International Wellness Fest 2015!

Nutrition, sport, dance, meditation, global health and more!


Join us for free food, performances, prizes and wellness topics with an international focus.  

  • Free, healthy snacks from Halal Bros, Clay Pit, Skinny Pop, KIND, World Peas, and Rhythm Superfoods!
  • Exciting cultural performances by Austin Chinese Dance Company, UT Tango Club, and Bliss Meditation Club!
  • Resource tables by UHS, Texas Public Health, Food Studies Project, Longhorn Wellness Club, CMHC, HealthyGrad, Longhorn Salsa, and many more!

Wednesday, November 18
11:00am – 1:00pm
Anna Hiss Gym

Check out our event page on facebook for more info!

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Finding Myself in Austin

UT Austin’s International Office hosted the Iraqi Young Leader Exchange Program on campus summer 2015, bringing 25 undergraduate students from Iraq to Austin for a “Law, Leadership, and Social Justice” institute. ISSS invited these students to share stories about their experience in Austin and their life back home in Iraq on the blog. Applications are now open for IYLEP 2016.

Koraw 1

Koraw R 2015 IYLEP Participant

As I was preparing to apply for IYLEP this time last year, I was not nervous about my trip or who I might meet. I was only worried and nervous that I might not have the chance to experience that one month of joy and excellent adventure in a totally different country. However, I was selected for IYLEP!

As the days were passing, and I was getting closer to the flight day, my very first trip outside of Iraq, my father’s only advice was, “Koraw, I want you to come back with an excellent certificate.” With his words in my ears and echoing in my mind, I joined the first orientation at The University of Texas at Austin. I still remember the very first day and the subjects discussed during the lectures. It encouraged me to read more and participate in every debate that the professor arranged. In addition to the amazing lectures and workshops, we had weekly activities that helped me find my hidden talents. They helped me know more about myself, and those activities made up a better and skillful Koraw. I have learned a lot in this program and from the people I have met during my journey. They all helped awaken talents and skills in me that I am so proud of now.

Koraw 2
Every little thing I have learned in the United States, I have written down in a small notebook. Most of the ideas are hung in my mind, and they have been reflected in my personality. As soon as I arrived back, I started my summer class along with my part time job as an accountant and an advertising agent. Now my fall semester has started, and I had to resign my position at work because I want to put all my heart in my education for now. Since I got home, I have been busy with my studies and my family. I have not faced many challenges, except the fact that my country is now in the middle of a civil war, and we are being attacked by ISIS and our neighbors. This has created an economic crisis and most schools and universities are shut down temporarily due to the situation. Teachers have boycotted work because they haven’t received their salaries for four months. These situations created challenges and mental stresses. I’m supporting the teachers’ case but I stand against delaying one school year because of economic and political issues.

As an IYLEP alumni, I am now monitoring students and helping them in filling the applications for next summer. I am encouraging every student to participate in this excellent life changing experiment. Through it they will find their true selves, and they will know more about their skills and talents as well as experiencing a new life in a new country.

Koraw R 2015 IYLEP Participant

Posted in International Voices, Programs & Events Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Kurdistan to Austin and Back

UT Austin’s International Office hosted the Iraqi Young Leader Exchange Program on campus summer 2015, bringing 25 undergraduate students from Iraq to Austin for a “Law, Leadership, and Social Justice” institute. ISSS invited these students to share stories about their experience in Austin and their life back home in Iraq on the blog. Applications are now open for IYLEP 2016.


Lilaf Kani Ihsan 2015 IYLEP Participant

A few months ago, I was in the United States within the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP). It was a a dream come true kind of trip. I got to see New York City, Washington DC, and Austin, which I fell for like love at first sight. I don’t just love this city for the beautiful randomness it offered me but also for all the amazing people I met during my stay there, including the lovely staff and the other students that I consider my family. The program’s staff and the resident mentors were so helpful. They were able to guide us through many difficulties all along our stay, as we weren’t easy to handle, especially regarding the “being on time issue,” but they were always there to push us forward positively. I miss each and every one of them and am thankful for all the amazing stuff I got to learn with them, starting with waking up early, managing my time and schedule all the way till making s’mores ! I love Austin for all the positive change it built in me, for all the warm memories it gave me, and for all those days each and every moment of happiness I had.

Lilav 2

Many aspects in me as an individual did change after the positive effect of this journey on me. Many I can’t even count. An example of at least one of those effects is that as soon as I got back home, I started working with many other IYLEPers on a project of collecting books for one of the several refugee camps we have here in the Kurdistan region. I am working as the contact point in my city, and I got more than 450 books in less than 2 weeks!

After seeing that even homeless people down Austin’s streets are carrying some books around, I felt like reading is something that I want to spread around my country. I felt obligated to get more and more people to read and nourish their minds through books. I am trying with the help of others to start a public library in that refugee camp for everyone to be able to read all kinds of different books with many languages and learn from it and then give it over for many others for many coming years. I truly believe a book is a gift that can be opened over and over again.

I want to end this with a thank you to each and every person out there who made this dream of mine possible. I will always try to use all that’s good that I learned from you forever and beyond.Lilav 3


Posted in International Voices, Spotlight Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

ITIN Application Filing Help is Available!

ITIN will facilitate payment for scholarships and/or filling your U.S. Income Taxes

ITIN will facilitate payment for scholarships and/or filling your U.S. Income Taxes

If you are receiving a US-sourced scholarship or fellowship and are not eligible for a social security number (SSN), then you should make an appointment with the tax advisor to apply for an individual tax identification number (ITIN). Please note that SSN’s are only available to international students and scholars with an employment offer.

An ITIN or SSN is required to continue receiving scholarships or fellowships after the first year. ITIN’s also allow UT to apply any tax treaty benefitsTax treaty benefits, if applicable, exempt certain types and amounts of income from US taxation.

Additionally, ITIN’s are necessary to file taxes in the spring if you do not have an SSN. Dependents who are claimed on a tax return will also need an ITIN if they do not have a SSN. If you receive a US-sourced scholarship or fellowship, you are required to file taxes and should apply for an ITIN to avoid delays in filing your tax return.

Both you and your dependents can receive assistance in filing for an ITIN through the International Office. More information about how to apply for an ITIN can be found on our SSN & ITIN section. Please bring all of the documents listed on the website to your appointment. The tax advisor will review all of your application materials, complete the application for an ITIN, and send in your ITIN application on your behalf. The processing time is about a month, so please apply well before the tax season, which runs from late-February to mid-April.

Posted in General, Taxes Tagged with: ,

Wuhan Returns to UT: ACIP 2015

Hubei University group

Hubei University group

Summer 2015 saw the return of the International Office’s Wuhan Visiting Students Program–now known as the  U.S Academic and Culture Immersion Program (ACIP). In mid-August, we welcomed 20 students from Hubei University, followed by 28 students from Yangtze University in mid-September. The program centered around five main components: American culture & intercultural communication, introductory academic content, leadership workshops, community service, and civic & cultural activities.

The IO’s ESL Services introduced students to American culture and enhanced their English language skills via an intercultural communications course. The College of Liberal Arts’ Global Initiative for Leadership & Education arranged a variety of academic mini-courses focusing on liberal arts, science & business.

Yangtze University group

Yangtze University group

Participants engaged in leadership & team development through excursions to nearby ropes courses and a series of leadership workshops led by UT’s own Leadership & Ethics Institute. The groups served the Austin & UT communities through volunteer efforts at the Capital Area Food Bank, Shoal Creek Conservancy and Concho Community Garden. Taking a break from their intensive studies & service projects, each cohort spent a fun-filled day at Six Flags Fiesta Texas.

And of course no trip to Texas would be complete without a little education on local culture and history, so the groups trekked to the LBJ Presidential Library & Museum, Texas State Capitol, and Bullock State History Museum and took a sunset cruise on Ladybird Lake to see Austin’s famed Congress Avenue Bridge bats. The program concluded with certificate ceremonies at Austin-area BBQ joints, followed by a trip to the eastern seaboard led by the students’ sponsor, Severn Institute.

We’re eager to welcome our next cohorts in 2016!

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Productive Partnerships: An Overview of U.S – Hemispheric Relations

productive partnerships: an overview of us hemispheric relations flyer

A lecture by Gonzalo Gallegos, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
US. Department of State
Thursday, October 29, 2015
4:00 p.m – 5:00 p.m
Student Activity Center Room 1.106

Speaker Bio
Gonzalo Gallegos, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy for the Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. He served most recently as the Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. at the U.S. Embassy in San Jose, Costa Rica.

He has a Dual B.S. in Political Science and Journalism and Mass Communications from Kansas State University, and a Master’s of Science in National Security Strategy from the National War College.

Posted in Programs & Events Tagged with: , , , ,

The History of Halloween

Jack-o-lanterns on Halloween

Jack O’Lanterns on Halloween

Halloween has it’s roots in “All Hallow’s Day”, which is November 1st.  “All Hallow’s Eve” became associated with a time to venerate the dead.  Many older pagan celebrations, especially the Gaelic Samhain, used this time of the year to celebrate Autumn as the days grow darker, coming as it does in between the autumn equinox (September 22nd or 23rd) and the winter solstice (December 21st or 22nd).

Though Halloween began with religious roots, like many things in the U.S., it has since become a more secular holiday celebrated by many people of different beliefs.  The traditions of Halloween include “trick or treating” (dressing up as a monster or different character to come to someone’s door and ask for candy), and the carving of Jack O’Lanterns (pumpkins carved with scary faces on them.) Learn how to carve your own Jack O’Lantern!

The Mexican celebration of the “Day of the Dead” occurs a few days after Halloween on November 2nd, and serves a similar purpose of venerating the dead.

Haunted houses, costume parties, and many more activities are a part of the Halloween season. Please do not be scared by seeing people dressed in strange costumes on the street! (More than usual, at least.)  And on October 31st, be aware, you might have some children knocking at your door for candy!

Halloween`s trick-or-treat in South Dakota

Halloween`s trick-or-treat in South Dakota

Posted in General Tagged with: ,

2017 Diversity Visa Lottery

American flag

Have you ever desired to become a Permanent Resident of the United States? Now’s your chance to try your luck! The entry period for the 2017 Diversity Visa Lottery is open from October 1, 2015 – November 3, 2015. It’s important that entrants carefully review the eligibility requirements and follow the U.S. Department of State’s procedures for entering the lottery.

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 warning relating to the Diversity Visa Lottery. DV entrants should only refer to the 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 U.S. Department of State provides many resources online. If necessary, consider consulting a private immigration attorney for additional assistance.

Posted in Immigration Updates Tagged with: , , , ,

Professional Development on East and Southeast Asia

Email Graphic
The Global Professional Training (GPT) program on East and Southeast Asia is coming up! The program focuses on professional development training for students who are interested in studying, working, or living in China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mayanmar, Phillipines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Participation is free!
The deadline to register is October 23, 2015.

Students from these countries are encouraged to apply as cultural ambassadors. This is a great opportunity to connect with other UT students and gain valuable cross-cultural training.

Posted in Career/Volunteer Opportunities, Programs & Events Tagged with: ,

International Student Night with the San Antonio Spurs

AT&T Center San Antonio Texas

AT&T Center San Antonio Texas

The San Antonio Spurs are excited to announce their 2016 International Student Night Out at the AT&T Center on February 3, 2016. Come cheer them on as they take on the New Orleans Pelicans at 7:30 PM.

Don’t miss out on this one-night only event! Before the game, you’ll have the opportunity to network with international students from other area universities in the HEB Fan Zone, and then post-game, we’ll take a group photo on the court!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016
3:30 PM – 12 AM

Tickets are limited so get yours today!

The price of the trip includes networking event in the HEB Fan Zone, transportation to and from the AT&T Center, game ticket, meal voucher, and post-game group photo on court.

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