Getting Around Austin Via Bus

Transportation while living abroad can be a huge hurdle to immersing in the new world you’ve traveled so far to experience. As an international student or scholar, you may feel like you must have a car to get anywhere in Austin. While Austin is by no means a transportation trendsetter like Seoul or Singapore, its CapMetro bus system—which is free to use with your UT ID card—is still a great option for getting around Austin without a car.

But how to use CapMetro to your advantage? Where to go with the buses at your fingertips? Hopefully I can help you find some answers to these questions, though ultimately it will be up to you to seek out adventure or utility as you see fit.

There are 3 types of CapMetro buses, with multiple types of routes, but I’m going to focus on two types of buses that go right by UT campus.

The MetroBus route (1, 3, 19, 30 etc) buses have a farebox at the front and look sort of like this:

image of cap metro 1 bus

There are also the MetroRapid bus routes 801 and 803, which have fareboxes at every door and look like this:

image of cap metro 801 bus

Pro-tip: You don’t have to enter the MetroRapid 801 and 803 at the front of the bus. If there’s no line at the back door, enter these red buses through them and swipe your card at the farebox there!

Okay, so now you know what the different buses look like, and how not to look like a fool waiting in a line at the front of a MetroRapid bus. But where can you even go with these buses? Here are a few of the many places you can get to from the UT Austin campus by bus.

Destination 1—South Congress
The heart and soul of yesteryear’s quirky Austin, South Congress is just a stone’s throw away with the 1 and 801 buses! You can hop on either bus at the “West Mall” bus station, right in front of the Jamba Juice on the Drag (Guadalupe St.) and in less than half an hour you could be slurping a Belgian Bomber at Jo’s coffee, taking an selfie in front of the iconic “I love you so much” mural—sounds nice, right?

Destination 2—The Domain
Want to go on a shopping spree at Zara at the Domain, but no friend is available to drive you? Don’t fret, as the 3 and 803 are here to save the day! You can take the 3 or the 803 from The Drag direct to the Domain. It may take some time for you to get there, but there’s never been a better time to catch up on your favorite NPR podcast.

Destination 3—Zilker Park
Picture this: You’re spending the day sunbathing at Barton Springs, playing with a friendly dog in Zilker Park, and enjoying Austin’s beautiful weather. You can easily make this a reality using just one bus and a little foot-work. Get on the 803 MetroRapid bus on the Drag and take it all the way to the Barton Springs stop just south of the River. This route will require some walking, so if you’d rather minimize walking, transfer to the 30 at Republic Square and it will drop you off right in Zilker Park!

These are just a few examples of places you could go with CapMetro and your UT ID card, but there are plenty of other destinations as well. Some places may be harder to reach by bus, but remember buses are just one piece of the puzzle. Personally I ride my bike around town, and together with buses, biking can greatly expand the possibilities of fun for you! Just keep that curiosity and keep exploring, and when you return home, hopefully you can tell others you truly experienced Austin instead of watching Netflix in your room in all your spare time.

Bon voyage!

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Graduate Writing Retreat

image of students writing in the library

If you haven’t visited the University Writing Center (UWC), this weekend is the perfect opportunity. UWC is hosting a Graduate Writing Retreat on Saturday, November 18 from 10am-5pm in room 2.330 on the first floor of the Perry-Castañeda Library. Coffee and light snacks will be provided, and 15-minute sessions with UWC consultants will be available. This is a great chance to get a head start on final papers and projects! More information about how to prepare and what to bring can be found on the writing retreat section of the UWC website. The event is free, but spots are limited so be sure to register!

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Astronomy on Tap

Have you ever looked up at the stars wanting to know more about the cosmos? Well you don’t have to be a scientist to find great lectures on Astronomy. Look no further than Astronomy on Tap! Astronomy on Tap ATX is a free event on the third Tuesday of every month at 7:30pm located at The North Door. The event is for all ages and presents scientific information in an accessible, engaging way with a wide range of topics. There are games and prizes to test how much you’re paying attention to the lectures, and also a chance for you to ask questions after each lecture. For further information, please visit: https://astronomyontap.org/locations/austin-tx/

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Fall 2017 Travel Signature Drive

Winter break is coming soon, so it’s time to start preparing for your international travel plans.  If you are an international student who is traveling outside the U.S. during the break, make sure you have a valid travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 from the last 12 months in order to return to the U.S.  If you need a new signature on your document, take advantage of our TRAVEL SIGNATURE DRIVE.

If you cannot come during the above times at the FAC or if you do not have space left on your current I-20 or DS-2019 for another travel signature, then you may visit ISSS during advising hours. No appointment is needed if you come to the International Office for a travel signature during advising hours, however, we do require that you come only during the listed advising hours. Note: If you are a sponsored student, then you would need to schedule an appointment to meet with your sponsored student advisor.

Travel Signature Information

The travel validation signature can be found on page 2 of the I-20 and on page 1 (bottom, right corner) of the DS-2019. The most recent signature must have been within the last 12 months (6 months if you are on Post Completion OPT or STEM OPT) from the date you reenter the U.S.

 General Travel and Visa Information

Additionally, if you have any questions about traveling, please see our travel advisory. If you plan to apply for a new visa over the break, see our visa handout for further information.

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FREE event: International Wellness Fest!

The International Office is hosting the 4th annual International Wellness Fest on Monday, November 13th at the SAC Ballroom North from 12:30 – 3:30 pm. We invite you (and your dependents!) to stop by and connect with a range of health & wellness resources with an international flavor! The organizations in attendance this year include:

  • UT Counseling and Mental Health Center | visit us to find out more about caring for your emotional well being
  • Women, Infants & Children (WIC) | visit us to find out more about our nutrition and lactation resources
  • University Health Services (UHS) | visit us to learn more about getting the care you need on campus
  • Forty Acres Pharmacy | visit us to learn more about filling prescriptions with us
  • Foundation Communities | visit us to learn more about health insurance and the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)
  • Shake Smart | visit us to try our nutritious shakes or smoothies
  • UT Family Wellness Clinic
  • BikeUT | visit us to find out more about bike safety and resources around campus
  • Student Academy of Audiology | visit us to determine your music sound level, and learn more about caring for your auditory health
  • Academic HealthPlans (AHP) | visit us to get answers about your student health plan
  • UT Recreational Sports | visit us to find out more about staying active between study breaks
  • KIND bars | visit us to try one of our nutritious bars
  • Thank you to one of our sponsors: Halal Bros.!

Join us for this celebratory & engaging event with an international twist! Start your week with some self-care, free food, music, prizes & giveaways, and free henna tattoos! We are all looking forward to welcoming you.

Find us on Facebook!

Questions? Email insuranceadvisor@austin.utexas.edu

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International Education Week at UT!

UT-Austin is celebrating the benefits of international education with a variety of educational and fun events throughout the week of November 13 -17!

“This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education is part of our efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences.” (Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs)

From the International Wellness Fest to Teaching Abroad Panels, there is something for everyone to discover international knowledge and explore opportunities for international exchange. Come celebrate the beauty of international education! Check out the full list of events on the International Office Website! 

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MIUSA Meetup ATX

MIUSA Meetup ATX: Sharing our Passion for International Exchange

Thursday, November 9, 2017
4:30 – 6:00 pm UTC

Light hors d’oeuvres will be provided. No-host bar.
Wheelchair accessible venue | Sign language interpreters in attendance.

Location: Driskill Bar

604 Brazos Street, Austin, TX 78701

(Wheelchair accessible entrance located on Brazos Street and/or Seventh Street)

RSVP Now

Staff from Mobility International USA (MIUSA) invite you to join us for a casual evening of networking and visiting with new friends, potential collaborators, world travelers with and without disabilities, disability rights advocates, and others who are passionate about promoting access to international educational exchange.

Swap travel stories, get ideas for new international opportunities, and expand your network to reach diverse communities! On social media? Use the hashtag #MIUSAmeetup to start the conversation.

Due to limited space, this event is by invitation only and requires RSVPs by November 6. This meetup is an event of the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE), a project administered by Mobility International USA and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Visit www.miusa.org/ncde to learn more.

Posted in General

Apply to be an International Orientation Assistant

image of international orientation assistants

Are you a continuing UT student who enjoys meeting people from other cultures and countries? Helping with International Student Orientation is a fantastic way to meet new international students, make new friends, and share culture! Each year, The University of Texas at Austin and the International Office welcome hundreds of international students to the Longhorn community. The International Orientation Assistant (IOA) Program provides UT students the opportunity to get involved in International Orientation activities. In each spring, we hire between 17 and 20 IOAs to assist with our international student orientation.

How can you get involved?

Sharing your culture and learning about others can be a rewarding experience! We invite UT students with an international interest to become an IOA. Help International Office staff members check students in during International Briefing & Check-In (IBC), share your knowledge of UT and Austin during International Orientation, and attend fun welcome events to interact with our newest international community members. Involvement includes mandatory IOA training sessions, attendance at International Orientation, and other IBC and orientation events. Selected IOA candidates will be required to attend IOA training session on January 4. Orientation-related events will begin starting January 4 and the last event will take place on January 12.

Requirements

  • Expected enrollment at UT Austin during spring 2018
  • Must have been a UT Austin student for at least one semester prior to spring 2018
  • Interest and/or familiarity working with diverse populations in cross-cultural settings
  • Commitment to attend a mandatory training session on January 4
  • Commitment to attend New International Student Orientation & Resource Fair on January 5 and Welcome Saturday on January 6
  • Must work a minimum of three IBCs and two social events
  • At least 4-6 hours per week commitment during program dates (some weeks could vary due to training and the social events you sign up for)

Successful applicants profile:

  • Familiar and/or interested in working with diverse populations in cross-cultural settings
  • Proactive
  • Flexible
  • Enthusiastic
  • Team-player

 Compensation

  • $125 stipend (paid upon program completion)

How to Apply

Please complete our online application before November 19. If you have never been an IOA before, you will have to upload your resume and answer questions about your interest in being an IOA.

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Fall 2017 Q-Drop Deadline: Tuesday, November 7

Tuesday, November 7, 2017, is the last day an undergraduate student may withdraw from the University or drop a class. It is also the last day undergraduate and graduate students may change registration for a class to a pass/fail basis. If you are thinking about dropping a class or withdrawing from the university, do not forget about the impact it could have on your immigration status.

All F-1 and J-1 students must be enrolled full-time to maintain a valid immigration status each fall and spring semester. For immigration purposes, undergraduates must be enrolled for 12 credit hours and graduate students must be enrolled for 9 credit hours where only one class, up to three hours can be online or web-based. The only exception to being enrolled full-time applies when students are enrolled in their graduating semester and/or have been approved for a Reduced Course Load. If you would like to drop below full-time or withdraw during the fall or spring semester, you must obtain permission from an International Student Advisor FIRST!

There are a limited number of situations where an international student would be permitted to drop below full-time or withdraw. If you want to discuss your options to drop below full time or withdraw, please schedule an appointment to speak with an International Student Advisor.

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Spotlight: Dependents and International Wellness Fest

The International Office’s 4th Annual International Wellness Fest will be an opportunity to celebrate International Education Week and to connect students with health & wellness resources in and around campus.

Did you know that we will have some resources for your dependents (spouse and/or children) as well? Here are a few organizations that will be in attendance that can provide resources accessible to you and your dependents:

Women, Infants & Children (WIC): Visit WIC’s resource table for lactation consultant resources and giveaways, to connect with nutrition resources and assistance, and for more information about their organization!

Foundation Communities: Become better informed on the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” especially if you have ever considered purchasing a health insurance plan on the Marketplace. Visit Foundation Communities’ resource table to talk with one of their representatives to find out more! All Marketplace insurance plans must be checked by the Insurance Advisor before final purchase.

UT Family Wellness Clinic: Did you know that UT Nursing has a clinic located 10 minutes away from campus? Visit their resource table to find out about the medical services and extended hours they offer to the community, including you and your dependents!

We are looking forward to welcoming you and your dependents to the International Wellness Fest. Keep reading our blog to find out who else will be in attendance and how you can connect with more health and wellness resources!

Questions? Email insuranceadvisor@austin.utexas.edu

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