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International Student Orientation

Northwestern's Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISS) provides resources, support, and programs to assist you as you transition to life at Northwestern and the United States.

International Student Orientation (ISO) Overview

The Wildcat Welcome experiences begins with a track designed for incoming international students: International Student Orientation (ISO). Presented by Northwestern's Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISS), ISO will provide international students with essential information and advice on such matters as immigration, medical insurance, and acclimating to US academic culture and life in Evanston. 

Program Dates

Who Participates in ISO?

ISO is required for those with F-1/J-1 visas.

Others who identify as US citizens living abroad, those with dual US citizenship, etc. are welcomed to participate in ISO if you believe it will be useful to your transition. If interested, please register through the Wildcat Welcome Registration Form, due June 30, located in your Purple Prep Checklist. 

Move-in Day for ISO students

Students participating in ISO move into their campus residence on September 8. The Wildcat Welcome Registration Form includes a section to denote your airport arrival on September 8 and if you wish to use University-provided transportation to campus on that day (known as "airport pickup"). While domestic students moving to campus on September 12 are asked to select a move-in appointment, you do not need to select a move-in appointment for September 8. 

Students who registered for ISO via the Wildcat Welcome Registration Form are automatically approved for early move in and do not need to request early move in from Residential Services.

ISO Programming

Students will first receive important information about arrival, travel, and immigration status when they receive the ISO Canvas course invitation on August 31 via email. Students then move to campus on September 8 to participate in the on-campus portion of ISO before joining the full incoming class for Wildcat Welcome. ISO programming will cover many essential topics including:

International Peer Adviser (IPA)

International Peer Advisers (IPA) are current students who will assist you in navigating the transition to life at Northwestern and in the United States; this student is in addition to your Peer Adviser (PA) for Wildcat Welcome. Your IPA will reach out to you in July to answer any questions you may have as you prepare to come to the United States; you will also hear from your PA in late July or early August as part of the orientation process for all new students. 

Request your I-20/DS-2019 no later than August 1

Visit the OISS website to review the steps and requirements for new international students including how to prepare to request your immigration documents prior to obtaining your student visa at a US Consulate. Request your immigration document (form I-20 for F-1 international students) in the OISS Portal after you have received your OISS Portal invitation email.

After you receive your OISS Portal invitation email, please submit your immigration document request as soon as possible to allow yourself the most time to obtain your visa and arrange travel plans.

Summer Communications

Over the summer, check the OISS Orientation website frequently and be sure to read OISS's New to NU: A Guide for New International Students monthly emails, which will include up-to-date information concerning health and safety guidelines. Students who are registered for ISO are assigned to an international peer adviser group that starts interaction in July via email, Canvas, Instagram, and Facebook.

Health and Safety

As of now, Northwestern is planning on an in-person ISO with some online components starting in late August via the ISO Canvas course. We will continue to follow CDC guidelines regarding international travel and Northwestern’s campus protocols. OISS will continue to monitor guidelines and adapt ISO accordingly.

The safety of our students is our top priority. Dates and details are subject to change as Northwestern follows local, state, and federal health directives and guidelines. Students will be notified of changes via Purple Prep emails throughout the summer.