receiving scholarship money from the ISSO
    • has contributed to the international community on campus
    • has not previously received the ISSO Book Award

    Application Process
    Please type up and submit the following information:

    1) Biographical Information:

    • Name
    • Local address and phone number
    • Email address
    • College (Undergraduates) or field (Graduates)
    • Degree sought (Bachelor/Master/PhD)
    • Country of citizenship
    • Current non-immigrant status (F-1/J-1)

    2. Please provide answers to the following questions:

    1. How have you contributed to international life at Cornell University (i.e. participation in orientation, student organizations, etc.)? How have these experiences enhanced your life at Cornell and the life of your peers?
    2. What has been  your greatest accomplishment (personal, academic, research, etc.) since coming to Cornell University?
    3. What piece of advice would you give to incoming international students? What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first arrived at Cornell?
    4. Describe your financial needs and circumstances. How will this award assist you in meeting your needs?

    3. Obtain and submit a copy of your most recent transcript from the Office of the University Registrar (available at the Registrar’s Office in Day Hall, or on-line at )

    Please contact Adriana Rovers ( if you have questions.

    Student Organizations: Co-host Coffee Hour!

    Attention International Student Organization! The ISSO invites you to co-host an International Coffee Hour. Coffee Hour is held at the Big Red Barn each Thursday, 3:30-5:30 PM, while classes are in session. Co-hosting an International Coffee Hour gives your international student organization the opportunity to present information about your country, culture, and club to fellow international students and the Cornell community. Please review the guidelines and download an application from our website. The ISSO will process applications on a first-come, first-serve basis. Only complete applications will be considered! If you have questions, please e-mail Amanda Hooker.


    Let's Talk: CAPS off-site counseling at ISSO (winter hours)

    Winter Break Hours: On Monday, December 16, we will have our last "Let's Talk" for the fall semester. Let's Talk will be on hiatus during the winter break, and will resume at the ISSO Mondays from 2:30-4:30 PM starting on January 27, 2013.

    Each Monday, from 2:30-4:30 PM, counselor Steven Andrews, Ph.D., from Gannett Health Services will be available at the ISSO for free and confidential counselling and consultation. No appointment is necessary!Graduate students, undergraduate students, and family members are welcome to come talk to him about:

    • personal growth and challenges
    • depression, anxiety and stress
    • relationship issues
    • family issues
    • cultural, racial and ethnic issues
    • sexual health concerns
    • academic concerns
    • financial concerns
    • any other issues of concern
    • referral and information

    In addition to Monday afternoons at the ISSO, CAPS counselors are available Monday through Friday at various locations on campus. For more information about Counselling and Psychological Services and a schedule of available times for off-site, walk-in consultations visit:


    Have Immigration Questions?
    Come to ISSO Office Hours

    ISSO Advising Hours:
    Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 9-12:00; 1:00-4:30
    Wednesday 1:00-4:30

    Advisors are available on a walk-in basis except from 12-1 P.M. daily, or by appointment. You may stop by to see us during office hours, check out our website, email us at, or call us at 255-5243.