Bem-vindos(as) ao Brazil Center! (Welcome to the Brazil Center!)

The Brazil Center at UT Austin will celebrate 20 years in 2015! Read the message below from Carla Silva-Muhammad, the Center’s coordinator, to learn more about their exciting upcoming events, field research opportunities, and grants.

Please accept our warmest welcome to the Brazil Center of the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies and Benson Collections (LLILAS Benson) at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Brazil Center was established in 1995, following twenty-five years of work by the institute’s Brazilian Studies Committee to diversify and expand interdisciplinary studies of Brazil on the University of Texas at Austin campus and to increase the number of faculty specializing in Brazil.

The Brazil Center will, thus, celebrate 20 great years in 2015! Keep in touch to receive updates on our upcoming celebratory events in the Spring semester!

Currently, there are 48 Brazilianists, i.e., professors who devote most of their classes and research to Brazil, among 230 Latin Americanists at the University of Texas. This substantial number of scholars, combined with the distinguished Benson Collections, attracts researchers and students from diverse fields (and from around the world) like YOU.

Come see us today to learn more about the Brazil Center and the field research opportunities and grants we offer to students working on Brazil. You can also visit us online to find out more about our upcoming lectures and events.

We hope you can join us soon!


Carla Silva-Muhammad

Brazil Center Coordinator

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Posted in General

Dropping classes and maintaining status

Tuesday, November 4, is the last day an undergraduate student can withdraw from the university or drop a class, with the dean’s approval. It is also the last day that an undergraduate student may change registration for a class to a pass/fail basis. If you’re thinking about dropping a class, don’t forget about the impact it could have on your immigration status. All F-1 and J-1 students must be enrolled for a full-time course load in order to maintain a valid immigration status. Undergraduates must be enrolled for 12 credit hours and graduate students for 9 hours in the fall and spring semesters. Dropping below full-time hours would cause you to lose your immigration status.

Under very special circumstances, a student could be allowed to drop to less than full-time without an effect on his or her immigration status. If you believe that you might qualify, then schedule an appointment to see an international student advisor to discuss your case. You will need to get the permission of an international student advisor before you drop the class.

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Posted in Immigration Updates

Last Week of UHS Flu Shot Clinics

Don’t miss your chance to get a flu shot here on campus at the following UHS Flu Shot Clinics:

  • Tuesday, October 21, Student Services Building (SSB G1.310), Noon – 4pm
  • Wednesday, October 22, Facilities Services Complex (FC1 1.118), 1pm – 4pm
  • Thursday, October 23, Student Services Building (SSB G1.310), Noon – 4pm

UHS will file insurance claims for the BlueCross/BlueShield of Texas UT student and employee health insurance plans.  Be sure to bring your UT ID and insurance ID card.

You can speed up your check-in time by entering your insurance information online before a flu shot clinic (not required). Click “Flu Shots” at to learn how.

For more information about the vaccine and the flu, go to and click “Flu Shots.”


Posted in General

Trinity University Lecture: Helping International Students Find Jobs

Dan Beaudry, a former recruiting manager and author of the book Power Ties, will give advice to international students on how to find the best opportunity to secure a job in the United States. Beaudry will present “Power Ties” at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27, in the Coates University Center Fiesta Room at Trinity University in San Antonio. The event is free and open to the public.

Learn more about this lecture.


Posted in General

International Voices: The Power of Conversation

This post is a part of our weekly International Voices column, writing by UT students, for UT students. Enjoy!

From the lady in line at the grocery store, to the new student you met in class, to the musician at the bus stop, to the exchange scholar at an ISSS event, to your professor, to your best friend, we always have so many conversation opportunities with so many different people.

Rita Bitar Nehme

Rita Bitar Nehme

As international students, we might hesitate at it sometimes. We might also try, unconsciously, to seek people from our own country or with a similar cultural background. We tend to stay in our comfort zone and not make any initiative, or respond in a way that will not carry the conversation forward.

One small chat, one short conversation can teach you something about a new culture, a new field, about the other person or even about yourself. It might help you get this internship, give you an idea, or inspire you to start something you never thought about. It can simply make your day, or someone else’s.

When I moved to the States, I got exposed to more diverse types of conversations and a bigger variety of stories. I get asked a lot of different questions as an international student. Some of the common ones are where my accent is from (of course), why I chose to come to Austin, what were the cultural differences, Lebanese food descriptions and recommendations, places to visit in Lebanon, what I study and why, my aspirations for the future after graduating.

This exchange of words turns into a very interesting experience and rich exchange. It gives me a chance to talk about and reflect on decisions I made and plans I have with others and hear about theirs; verbalizing these ideas and passions are a step towards making them happen. Even aside from the potential benefits of the conversation’s content, the process of sharing emotions, ideas and stories itself makes you feel good.

It is always beautiful when the mind is expanded and exposed to the variety of cultures, people, stories and perspectives. This makes every conversation worth the shot.

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Posted in General, International Voices

Dependent Insurance Enrollment Deadline 10/15/14

International students are automatically billed for health insurance coverage.  But don’t forget to add your dependents to your student health insurance plan!  Spouses and children must be re-enrolled in coverage each semester (Fall, Spring, and Summer).  For Fall 2014 coverage, the deadline to add dependents is October 15.  Dependents can be enrolled by scheduling an appointment with the ISSS Insurance Advisor.

Posted in General

International Voices: Surviving Midterms 101

This post is part of our weekly International Voices column, writing by UT students, for UT current and prospective students. Enjoy!

So it’s that time in the semester where the first round of midterms begins and all you want to do is curl up in your warm, comfortable bed and never leave. Yes, I’ve been through that, and I’m still going through the phase of denial where you’re thinking, “but classes have only just started, why do we have exams already?!” Midterms are definitely stressful, and as a college freshman, they can be extremely daunting. It’s even more difficult for international students who aren’t used to the American GPA system and have to adjust to the fact that in most classes, exams aren’t the only things which contribute towards the final grade. I definitely had a tough time adjusting to the new grading policies and the plus minus system was (and still is) the bane of my existence. However, with the right preparation, midterms are doable and you feel so great after you’re done!

Shruti Kota

Shruti Kota

Don’t procrastinate! Professors usually release dates of exams and the final right at the start of the semester, so mark all of them on your calendar and start preparing early (and by early I mean at least a week before). Most of the time, you will find that you have two or maybe even three exams in one week, so to reduce the stress, start studying at least two weeks in advance. Look at your notes after class, and maybe rewrite key points and rework some problems so it sticks.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are plenty of tutors at UT to help you with almost every subject, so don’t feel frustrated if you don’t understand something. Also, making friends in your classes so you have a study group before exams really helps. My chemical engineering professor told us the other day- “Always make friends with people who are smarter than you, so they pull you up.” It’s true! If you are in a study group that is unproductive, it will not help you pass your exam, so try and find other people to work with.

Just relax! Midterms can feel like the end of the world, especially if you haven’t done as well as you thought you had, but the most important thing to remember is not to get disheartened. If you feel like you aren’t performing to your full potential, go talk to your professor or TA during their office hours and see where you are going wrong. Also, avoid pulling all-nighters and excess caffeine before any exam, because they are terrible ideas and will most likely result in a bad grade on the exam. Don’t panic, and trust that you are intelligent and have studied enough to ace the exam. Finally, don’t forget to celebrate with some post-exam frozen yogurt!

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Posted in International Voices

2016 Diversity Visa Lottery

The entry period for the 2016 Diversity Visa Lottery is open from October 1, 2014 – November 2, 2014.  It’s important that entrants carefully review the requirements and follow the State Department procedures for entering the lottery.  More information may be found here.

Important Note about Diversity Visa Lottery Scams:  There is no fee associated with electronically entering the DV Lottery, and applicants should be careful to avoid scams related to entering the lottery or checking their lottery status.  Please carefully read the fraud information relating to the Diversity Visa Lottery found here.  DV entrants should only refer to the online status check or instructions on the Diversity Visa Program webpage for official information about the DV process.

While the International Office does not offer specific guidance or advising relating to DV Lottery applications, the State Department provides many resources online.  If necessary, consider consulting a private immigration attorney for additional assistance.

Posted in General

Tuition Award Opportunity: Spring General Financial Aid

Spring General ISSS Financial Aid Applications are now available. This financial need-based award (worth up to $2,500) is applied directly onto the summer tuition bill. Please note that the award amount cannot exceed the tuition bill balance.

Students who have experienced a recent change in their financial status or are not receiving a waiver for the non-resident portion of their tuition are especially encouraged to apply.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must be on a non-immigrant visa.
  • You must not be eligible for in-state tuition based on your immigration status.
  • You must have completed a full course of study for two academic semesters at UT Austin. Note: Concurrent enrollment at another school does not count toward full-time hours.
  • Your GPA must be at least 2.0 (undergraduate student) or 3.0 (graduate student).
  • You must demonstrate financial need by completing the application.
  • You must be attending classes at UT Austin during the summer semester.

Applications will be accepted until Friday, October 10 at 5 pm.

Learn about additional financial aid assistance and scholarships offered by ISSS.

Posted in Financial Aid

Texas Excursion: Sweet Berry Farm

Sweet Berry Farm pumpkinsRegistration for the excursion to Sweet Berry Farm is now open online!

Join us on Saturday, October 18th, for fall fun where you can pick your pumpkin from the pumpkin patch, have fun in a corn maze, and enjoy delicious fall treats. Pack a pic-nic and make new friends while enjoying the nice fall weather.

Please visit the Sweet Berry Farm website for more information about their farm and activities.

Posted in General, Programs & Events

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