Resources and Contact Information
This section includes the following information:
- Adjustment Problems
- Family Problems
- Information for Non-Immigrant Students
- News and Information
- Questions and Problems: Who to see, what to do
- Resources for International Students
Most international students experience some adjustment problems during their first months in the United States. You may feel homesick and miss your family, friends and hometown very much. American classes, your instructors and fellow students may seem very strange. The food, climate and pace of life in the United States may be very new to you. Language problems may make you feel lonely and isolated. These are all problems that most international students have had and that many Americans have while living overseas. Remember that you are not alone.
Overcoming Adjustment Problems
There are many things you can do to overcome adjustment problems. Don’t just stay home. Try these ideas:
- Find a place where you feel comfortable (the library, the cafeteria, a friend’s room) and spend a little time there every day.
- Plan certain times during the week or day when you don’t think about your studies or problems; have some fun!
- Begin a regular exercise program. Walking one or two miles a day helps you feel healthy and relaxed.
- Talk things over with friends, classmates, AEC Cross-Cultural Advisors, and people in the Office of International Student Services.
- Maintain regular life patterns. For example, eat meals at regular times, sleep regularly and exercise regularly.
- Attend social functions, concerts, or sporting events. Meet some people and talk with them about activities you might like to participate in.
- Contact your own nationality club on campus if there is one. The AEC Cross-Cultural Advisors or the Office of International Student Services can help you contact other students from your country.
In the United States, students often have a lot of personal freedom. They may choose their own friends, their own living arrangements, their own activities, and their own schedules.
Each individual has the right to live in an environment in which he or she feels comfortable. If you experience problems in your residence hall with roommates or other people, or on campus or in town, come to the AEC office to discuss your feelings or problems with an AEC Cross-Cultural Advisor or go to International Student Services.
Each individual has the right to his or her own religious and philosophical ideas. If you feel that an instructor or other person in the university community is trying to influence your religious ideas against your wishes, you have the right to say, “No, thank you. I do not want to talk about religion.”
If you want to talk about pressures you feel from members of groups, you can talk with the AEC Cross-Cultural Advisors or a member of the Office of International Student Services.
You may find that many Americans do not want to discuss religion at all or only in very general terms. Some Americans will appear to be uncomfortable if you ask them direct questions about their religion or if you try to share more than general information about your religion with them. Many Americans believe in tolerance for other people’s religions, but are not interested in changing to a new religion. In fact, most Americans, even those who are very religious, will not share their personal religious beliefs with anyone outside of their families because they do not want others to feel that they are trying to influence their religious choice. This is a way of showing respect for all the different religions that coexist in the United States. It is helpful to keep this in mind if the subject of religion comes up in conversation with Americans.
AEC Cross-Cultural Advisors
The AEC Cross-Cultural Advisors are available in the AEC office to talk with you about any concerns or problems that you may have during the semester. The Cross-Cultural Advisors are prepared to discuss matters of attendance, cultural adjustment, health, family, academics, and other matters of personal concern. The Cross-Cultural Advisors want to help you in any way possible to make your stay here a comfortable and rewarding one. You may contact the AEC office to make an appointment with an AEC Cross-Cultural Advisor.
For students with spouses or children, moving to a new country can have unique challenges. Family members may be confused about American lifestyles; they may be homesick for their own country; they may worry about money, making friends, or being successful at KU. KU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is a center for students who want to feel better about their lives at KU. Marriage counseling is also available in Lawrence. If you want to talk with someone about your life here, please come to the Applied English Center office to discuss your situation or find out about other offices that might help.
In Kansas and most states in the United States, there are laws about abuse and neglect of children. Abuse and neglect are culturally defined ideas, so what is considered abuse or neglect may be different here than in your home country. For example, children, even up to the age of twelve, may not be left alone at home, or in a car, or in a public place. In the United States, children must be supervised by a parent or other responsible older person. Any kind of physical discipline or punishment that leaves a child bruised or injured may be considered abuse. Abuse or neglect may lead to legal action against the parents or even removal of the child from the family. Teachers, school counselors, and medical personnel (doctors, nurses, hospital workers) are required by law to report cases of possible child abuse or neglect to the authorities.
Information for Non-Immigrant Students
If you have any questions or problems regarding your visa, passport or other immigration documents (e.g., I-94 or I-20), see the Office of International Student Services (ISS). You can also speak with the AEC cross-cultural advisors in the AEC office.
If you were admitted to the United States on a student visa (F-1) or an exchange visitor’s visa (J-1), you are required to be enrolled as a full-time student during the fall and spring semesters. Full-time study means at least twelve (12) hours of credit for undergraduates and nine (9) hours of credit for graduate students.
- If you are a graduate student, but are only enrolled in AEC classes, then you must enroll in twelve (12) credit hours.
- Some students who have not completed their English language requirements must be enrolled in 15 credit hours.
Although students who have been enrolled during the spring semester are not required to enroll in any summer classes, study of English at the AEC in the summer session is recommended so that English requirements can be completed as soon as possible. If you choose to enroll in summer courses at KU, you must enroll in any AEC courses that are required. Of course, students who have been admitted to the AEC or KU for the summer session OR who are completing their program of study in the summer session are expected to enroll for that term.
You should keep your passport current at all times. You should apply to renew your passport at least 6 months before it expires. You will need to contact your home country embassy or consulate for details on how to do this if you do not plan to travel home and get a new one in your home country.
Expiration of Visa
You may have a single-entry or multiple-entry visa for the United States. It does not matter if this visa expires while you are in the U.S., but if you plan to leave this country and then return, you will need to obtain a new visa if yours has expired.
Form I-20 (if you are in F-1 or F-2 status)
If you entered the U.S. on an F-1 student visa, you were sent a Form I-20 by the AEC or the University; if you have dependents who came on an F-2 visa, they will have a Dependent I-20. The Form I-20, like the visa stamp, is used for entry into the United States. At various times each year, universities must report to the Department of Homeland Security whether or not students who were given I‑20s are enrolled in full-time study.
The I-20 is a document of eligibility to attend the institution that sent it to you. It shows your SEVIS number, which is the number of your personal record in the SEVIS database; this database is a permanent record of all your transactions under the immigration laws and regulations. You must have your I-20 for any re-entry into the U.S. after a temporary absence while you are a student. If you transfer to another university or change your course of study at the University of Kansas, you will need a new I-20 and other information, which ISS can provide.
Form DS-2019 (if you are in J-1 or J-2 status)
The same information given above for Form I-20 also applies to Form DS-2019 which is issued for J-1 exchange visitors/students and their J-2 dependents EXCEPT the DS-2019 is issued for participation in a program by the program sponsor rather than to attend a specific university. The program sponsor may be an agency, a US government department, or the school that you are attending.
You were granted a student visa on the basis that you have sufficient money to study in the United States.
F-1 students are permitted to work on campus without any special permission. Off-campus employment options are limited and ALWAYS require special permission from either ISS or the US government. F-1 students must have completed a minimum of one full academic year (fall and spring semesters) before they are eligible to work off campus.
F-2 dependents are not allowed to work.
J-1 Exchange Visitors/Students
J-1 exchange visitors/students may work only if they have written permission from their program sponsor.
J-2 dependents may apply to the US government for permission to work; forms are available from ISS.
Form I-94 Card / Entry Stamp
When you entered the U.S. you received 1.) an entry stamp without a white card or 2.) a small white card with an entry stamp.
Entry Stamp (no white card) - Most common
This means your arrival and departure information is stored electronically. You should go to the I-94 section of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website and print out a copy of your I-94 entry information. You should carry the printout with you at all times. It is your proof of legal presence in the USA. If you lose it, you can reprint another copy. If you have trouble printing the I-94 information, go to the Office of International Student Services and talk with an ISS immigration advisor.
Small White Card
The white card that you were given when you entered the United States records your arrival and departure. When you leave, it should be surrendered (given) to the appropriate authorities. This card should be carried with you at all times. It is your proof of legal presence in the USA. However, if it is lost, it may be quite expensive to replace ($300). If you lose your Form I-94, go to the Office of International Student Services and talk with an ISS immigration advisor.
If you wish to leave the AEC or KU and go to another college or university, you must process the transfer through ISS. Whether you transfer to a new school to continue the same educational program (to finish English training you started at the AEC, for example), or transfer to a new school and begin a new educational program (such as a new bachelor’s degree or master’s degree), the first part of the transfer must be done at ISS and then completed with the Foreign Student Adviser at your new school.
Change of Major or Degree Program at KU
It is good for your SEVIS records to show your actual major and degree program at all times. Talk to an ISS advisor any time you make a change to your major or degree program so they can update your records:
- if you change your major
- if you want to change your degree program (e.g., bachelors to masters, or masters to doctorate)
- if you are now admitted to the AEC only but will be admitted to a KU degree program
Travel Outside the United States
When you plan to travel outside the United States and re-enter, you must obtain a signature on your I-20 or DS-2019.
F-1 and F-2
Get a signature from an ISS advisor on your Form I-20.
J-1 and J-2
Get a signature from your program sponsor on your Form DS-2019.
If your visa (stamped in your passport) has expired or will expire before you plan to re-enter the US, please consult an ISS advisor before leaving regarding re-entry into the United States.
Social Security Numbers (SSN)
A Social Security Number (SSN) is a US government issued number for payment of payroll taxes. It is not a federal identification number.
F-1 students can get a SSN ONLY if they have a written job offer for on- or off-campus work. You will also need verification of eligibility for a Social Security Number from ISS. Contact ISS for details.
F-2 dependents are not eligible for a SSN because they are not allowed to work in the USA.
J-1 Exchange Visitor
J-1 exchange visitors must have written work authorization from their program sponsor before they can apply for a SSN. Contact ISS for details.
J-2 dependents who have received a work permit may apply for a SSN.
News and Information
There are two newspapers in the Lawrence area. The Lawrence Journal-World is published every day. You can choose to subscribe through their website if you want access to their articles. The University Daily Kansan (UDK) is the KU student newspaper. You can pick up a copy from the newspaper boxes on campus. The UDK is published daily, Monday through Friday, during the fall and spring semesters, and once a week during the summer session, and it is free. As a KU student you can also have access to the New York Times. To set up an account visit The New York Times sign up page for KU students. Please contact the Student Senate Chief of Staff at email@example.com with any questions.
Most departments at KU have a Facebook, Instagram, or other social media page where they post current information for their students. You can follow their posts and connect with others in the KU community if you are interested. You can also follow the Applied English Center's Facebook and Instagram social media sites.
You can receive television programs in Lawrence from stations located in Kansas City and Topeka, Kansas. There is also cable television and internet service in Lawrence provided by a variety of companies. These companies provide international, national, and Kansas City or Topeka news, sports, weather and entertainment.
There are local radio stations that provide music, news and information about KU and Lawrence. KLWN (1320 AM) and KLZR (105.9 FM) are Lawrence stations. KANU (91.5 FM) is a public radio station at KU. KJHK (90.7 FM) is a student-operated station at KU.
Questions and Problems: Who to See, What to Do
Applications to the AEC
Do you have a friend or relative who wants to study at the AEC? Contact the AEC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications to Colleges and Universities
Do you want to apply for admission to KU or another college or university? See the AEC cross-cultural advisors, International Admissions, the Office of International Student Services, or the appropriate graduate department chairperson.
Have you been absent from your class? Talk to your instructor first, the AEC Cross-Cultural Advisors second.
Do you know what books to buy for your classes? Do you know which assignment is due tomorrow? Do you understand the material that was presented in class? See your instructors first, the AEC Cross-Cultural Advisors second.
Class Schedule and Placement
Are you having problems with the times that your classes meet? Do you have questions or concerns about your placement into a certain class or level? For either of these issues, see the AEC Cross-Cultural Advisors.
Do you have complaints about services at KU? See the AEC cross-cultural advisors for a list of offices or committees to study your complaint. Do you have complaints about an AEC course or about the AEC? Make an appointment with an AEC Cross-Cultural Advisor.
Do you have questions about your passport, visa, I-20, or I-94? See the AEC Cross-Cultural Advisors or the Office of International Student Services.
Do you have questions concerning health, housing, family, recreation, or transportation? Are you concerned about your social or personal adjustment? See the AEC Cross-Cultural Advisors.
If you have general questions concerning KU or Lawrence, KU Info is a good resource. KU Info will answer your questions or listen to you. At some times during the day, there will be a person there to talk with you. Other times of the day, there will be an automated answer. Visit the KU Info website for more information.
For information concerning international students, the Office of International Student Services will be glad to help you.
Resources for International Students
International Support Services
International Support Services (ISS) offers counseling and help for international students enrolled at KU and the Applied English Center. If they do not know the answer to your questions, they will tell you where you can find the answer.
Counseling and Psychological Services
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) can help students with issues related to adjusting to college and other psychological, interpersonal, and family problems. Individual sessions, group sessions and psychiatric services are available.
If you are an AEC student whose I-20 was issued by the Applied English Center and you wish to study for a degree at KU, you must apply for admission to KU. Visit KU Admissions for more information.
If you are a graduate student, you will need to talk with people in the department in which you wish to study. Graduate Admissions: Department chairperson or Director of Graduate Studies of the various departments and the graduate studies office of the various schools.
Study Abroad and Global Engagement
Study Abroad and Global Engagement (SAGE) works with KU students wishing to study overseas and with international students on university exchange programs who come to KU to study.
International Student Association
This campus organization serves as the mother organization for all the national organizations on campus (such as the Chinese Student Association or the Malaysian Student Association). It sponsors the Festival of Nations and the International Banquet each year. The International Club is a good way to meet other people from your country, other international students, and American students interested in international students. Visit International Student Association or Rock Chalk Central for more information.
Legal Services for Students
Student Legal Services provides advice and consultation for KU students on legal matters, including review of leases and other legal documents, immigration problems, and legal research. Services are provided by an attorney and/or law students. Telephone for an appointment.
Lawrence Friendship Family Program
The Lawrence Friendship Family Program is a Lawrence organization that serves international students by putting them in contact with Lawrence families. This gives the students the opportunity to take part in U.S. family life and to share their own customs and lifestyles with Americans. If you are interested, contact the Office of International Student Services. The Host Family Program does not operate during the summer session.
Small World Program for Wives and Children
The Small World Program is a Lawrence organization that helps international women, usually wives of international students. English classes, craft workshops, and preschool care are a part of a regular program of activities. Small World has meetings on Tuesday and Thursday each week at 2415 Clinton Parkway. Call the number listed or International Student Services for more information. Small World does not have meetings during the summer session.
The TOEFL, GRE (Graduate Record Exam) and other examinations are often required by some American colleges and universities for admission of international students. Visit the KU CAPS website for more information.
University Senate Committee for International Affairs
The University Senate is part of the government of the university. The University Senate makes rules and regulations affecting the entire university community. Its International Affairs Committee studies and makes recommendations on all affairs affecting international students at KU. If you are concerned about rules of the university, you should talk with the chairperson of this committee. Visit KU University Governance for more information.